Artificial intelligence is affecting the average person’s daily life more and more, as we ask, “OK, Google, what’s the temperature?” and “Alexa, play some music.” And while these particular technologies haven’t yet hit the benefits world, they’re coming. Here are three things to watch for as new technology comes to HR:


New Tools Are Coming and They’ll Catch on Quickly

“When looking at Amazon Echo and Google Home, I see products that have very quickly grabbed market share with high rates of adoption,” wrote Joe Markland for Employee Benefit News. “Benefits technology, on the other hand, has not had broad adoption by employees.” According to Markland, new tech solutions will change that. “The next generation of technology in the HR and benefits area is going to have broader and everyday value, while being much easier to use,” he wrote. For example, clients’ employees will be able to ask Siri, Google, and Alexa about time off, for the balance of their 401(k)s, and whether specific doctors are in network.


Tech Add-ons Will Keep Adding Value

Don’t underestimate the power of add-ons like high-tech wellness gamification, over-the-phone heath care, prescription price comparison services, and credit counseling. “Value-add services can generate greater appreciation from [brokers’] clients, resulting in stickier relationships,” wrote Katie Kuehner-Hebert for BenefitsPro.


One of the most unique: a service called Retail Benefits. It partners with retailers “to offer employees, members, or customers rewards on the online shopping they are already doing through white-labeled shopping experiences,” Kuehner-Hebert wrote. Large employers can offer Retail Benefits to employees, and it even has a program that allows employees to fund their health savings accounts “by depositing cash back rewards they earned while shopping online,” she wrote.


Layering Tools Will Increase the Power of HR

“HR professionals are moving up the technology food chain,” wrote Jessica Campbell for Employee Benefit Adviser. “By leveraging robust HR management tools and benefits administration systems, HR and benefits professionals are able to accomplish their functional tasks and responsibilities, while also personally connect with every employee and develop programs that hone their skills.”


Customized benefit administration systems offer employees access to exactly the tools they need, and “coach them through the election process with decision-support tools, educational materials, targeted communications, and notifications,” Campbell wrote. ‘“Online enrollment affords the personalized, interactive experience that consumers demand. A total compensation statement finalizes the employee enrollment view, essentially revealing the employer’s sum cost of their human investment.”