HR Has Room to Improve on Answering Benefits Questions

September 24, 2014 ( – Employees and human resources (HR) staff have different perceptions of the resources in benefits information their firms offer.

Findings from several studies from ADP Research Institute show employees rank the value of their compensation and benefits less favorably than HR or management does. Forty-six percent of U.S. employees gave compensation and benefits four or five out of five stars on a rating scale, while 52% of HR and senior leadership did so.

HR and senior leadership are also significantly more satisfied than their employees with the process of how employees get answers to HR and benefits questions. Fifty-six percent of employees said getting HR and benefits questioned answered is extremely or very easy, and 79% of HR and senior leadership thought the same. Sixty-three percent of employees reported being extremely or very satisfied with the process for getting benefits questions answered, while 85% of HR reported the same.

ADP notes that small organizations (fewer than 50 employees) have the widest gap in opinion between HR and employees about how easy it is to get HR/benefits questions answered.

The ADP Research Institute studies show more than half of employees in large U.S. companies cited an employee portal as an important HR and benefits information resource. But, less than one-third of their HR leaders shared that conclusion. 

A centralized HR department (via a toll-free 800 number) was cited by more than half of employees surveyed as a resource for answers. Fewer than one-quarter of HR leaders cited their own department as a resource for employees seeking answers.

The options primarily cited by HR leaders for employees to get answers to their questions are:

  • An in-office HR team;
  • A dedicated HR representative; and
  • The employee’s manager.

ADP says a strong alignment of both preferred methods for getting answers and availability of tools would be preferable, if only for the efficient use of resources.

Other areas of disconnect between employees, HR and senior leadership ADP found include career opportunities, senior leadership and the HR function.

More survey results are in the ADP Research Institute whitepaper “Human Capital Management's Disconnect: A Global Snapshot,” which can be downloaded from here