I'm an experienced digital and operations leader, with a proven track record of driving profitable revenue growth and operational scale. In my current role as Mid-Market Operations Leader, I am responsible for the strategy and leadership of a global team, working with award winning technology and multinational clients.
I'm hugely passionate about the role that technology can play in improving the lives of people around the world. I believe that organisations thrive when they foster a culture of diversity, agility and innovation.
Hi, I’m Marcus Slee from MercerMarsh benefits, and this is our Tech Talk.
MercerMarsh benefits is a world leader in providing consulting, broking and Employee Benefits Services. We sit at the centre of the human capital management ecosystem, helping our clients achieve their people strategies.
Our primary technology Darwin was founded in 2000, and is now the number one global benefits platform. Beginning in the UK, we’ve grown to work with eight of the 10 top tech companies globally across 104 countries.
Today we support over 4 million lives on the platform, we’re able to help our clients across four key areas. Firstly, by increasing employee engagement. We know from research that three quarters of executives are concerned about low engagement of their people. And simply put, Darwin makes it quick and easy for people to learn about enrolling and manage their benefits. But it also helps to connect employees to their reward package by showing them the true value of their total reward, including not just their salary, but also any company benefits, perks and their culture.
Secondly, Darwin helps our clients to free themselves from manual Benefit Administration by automating the processes through technology. We know this is important to our clients because research shows that investing in automation to allow a focus on more strategic level work is one of the top priorities for companies. Most HR teams use lots of different HCM applications, but the systems don’t really speak to each other. Manually managing benefits is time consuming and resource intensive activity. Darwin removes this manual work and is able to easily transfer data between HR, Payroll and third party provider systems minimising any time spent on data. This enables our clients to concentrate on delivering strategic value to the business rather than focusing on repetitive manual tasks.
Thirdly, we support our clients in controlling their costs. For most businesses, benefits are a major outgoing, comprising around 20% of total payroll costs. So ensuring the best possible return on investment is one of the main objectives of HR professionals. We use analytics centre to uncover data about our clients benefit schemes. This enables clients to clearly see where benefits aren’t valued or aren’t used, as well as where offerings can be standardised to deliver greater cost efficiency. Our technology works hand in hand with our consulting teams who use this data to get the best value from the market, ensuring that our clients get the maximum value from their spend.
Lastly, we help our clients by managing risk. Any human handling of data inevitably introduces risks. This can cause costly data errors where employees aren’t insured, or data breaches which brings reputational damage and potential financial penalties. Data breaches come at a huge cost, damaging relationships with clients, partners, employees, prospective joiners and the market perception. It’s often the worst nightmare for any HR professional. Darwin automates our clients processes, eliminating any human handling of data and giving full oversight, audit tracking and strong governance.
Darwin is a cloud based multi tenanted SaaS platform, it provides an employee facing rewards centre, an employer facing control centre and a data analytics Centre for EMI and reporting. The employee facing reward Centre is a consumer grade experience across desktop, tablet and mobile, which replicates the software employees are used to using in their daily lives. Employers can access via single sign on and branding images and site content can be customised for each individual client. The reward centre is made up of several different editions that clients can choose to implement.
Firstly, Darwin’s reward station acts as a homepage and a central hub for employees. It allows clients to communicate their culture and values as well as any regular messages such as a monthly benefits newsletter, promotion of new benefits, or even a video from their CEO. This makes Darwin a one stop shop for anything and everything reward related. Benefit manager makes it simple and easy for employees to flex their benefits. The selection process mirrors the flow employees experience when they buy something online or use social media. Employees are able to find information on their benefit offering enrolled themselves or their dependents and then check out their selections. Reward engager allows employees to view their current benefits selections and the financial values associated with them. They can view the amount that you’re paying towards the benefit and the amount that clients are contributing on their behalf. Coupled with this is a wealth of educational content in the form of charts, case studies, recommendations and videos to educate employees.
Underpinning the employee facing reward centre is Darwin’s employer facing control centre. This is a powerful engine that provides administrators with a wide range of self service capabilities. Darwin’s payroll wizard automates Benefits Administration automatically reporting to providers on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This minimises risk and allows clients to process their benefits accurately and securely. Our campaign manager allows clients to send targeted and personalised communication to their employees on a scheduled or ad hoc basis. And our Content Manager tool empowers HR teams to manage and make changes to their Darwin site whenever they choose.
Supporting the control centre is our Darwin analytics centre. This is an integrated analytics tool that provides powerful insights for decision makers. Darwin analytics centre puts everything clients need at their fingertips, with information presented in clear graphs and dashboards without the need to run reports.
Lastly, our dedicated mobile app Ondo creates regular engagement with employees. This helps to maximise awareness and signpost employees to their benefits as well as any well being initiatives and the wider employee value proposition. Ondo helps to create habit loops with employees that keeps them engaged with our clients well being offerings. Darwin’s mission is to change benefits for good. This means that we make a difference to the lives of our clients, their employees and their families.
In terms of employee impact, Darwin and Ondo support employees and the moments that matter. This could mean an employee needing to claim on their dental or private medical insurance for themselves or a loved one. Darwin easily gives employees access to the information they need, helping to reduce stress and anxiety from the situation. It can also mean helping employees safe retirement or plan for the future, or even something as simple as purchasing a bike to cycle to work and get healthier.
Together, Darwin and Ondo help employees engage with their award and wellness package, understand their offering and easily flex their benefits to suit their lifestyle. In terms of employer impact, Darwin and Ondo help clients achieve their strategic objectives. Whether that’s introducing new green benefits, supporting diversity, equity and inclusion policies, winning the war for talent, or ensuring return on investment for their benefit spend. By better engaging with their employees, our clients are able to better foster their culture and their values.
And because Darwin is a cloud based platform, employees are able to engage from anywhere in the world. This has always been important for those supporting flexible working, but never more so than during the COVID 19 pandemic, with most staff suddenly required to work from home with very little notice. Employees often underestimate, underuse and undervalue their reward packages. But we help clients make the most of their offerings, communicate to their employees, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. This helps our clients attract and retain talent in the market.
Automating manual benefits tasks has also always been a priority for HR professionals, but COVID-19 and the rapid rise in remote working has made automation and cloud based software central for most businesses. Throughout the pandemic. Darwin was able to provide support for employers during COVID-19, ensuring that their monthly processes continued as scheduled without any interruption whatsoever.
Clients can also quickly and easily communicate to their employees using Darwin’s reward centre, or Darwin’s communication tools, providing further support for their employees.
The impact that we have is clearly seen in some of our case studies. One large headcount client was struggling with low engagement in their benefits, as well as high benefit costs. We partnered with them to implement Darwin and propose a new benefit strategy. The result was an increase in engagement of 189% with two thirds of the population highly rating the new benefits programme. In addition, we were able to save 800,000 pounds annually in costs for the client.
I’m Marcus Slee, and thank you for listening to my Tech Talk.