London, September 2, 2020 – One in two (53%) organizations are exposed to undue data security risk thanks to current procedures and processes with HR technology, according to a report released today by Thomsons Online Benefits.

‘The age of agility: Flexible, adaptable and resilient benefits’ 2020/21 report, which surveys 542 global HR leaders at organizations of 5,000-50,000+ employees, comes as Covid-19 and the consequent rise in distributed working adds a layer of complexity to GDPR compliance. Four in five (84%) IT leaders report that data loss prevention is more challenging with a remote workforce.[1]

Thomsons’ research suggests that HR leaders are opting for simplicity over security, with 71% accessing their benefits data through general HR software, and 78% using Excel to collect and analyze employee data. While 73% of HR leaders report that they can easily transfer data between their HR systems and benefits providers, it’s also clear that this approach exposes to them to undue risk associated with data errors and security breaches.

What’s more, simplicity does not equal speed. 55% of respondents spend over 11 hours manually transferring data between systems, with one in five (20%) spending over 15 hours on this. Just 7% avoid manual data transfer completely.  

Chris Bruce, co-founder and MD, Thomsons Online Benefits, comments: “HR leaders’ reliance on outdated data collection and analytics tools opens their organizations up to risk at a time when the ramifications are considerable. Notwithstanding potentially huge financial penalties, failure to comply with regulation damages a business’ bottom line, breaks employee trust and has an astronomical reputational impact.

“They’re also passing up on the opportunity presented by technology. Equipped with true data analytics capabilities, HR professionals can generate a far clearer picture of how workplace shifts will impact their strategy and spend in specific areas – a capability more crucial than ever given the current environment.”

However, throwing money at the problem does not necessarily give way to a solution. HR teams are struggling to realize the potential of technology investment, purchasing disjointed systems that create silos. These can actually give HR teams more work to do, as they need to make sense of all the data. Indeed, it’s those who allocate more than 60% of their HR budget to technology who spend over 15 hours every month manually transferring data.

In light of the above, it stands to reason that over a third (38%) of HR leaders face barriers when it comes to additional HR technology investment, with the biggest being a ‘lack of C-suite or board-level buy in’.

Chris Bruce adds: “Ultimately, more tech does not equal a better offering, hence the lack of boardroom support. This report highlights how crucial investing in integrated technology that both streamlines the HR function and protects data is, and will continue to be, moving forward. In particular, investing in centralized systems that are interconnected, will demonstrate value and help to unlock further investment.”

Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst adds: “If you as an employer have not yet invested in an online benefits platform, the time to start is now. We’re seeing the development of sophisticated, centralized systems that enable a better employee experience – and a more secure one for employers. It’s essential that employers put their people at the heart of technology decisions and don’t just throw a lot of disparate tools at the problem.”

About the research

‘The age of agility: Flexible, adaptable and resilient benefits’ 2020/21 report surveyed over 542 HR professionals in multinational organizations of over 5,000 employees, with global responsibilities. 

2000 employees in organizations working in multinational companies comprising 5,000 people or more were also surveyed about the benefits that they have on offer, as well as the workplace technology experience their organization provides them with.

About Thomsons Online Benefits

Thomsons Online Benefits is a SaaS provider of global employee benefits and employee engagement software. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercer, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth and career. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC). Thomsons’ award-winning platform, Darwin™, is the global market leader for automated employee benefits administration. With over 4 million lives on Darwin™, it connects employees with their benefits in over 100 countries and 40 languages. By using the right combination of editions, Darwin™ provides a tailored solution to meet a variety of employee benefit and reward needs, including employee engagement, managing risk, controlling costs and streamlining benefits administration. Its ability to constantly evolve and cater for shifting workforce needs has made it the provider of choice for eight of the world’s top ten technology companies. Thomsons has received 109 industry awards, including the prestigious Brandon Hall Group gold award for Best Advance in Rewards and Recognition Technology in 2015, and the latest win, Most Effective Use of Benefits Technology at the Employee Benefits Awards 2017 for our work with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Mercer and Thomsons combine world-class consulting and broking with innovative technology, driving transformation in the way that benefits are designed, communicated and administered.

 

[1] Why DLP has failed and what the future looks like