Enabling Technology

It is unmistakable that the HR technology industry has been revolutionized. Cloud-based HR systems are now available from many of the largest vendors in the market. These systems integrate payroll, HRMS, talent management and analytics processing into a single cloud-based service. Many HR leaders are challenged with mobile tools and new social recruiting systems that are making many of the legacy HR systems obsolete.

Marching HR Into the 21st Century

CASE STUDY: The March of Dimes follows the path to a paperless HR department.

by Rick Martino

Cost savings are important to every business,  and non-profits are no different.  Many of these organizations rely solely  on donations to provide services to  those in need. The mission of the March  of Dimes, a non-profit organization founded in 1938, is  to ensure that every baby is born healthy. The bulk of  our financial resources are directed to our missionrelated  initiatives. Our goal is to continue to find the  most efficient and effective ways to run our organization.  Improving our use of technology is an important  part of that. < ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Recognizing that the HR Department of the March  of Dimes was doing most of its HR and payroll processes  manually for more than 1,400 employees in more  than 150 locations nationwide, my team and I  researched ways to automate these processes. The  March of Dimes did not have the resources to remedy  this problem in-house. Most of our technology investments  were going toward improving IT infrastructure  and the March of Dimes presence on the Internet. 


Having multiple locations was a significant challenge  to overcome. HR paperwork was being received  from multiple locations. We then had to distribute  paper forms and information throughout the March of  Dimes chapters across the < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />United States. It was a highly  inefficient process. We were getting bogged down  with the manual process of printing forms, stuffing  envelopes, and mailing all our forms and pay-stubs. 


Seeking a solution, we were directed by Ceridian a leader in information services for human resources,  transportation, and retailingto a company based in  Seekonk, Massachusetts. The company, iEmployee,  offered a suite of Web-based applications that automates  business operationsHR, benefits, time, expenses,  and employee self service.  Using iEmployees HR module of the HRIS has cut  down on time and expense of the paper process.  Employees are now able to download all forms online  as well as submit their information online. When forms  change or need to be updated within, administrators are  able to easily replace the outdated forms with the new  forms. This means that there is no more trying to figure  out who has what version of which form.  This self-service, online tool for employees and managers  allows the HR team of the March of Dimes the  freedom to focus on more critical issues. 


Based on our experience with the HR module, were  now looking at ways of streamlining other processes. For  example, currently our timesheets are processed manually,  and we have no efficient way of running reports  or analyzing data. The March of Dimes is looking into  adding the timesheets module to our HRIS in the near  future.  Internet-based employee and workforce productivity  applications, such as the HRIS that we are using,  represent essential and evolutionary technology that  will dramatically improve the way our and other organizations  manage their processes and their workforce.  These new technologies will transform the business  and help us become more efficient and competive in an  Internet economy. 


By not creating new paper processes and by converting  incoming paper to electronic files, the March  of Dimes is realizing significant economic savings.  When one truly looks at both the hard and the soft  costs, the gains quickly become obvious. Business owners  and outsourcing experts say that outsourcing allows  companies to concentrate on what they do best, their  core competencies. It enables them to have other functions  performed more efficiently at a lower cost and  higher level of accuracy. 


The more cost effective and efficient our internal  processes become, the more our financial resources  can be dedicated to our core competencethe  mission to work toward a day when every baby is  born healthy. 


Rick Martino is Senior VP of HR & Administration and  Chief Administrative Officer for the March of Dimes.     

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From Sea to Shining Sea

Case Study: Creating a national health portal for employees.

by Maria T. Norman

An outsourcing partnership delivers e-health portal to Northrop Grumman employees in all 50 states.

Following 16 major acquisitions since 1994, Northrop Grumman, the second-largest defense contractor in the United States, had grown from roughly 40,000 employees to 120,000. Along the way, we also inherited nearly 350 different health and welfare plans and 16 different pension plans. And, although we have been outsourcing a significant portion of our administration for the past 10 years, we did not bring all of our acquisitions together onto one common administrative and design platform until recently.

The catalyst for this consolidation was our 2001 acquisition of Litton Industries. We used this acquisition as an opportunity to redesign all of our benefit programs for several reasons. First, we hadnt redesigned most of our programs for several years and were facing pension issues. And, as we realigned newly acquired employees into different areas within Northrop Grumman, the benefit programs needed to make more sense across the entire company.

Integrating our acquisitions gave us the opportunity to redefine health care at Northrop Grumman. This was a huge undertaking that required a threepronged approach: plan redesign, health care resources, and engaging our leadership and employees from the beginning. Because of the magnitude of the task, we couldnt do it alone. We needed the help of our main outsourcing vendor, Towers Perrin, an HR consulting and administration services firm, to actually make it all happen.

Integral to the changes we were making, and a key piece that we outsourced to Towers Perrin, was the creation of a Web portal to promote health care consumerism (which has the potential to help stem rising health care costs.) We looked at consumerdirected health plans but realized they would only touch those employees who selected them. We wanted to provide health care tools and resources for all of our employees. One of our key messages was that health care was changing dramatically. For employees, the message was that, whether or not we took all of these 350 different health and welfare programs and merged them into one, we were still going to have to address health care cost increases.

In making the decision to outsource the e-health portal, we recognized both the complexity of the task as well as the fact that we were still in the process of implementing our redesigned flexible benefit, recordkeeping, and defined benefit programs. We chose Towers Perrin, in partnership with WebMD, a leading provider of Web-based consumer-focused health care information, because we believed that they would be able to provide us with a solution that would meet our needs.

With our input, Towers Perrin developed an entire health online strategy for Northrop Grumman. They delivered an e-health portal that contains all of the critical health care information needed to help our employees become better health care consumers. Those resources include Health Online, a medical plan comparison tool, online open enrollment, and care management.

In early 2003, we introduced our new Web site NG Benefits Online to our employees, following an intensive communication effort. Through NG Benefits Online, employees can now access a wealth of information and enroll in their benefits with just one click of a mouse. A customized consumerism guide highlights all of the new resources now available.

At Health Online, employees can take a health risk assessment, visit a condition center, maintain their family health records, and use tools to compare drug costs or determine the quality of different hospitals. Care management provides a nurse advice line, a disease and case management option, and a list of centers of excellence. We also use the information employees provide in their health risk assessment to match them with appropriate disease management programs.

We have had very good results to date and view our new e-health portal as an ongoing endeavor to get employees to pay attention to health care costs and their part in managing them. Towers Perrin has provided user statistics that underscore the success of our portal, including the fact that 90 percent of our employees enrolled in their 2004 health care benefits online, 40 percent used the medical plan evaluation tool, and 17 percent registered at Health Online. Based on these encouraging results, we will continue to work with Towers Perrin and WebMD to provide our employees with the best tools to help them become even better health care consumers and managers of their health program costs.

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