In this world of ‘swipe-right’ it’s still important to think about how to find the perfect partner... The perfect benefit technology partner that is.

Following on from the most recent blog from Chris Wakely on Things to consider when implementing HCM for global benefits I wanted to continue the conversation. One of the best parts of my role as Director of Enterprise Consulting is meeting businesses and discussing how they engage their global workforce through, amongst other things, benefit and perks. It’s always great to meet people who are fully aware of the challenges that they have but sometimes the best conversations occur when we work through this Discovery Phase together.

Here are 4 key points to keep in mind as you take these first steps into looking for the right global benefit management solution.

Make sure you are compatible

There are some fantastic products in the market that have solved very challenging areas of benefit administration, with the US benefit market having some of the most complex rules in a single country. But global is different, and the same system may not deliver the same results, for example 28 countries alone in the EU market all with different requirements. International markets are unique and so whatever technology you choose needs to be able to adapt to meet your local requirements, both now and tomorrow.

Challenge your vendor on:

- How they have dealt with real life challenges that you face today with your benefit administration. It’s important to see this demonstrated in the software, to show the actual solution. For example, how to manage reimbursements and congratulatory awards, child/family benefits in Europe, or Spending Accounts in India.
- How has the vendor adapted their technology to manage recent legislative changes for medical in Ireland, or retirement arrangements in the UK.

Ask your friends

Everyone has a past and it’s really important to understand the experience of your prospective partner. This may be your first project as a Program Lead or as a business to implement benefit administration software and so you want to work with a partner who can offer insight into best practice in markets but also allow you to utilise existing relationships, reporting structures and processes with your vendors where possible. 
Talk and listen to your network and understand their experiences with your prospective partner. If the technology is already tried and tested by similar type of organisations it will allow you to gain from experience rather than pioneer. 

Key areas to focus on:

- Which countries are currently live? How many clients and headcount size? When was the first implementation launched?
- Which of your markets present particular challenges when implementing software?

Seeing is Believing

The more markets you do business in, and the type of operations that you manage in each market, will influence the solution that you need to implement. From the number of benefits, to the level of enrolment options available, to the way that benefit information should be communicated. It is therefore important that your technology is agile enough to maintain and keep pace with your evolution.

Ask to see examples of how to:

- Amend benefit information
- Include a new eligibility rule 
- Implement a new benefit
- Update a report field

Communication is key

It’s important to understand how you will communicate during the program delivery. Ask your partner to demonstrate how your program will be managed, through implementation and into business as usual activities. How and who will be involved in these discussions, and what tools and documentation will be used? 

Another aspect of communication that you need to beware of how the information will be communicated to your employees. Employee engagement is going to determine your program’s success, therefore ask for examples of past campaigns to see what can be achieved. 

Identify:

- How the program will be managed including tools/documentation
- How communication with your internal/external stakeholders will be delivered
- Their ability to create a global benefits brand
- Examples of personalized and targeted campaigns to employees

The key to your search is to know what you are looking for. You may not know this at the start of your search but the best partners will work and adapt with you. By setting the agenda and being honest about your challenges, known or not, you will find the right solution. 

And remember… you are hopefully going to be spending a lot of time together so make sure they are The One.