Simplification Through Administration: A Case Study

In an effort to save costs and improve benefits coordination between multiple locations, one company decided to consolidate its benefits administration. In doing so, it became highly evident that in order to enhance the administrative staff’s performance and productivity, there was a need for both significant data cleanup and an updated pension software system.

Background

The company followed a common practice – having the same pension plan for employees across multiple locations, but administering the plan separately in each site. When two key positions within HR became vacant across the sites, important institutional knowledge was suddenly lost, and the task to consolidate administration quickly became more complicated.

The Issues

The major issue during the consolidation was that data did not transfer accurately from the satellite location to the home office, forcing data reconciliation with each new calculation. Individual calculations were time consuming and disruptive to the remaining staff’s ability to perform other job functions.

Sibson’s investigation found data accuracy was hampered by:

  • Differences in how data was recorded in older paper records that had not yet been converted to electronic format
  • Differences in field definitions and other protocols used in the electronic conversions that had been completed to date
  • Data input errors that were not caught originally and compounded over time

Sibson's Solution

The Sibson team worked onsite to help staff sort through old paper records that had been transferred to microfiche (remember that?) and provide additional verifications of records to gain confidence prior to consolidation. The team also compared databases across locations to better map data fields so they could be merged into a common – and verified – resource for pension calculations.

With data issues resolved, pension calculations were still a manual and time-consuming process. In response to the company’s desire to increase its operational efficiencies, Sibson offered its OptiNext® administration and participant communication platform as a possible solution. Senior leaders were impressed with the ease of doing pension calculations and projections on the platform and also embraced the ability not only to archive plan calculations but also to share them via a secure web interface with plan participants.

The Results

Prior to considering the OptiNext® platform, the company had determined that, at a minimum, two full-time administration staff members would need to be hired. Implementing OptiNext® negated the need for extra staff.

Additionally, the speed with which calculations could now be prepared was a game changer for the staff of the benefits department. They now could focus on projects that simply were not getting done due to the administrative burden of producing and verifying calculations.

Participants as well shared overwhelmingly positive feedback on the speed at which they received their calculations.  

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