POSTED: March 24 2016
Colin Boxall, ADVO’s Commercial Director, comments on the use of technology to support employee benefit delivery and its wider applications

Colin Boxall, ADVO’s Commercial Director, comments on the use of technology to support employee benefit delivery and its wider applications

“Our private lives have gone through a technology revolution. Our working lives in many ways lag behind” comments ADVO’s Commercial Director Colin Boxall… “One of the challenges facing employers is keeping pace with employee expectations around technology. As this advances at a staggering pace clients will increasingly expect the same from the delivery of advice, increased staff appreciation and tailoring of their benefits.

Employers increasingly want access to technology and benefit delivery previously the preserve of larger corporates.

Barriers of cost and understanding slow development. Insurers are trying to catch up with smart-phone health apps but options for most intermediaries and their clients are limited and disjointed.

Some advisor firms have in the past used technology and online benefit platforms to make big profits. Our view differs. Technology should support and improve benefit management allowing lower fees. From our perspective staff portals increase understanding and appreciation of benefit spend leading to the implementation of more benefits and securing a client in the longer-term. Technology once developed has little ongoing cost with the main overhead data-entry.

The use of technology brings considerable efficiencies which we are able to pass onto clients.

To allow us to be better, and to stand out from competitors, ADVO created its first in-house system over 10 years ago allowing slicker account administration and lower fees. Over the years this has matured into a complete benefit management and communication portal.

ADVO Online is a web-based application created exclusively for our clients addressing the need for employers to efficiently manage benefits and for staff to better understand and value them.

For employers it solves the challenges of how to manage multiple staff benefits effectively and get ‘buy-in’ from Staff without spending prohibitively large sums of money.

We believe many SMEs and small corporates would love to provide flex to employees but find the cost prohibitive.

Kevin Crew, ADVO’s IT Director and main driver behind the online technology stated “Online portals are nothing new, but for an independent intermediary to develop in-house a full online system to rival global benefit advisors at the fraction of the cost is extraordinary.”

Even if clients do not use the system the functionality is there, ready to be activated. Our account managers use the system in the same way regardless of any client interaction as it controls and links into all of ADVO from policy management, compliance, training and accounts. It is ideal for multi-site or country employers in managing and communicating with staff.

Designed for companies of up to 500 employees it brings technology benefit-delivery into the reach of all employers.

As the hub for all communication ADVO Online creates simplicity with three main components, effective multi-benefit management for HR with staff portals with Total Reward Statements that can extend to benefit choice and full flex.

Employers can interact and manage staff-benefits (including non-ADVO managed), have all policy information and membership in real time and run reports including P11ds.

With individual portals employees better appreciate benefits and can access additional features including a retail discounts, health-treatment locators and direct links to online claiming with a mobile app giving 24/7 access.

I believe two of the strongest assisters for recruitment and retention is tailored benefit choice and an understanding and appreciation of money spent on staffs’ behalf. Total Reward Statements demonstrate true remuneration but having control to tailor benefits to their own lifestyle empowers staff generating a feeling of belonging.

Our Flex portal can standalone or be an extension of staff-portals. Simplistic or complex each flex-site is bespoke, not only wording, benefits and colour scheme/imagery but structure, such as salary sacrifice for pensions.

ADVO Online is quick and easy, saves time, looks good and gives total control with information accurate and real-time.

It is however most effective when used in conjunction with effective account management and traditional communication methods such as seminars, brochures and posters.

We realise however that the personal touch remains essential. Gill Mateo, Operations Director states “Technology and people is the key. Have great people and then give them the tools to be the best they possibly can. Our technology platforms may separate us from competitors but it is our people that ultimately make the difference.”

Our online capability is always being improved and we hope shortly to announce further online extensions including payroll, auto-enrolment and HR functions.

We always try to be different, but also be invaluable”.

For a greater understanding as to how ADVO technology can support save you time and increase staff appreciation of your benefit spend contact Colin. cboxall@advogroup.co.uk