Online Benefit Options On The Rise

August 7, 2001 ( The number of companies giving their employees the option of managing their employer-sponsored benefits online has increased significantly, according to a survey.

The study by Towers Perrin shows that more than 60% of respondents will allow employees to complete their benefit enrollment online in 2001, more than double the number reported in 2000.

The fourth annual HR Service Center Survey also found that 43% gave their employees the option of changing their HR data via their intranets compared with 21% last year.

And 80% of the employers surveyed now give employees the option of making changes to their 401(k) allocations online, versus 58% in 2000. Furthermore, the data shows that most of the companies that don’t currently offer these options plan to offer them in the future.

Intranet Access

These increases correlate with the increases in employee access to HR intranets, highlighted by data in the survey that shows access in the workplace growing by 10% in 2001.

And although access to an HR intranet at home is also growing, a 58% jump this year, the number of employees who can access their HR intranets from home is still relatively small, primarily due to security concerns.

Online Benefit Benefits

In addition, the survey revealed that many participants found online transactions to be more accurate than traditional methods, in particular

  • more than 75% of respondents said that annual benefit enrollment transactions online are more accurate,
  • a little over 70% found new hire enrollment to be more accurate,
  • the same percentage found family status changes to be more accurate,
  • half the respondents recognized the accuracy of employment event transactions,
  • while 80% cited increased accuracy in personal changes

The Web-based survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2001. Most of the 100 companies that participated are Fortune 500 companies, and respondents were most often HR service center managers and/or IT managers.