Leader Summit Series Employee Benefits

By Staff Report

Jun. 2, 2005

Competitive benefits programs are critical to effective workforce management. Though necessary to attract and retain quality employees, administration of such programs can be resource-intensive. When choosing a benefits administrator, legal compliance, easy integration, and dedicated account and support teams are a must—and above all, it's got to be good for the bottom line. Companies are re-thinking new strategies for benefits because of recent market, technology, and legal influences. The burden falls on Human Resource departments to "do more with less."

One major player in the benefits administration field—ADP—offers cost effective comprehensive and flexible solutions to meet vital business needs. With a proven 50 year track record in providing benefits outsourcing for large companies, ADP offers cutting-edge solutions that are fully customizable to serve and expertly provide whatever is needed to achieve benefits success—from a standalone product to completely integrated systems. In addition, ADP is a front-runner in providing the most noteworthy new trend—Employee Self Service (ESS).

Recent research suggests that benefits administration is likely to be almost exclusively ESS within the next few years. The systems are easy to navigate and use for participants, with no formal training required. Employees nationwide have embraced ESS—they are even likely to expect having control of managing their own benefits without involving HR staff. And businesses have embraced not only the reduction of repetitive inquiries and administrative tasks, but also the peace of mind in knowing that the latest legal issues and best practices are already integrated in their systems.

Vincent De Palma, President of ADP Benefit Services, provides further insight and solutions for some of these strategic challenges. Mr. De Palma leads the ADP Benefit Services business unit that includes ADP's Retirement Services and Health & Welfare Administration Services. ADP Benefit Services is responsible for delivering World Class benefit services across all markets served by ADP Employer Services. He joined the Employer Services Division of ADP in February 1999 as Senior Vice President-Group Marketing. In that role, in addition to overseeing all of ADP Employer Services Marketing and Marketing Communications deliverables, Mr. De Palma established strategic web marketing initiatives and client services guidelines.

How is technology changing the face of benefits administration?

Employee self-service acceptance has led to new ways to leverage this technology beyond open enrollment. ADP is seeing clients use it year around—for new hires, life events and employee surveys. Additionally, companies are adding functionality, such as cost modeling and plan comparisons, to help employees with their benefit decisions.

What recent legal changes regarding FMLA, ADA, or other workforce-related acts or laws should organizations be aware of?

At the start of the year, several changes to COBRA regulations involving the types and timing of notices required went into effect. Additionally, ADP is closely watching several legislative proposals that have been introduced, which would alter FMLA compliance at both the state and federal levels. For more information, visit

How does your specific product or service help companies maximize bottom line results as they manage the workforce?

ADP’s 20+ years of benefits administration expertise helps companies remove the burden associated with administrative tasks, such as employee inquiries and data processing/management. This allows businesses to focus on core strategic priorities, while increasing cost efficiencies. Further, ADP embeds its compliance expertise to help alleviate this burden and mitigate regulatory risk.

In this volatile market, human resources must be cognizant of protecting both their organization and employers by minimizing the risk on pension and retirement plans. What should companies be looking for from retirement and 401(k) providers, as they develop a program that offers a sound variety of both 401(k) and retirement programs?

Companies should look to providers whose 401(k) programs are designed with the best interest of the participants in mind. ADP’s independence from the management of investments ensures objectivity and is aligned to help providers structure a retirement plan portfolio that meets the various needs of plan participants.

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