Xerox HR Services’s single portal is all encompassing – McKenna on technology

Ian-McKenna-in-2013-700.jpgThere is much to praise in the HR platform offering from Xerox HR Services says Ian McKenna, director of F&TRC

Television campaigns promoting the latest financial planning or workplace app are part of normal viewing in the US but I have struggled to think of any UK organisation that has taken this approach, until now. Late last year, Xerox began a campaign showing how easily staff could manage their benefits via their smartphones.

Five years ago, Xerox – primarily a technology company – acquired employee benefits business Buck Consultants to complement its HR capabilities. Although this was initially a low-key move, the consultancy, formerly known as Buck Consultants at Xerox, but now called Xerox HR Services has seen its footprint expand from the trustee market, where it is very well known, further into HR. Technology is central to the strategy. The current TV campaign aims to reinforce a message that “Work can work better” through the solutions Xerox delivers.

While historically its focus was on the US, UK and Canada, the business is now active in 90 countries – some directly, others through partnership. Head of corporate solutions John Deacon was brought in 18 months ago to combine elements of the organisation to ensure they are fully joined up and relevant for the future of the business.

A new version of Xerox HR Services’s Life Connect technology sits at the heart of all this. Built as a single portal, reinforcing the employer’s brand, it is designed to replace a plethora of other portals an employer might have deployed for individual needs.

Xerox HR Services sees its strength in the array of needs it can address, in multiple jurisdictions, within a single solution. Pensions, group risk, healthcare, wellness, share plan and all the usual flex options can be accommodated. From the employer perspective, this can cover as many aspects of HR as desired. The platform can link out to third-party suppliers as required.

Life Connect, formerly known as Compass in the UK, is built as a solution to meet the needs of global mobile workforces. This means that, for example, if a UK employee moves to an organisation’s Malaysian office, they will essentially be accessing the same platform.

This recognises the need to provide solutions that can support businesses with a global footprint, even if a company has a small team in some countries but much larger operations in others.

The share plan platform, where Xerox HR Services acts as share plan administrator, can be viewed across and adapted to different nations. The total reward elements enable a global business to understand its reward spend across continents, countries and lines of business, or even at a manager level. This service is deployed in more than 90 countries.

For EB, the UK operation has partnered with Thomsons to build on its Darwin system. This has helped Xerox HR Services accelerate its speed to market.

Employees see services broken into health, wealth and career components. Life Connect acts as a communications hub, through which employees can interact with their benefits and then, if they wish, transact. Fully responsive, the service works with any mobile device and provides a ‘see, learn and do’ member experience.

Xerox HR Services’s strategy is meeting the needs of employees in health and wealth, not accumulating assets under management, as is becoming a priority for many EB businesses. The company works with a full spectrum of employers, ranging from the largest to those with just five employees.

From a pensions perspective, the system shows contributions, investment strategy and current and projected fund values, and offers tools for exploring attitude to risk, income needs and retirement modelling.

Contract- and trust-based DC schemes, as well as DB, can be addressed by the system, which can also aggregate all retirement benefits, helping employees build a picture of total retirement assets. A wider summary of assets can be brought together as a dashboard so that the service can be used to consider total wealth. Currently this does not embrace the latest aggregation techniques, which would be an obvious next step.

Overall this is a great platform. My one reservation is that a more holistic view of personal finance could be delivered, but this should not detract from what is an outstanding HR offering to employers and employees.