BANOLA: Our Biggest Takeaways & HR Tech Updates

Roughly 400 people (many escaping the polar vortex) gathered in the relatively warm city of New Orleans in late January for the BAN (Benefit Advisors Network) Winter Conference. BAN is comprised of more than 100 insurance agencies that come together to solve problems, share knowledge, develop strategy and more — all to better serve their clients and the employee benefits industry.

Benefits Technology Resources (BTR) is proud to a part of BAN. We serve as their Director for HR Technology, helping BAN agencies and their clients increase employee productivity and retention, stay compliant, automate processes to free up staff, gain access to best-fit technology solutions and save on administrative costs. We enjoy providing BAN conference attendees with the latest insights into the HR technology marketspace. Our semi-annual presentation has become a conference mainstay, thanks to the fast-evolving role of technology in workforce management.

If you aren’t a BAN member (or prospect), you likely missed our presentation delivered by CEO Jamie Hawkins and Director of Client Relations & Strategic Initiatives Josh Hoover. We’re proud to say the feedback was great, so we thought we’d share key points from the presentation here. All statistics noted come from the Sierra-Cedar 2018-2019 HR Systems Survey White Paper, 21st Annual Edition.


Clients are becoming savvier now that many have been on one or two systems.

85% or more of companies use HR technology to manage information — many for tactical purposes, but a small (and growing) number use HR technology to drive workforce business decisions and inform business strategy. This is your area of opportunity and where BTR can help you most. Talent management solutions lead the pack of HR modules implemented during the past year.

Employers are starting to better understand what they want and need.

This is good news for your business. Nearly half (42%) of organizations surveyed report plans to increase their HR tech spending, with small organizations being the fastest-growing segment of new HR tech buyers. 38% of small business (<2,500 employees) expect to increase their spending. And, once again, talent management tops the list…this time for spending. Clearly, the talent war rages on. If you’re focused on the small-employer market, talk to us about how our BTR Express RFP can help drive business.

Employers are slowly learning the importance of being in a partnership with their HR Tech vendor.

“Good service & support” is the #1 factor driving customer satisfaction. But, worth noting, a “good relationship with a vendor” has jumped to be a close second. We counsel clients to view their tech vendors as strategic partners. Clients are investing more with vendors and expecting more from those vendors and getting a higher level of service and functionality in return.

Clients want exceptional service, and vendor investing in client service will rise above the rest.

There are numerous examples of this throughout the HR technology ecosystem, but we’ll highlight just one: vendors who are investing into their service resources are seeing a significant return on that investment through improved client retention.

Vendor partnerships that deliver high quality benefits administration through EDI/API integration provide employers with a better experience.

Better than typically is available through all-in-one systems where benefits administration is often “secondary” to core modules, e.g., payroll. Organizations must decide between applications that meet their functional or industry-specific needs and those that are part of their existing application set. Our view: Tech should not drive business strategy; business strategy should drive tech decisions. BTR is available to help you and your clients identify solutions that deliver service and support business strategy.


What to Consider When Planning Your Marketing Strategy

While our main purpose at BAN was to give conference attendees information they can leverage within their organizations, we also left with insights from other conference thought leaders. Of note was Richard Weylman, best-selling author, who speaks on elevating marketing and business performance. Mr. Weylman packed a lot into his pre-conference session, but here’s a few points to consider as you plan your own marketing strategy:

  • Simplify your marketing messages to be more captivating and better understood by clients and prospects.
  • Ask your client questions to understand why they do business with you to help simplify your message.
  • Use the words of your clients to communicate what’s distinct about you and to set yourself apart from competitors.

Reach out if we can assist you or your clients with their benefit technology needs and watch for our upcoming blog based on our insights from the Assurex Global Conference.