Web-based technology has come out of nowhere in the last five years to become a low-cost tool and service that helps employers streamline administrative processes, reduce costs, increase the accuracy of benefits data and improve employee satisfaction. From a human resources perspective, there’s less messy paperwork and the organization benefits from higher productivity as managers and employees alike spend less time on administrative issues, according to Washington, D.C.-based Watson Wyatt. Instead, employees can log on and monitor the movement of money between mutual funds and the third-party administrator or, in some cases, participate in virtual simulations—pension calculations, for example—all without having to go back and fourth to the HR manager. Some services even provide employees with educational material to help them better understand their investment options.
According to a survey by the New York-based Buck Consultants, 34 percent of respondents say their employees already link to 401(k) accounts via the Internet. One potential blip on the radar screen, however, is how to ensure access for those employees who don’t use a personal computer during their daily activities. This aside, Web technology for self-service allows for consistent and accurate information to all employees, and it helps improve employees’ perception of their own benefits packages.
Workforce, September 1999, Vol. 78, No. 9, p. 87.