<i>Dear Workforce</i> Should a Separate Entity Measure Benefits Delivery

January 31, 2001

   Whoshould own the service delivery of benefits when the delivery has beenoutsourced to a vendor? Our benefits department is struggling to assignaccountability of "service delivery" for our benefit programs. Whilewe have outsourced our benefits administration to various vendors, we clearlyneed to maintain an internal structure to measure and review our vendors'success. 

   Should this be done by the benefit program designers/policy makers or aseparate administrative organization that solely handles service delivery? Isthere value in having a separate entity measuring the service delivery?

-Struggling business process analyst in Northern California


   Thereare a few factors that contribute to the answer to this question: 1) The scopeof the outsourcing, 2) The size of organization, and 3) The organization'sphilosophy - if any - on managing outsourcing arrangements.

   "Typically"the benefit manager is responsible for plan design and all outsourcingarrangements. This occurs for two reasons - 1) The benefit manager will hearfrom the customer" - the employee - if there are performance issues, and2) benefit knowledge is a unique capability and it’s often hard fornon-benefit people to oversee benefit outsourcing arrangements.

SOURCE:Charlie McCarthy, The Segal Company, December 8, 2000.

E-mailyour DearWorkforce questions to Online Editor Todd Raphael at,along with your name, title, organization and location. Unless you stateotherwise, your identifying information maybe used on Workforce.comand in Workforcemagazine. We can’t guarantee we’ll be able to answer every question.