Towers Perrin Survey Finds Heavy Workplace Net Usage

September 25, 2002 ( - Not only has intranet/Internet usage become the norm at US companies, but many firms have also leveraged technology to bring a self-service capability to administration of many benefits including 401(k) plans.

That was the result of Towers Perrin’s 2002 HR Service Delivery survey, which found US firms allow virtually all of their salaried employees (94%) Internet access and give the same to 72% of hourly workers.

Benefit programs now operating on self-service include:

  • 401(k) balances and transactions (93%)
  • annual enrollment (89%)
  • enrollment in training courses (65%)
  • ability to change personal data (63%).

However, manager self-service, which allows managers to complete many of their HR-related tasks online as opposed to handing them off to HR, continues to lag employee self-service.   Some 46% use the computer for staffing issues such as annual merit reviews while 36% rely on it for compensation calculations.

Web Usage Means Timelier HR Services

Increasing use of the Web for HR service delivery is leading to significant improvements in HR’s timeliness and accuracy in providing information and transactions to the organization, according to the survey results.

In rating the impact of self-service on both the timeliness and accuracy of service delivery, respondents gave both measures an average rating of four (on a five-point scale where “five” was the top score for both measures). 

This rating held across the broad service delivery spectrum, including health and welfare benefits, compensation, HR data change transactions, and learning and development.

According to the survey, companies expressed a willingness to continue to invest in HR technology.  More than 40% of respondents are using or plan to use a portal tool as gateways to their HR intranet in 2002.  Another 30% of respondents plan to implement portals in 2003. 

More than 125 companies participated in the 2002 survey, most of which are Fortune 500 companies.  This year’s survey also saw a jump in the number of international companies participating from 1% last year to 14% in 2002.