In 2017, over 50,000 merger and acquisition deals were announced globally, and first quarter of 2018 showed record-breaking M&A activity. The sizes and shapes of these organizations vary, but the challenge for many HR teams remains the same: After the dust of the M&A settles, how do we effectively consolidate disparate benefit management processes while maintaining a consistent, effortless experience for employees?
Take a Bird’s Eye View of Challenges
Consider the characteristic benefit integration challenges faced by one rapidly expanding health system: After numerous acquisitions and strategic alignments over a few years, the organization’s benefit department found itself managing processes across 11 different entities for nearly 14,000 employees.
Most of its benefits administration processes were paper-based, forcing manual reconciliation. Not surprisingly, the existing benefit processes were inefficient and error-prone. This example illustrates three challenges common in M&A scenarios: 1) resource limitations; 2) multiple platforms and technologies; 3) little experience harmonizing disparate benefit environments.
Understand There Is No "One-Size-Fits-All" Approach
Unfortunately, there is no easy, one-size-fits-all best practice model for aligning benefits either. The nuances of these three challenges — in addition to the unique employee demographics at each organization — make every project different.
Consequently, to better understand and meet the needs of employees and staff, this health system engaged benefitexpress as a partner to help centralize, standardize and streamline benefit administration workflows. Today, it boasts a 1,500:1 employee-to-HR representative ratio and is efficiently on-boarding about 2,500 new employees a year.
Seek to Harmonize Benefits Administration
With each merger or acquisition, benefits professionals must develop a plan to marry new and existing employees under a common benefits package.
In many integrations, the goal is to realize the efficiencies of the acquisition, which may include harmonizing benefits for cost-savings, reducing technology redundancies or bringing all employees together on a single platform. This means more than standardization of technology; it also includes standardization of processes.
Above all, there is a requirement to maintain data integrity during consolidation – not only must the data must come together; it must remain pure.
Partner With an Expert
For many HR professionals, an M&A project may present itself only once or twice during an entire career. However, these events are routine in our world.
That’s why, for many HR professionals, preparedness entails having an experienced benefits administration technology partner walk alongside them — one that helps alleviate the stress placed on HR teams and understands the nuances of "operationalizing" benefits consolidation across stakeholders.
Attention to detail in integration is vital, and success requires an experienced client delivery team. Technology should enable the company’s decisions and support its employees’ expectations.