When we look for life partners, we look for a human being who complements us, fills the gaps, and covers our blind spots. We don’t randomly pick anyone who is available, offers free lunches, or is low maintenance. We go for the most refined, complete, and suitable match that we vet through innumerable conversations and dates. I know it doesn’t sound super romantic, but in most long-term relationships this is the case.
I feel it should be the same when we chose business partners – more so in the case of HR-service providers. HR today has grown beyond traditional roles and is a key strategic business partner that contributes to the success of any organization. This has also translated into HR being inundated with innumerable demands due to the nature of the ever-changing landscape of the workforce and the global economy.
Human capital is fluid, most valuable, and easily can either be your biggest asset or your biggest liability based on how they are nurtured.
Third-party educational benefits administrators help HR Managers remain focused on the core and strategic organizational issues by taking the load of upskilling administration off their plates. However, this partnership can easily become a nightmare if you chose the wrong partner – much like your life if you pick the wrong one. Not that it can’t be corrected, just that the mess and pain are too much to handle.
So here’s a guide on what should you look for in a Third-party Educational Benefits Administrator before you say – Yes!
The education benefits industry is highly specialized, and most new entrants know enough to make a mistake. It takes years of process, personnel, and technology development to be able to know inside out of the industry served. What most people see when entering into this business is the tip of the iceberg, the complexity of which can only be gazed at with deep knowledge. Be it the regulations or taxations around implementation, you are better off with the best brains in the industry.
Size doesn’t matter, but experience does. A small-sized but experienced full-service third-party educational benefits administrator is any day more valuable than a big software-only or newly mushroomed business line with limited capabilities and subpar service. Much like knowledge, a lot is learned in this industry with experience. Moreover, with experience comes valuable counseling on what-not-to-do, which cannot be measured in monetary benefits. Old is truly gold.
A company ‘that’s been there and done that’ matters when you are thinking long-term. I’d like to believe that Upskilling isn’t an annual line item on your HR agenda. It’s a well-thought-out year-on-year growth strategy for long-term employee engagement and retention. So, go for a player whose core competencies are in the educational benefits realm, and who has been in this business for a long time. The stability that comes of this association would be invaluable. Not only do your implementation costs get spread out, but also you are sure that they will not drop you off for yet-another-more-profitable new business idea.
We are talking about nurturing the human resources and only software doesn’t cut it. It may be cost-effective, however, it doesn’t serve the purpose of taking away the administrative load and responsibilities off HR. Depending on the size of the company; administration is always going to be a nightmare if the service rests within HR. A full-service third-party education benefits administrator is worth every dime you spend.
A full-service provider also comes with the added benefits of well-developed service lines that cover the full spectrum of educational benefits like Tuition Reimbursement, Student Loan Assistance, Scholarship Administration, School Network Partners, Academic Advising, and Educational Resources. So, you can simply take advantage of their other service lines with minimal administrative and contractual work.
Don’t we all love one-stop shops with quality items that last for years? I mean who has the time for going into a different store for each item on the shopping list, and worse getting stuck with something low quality that you eventually regret buying and have to replace. Education benefits administration is an extension of the same philosophy.
Cheers to making better choices. Have a warm and happy holiday season!
By Spardha Khera, Edcor
Edcor is a woman-owned business and is the benchmark in education benefits administration. For 40 years, our customized service and solutions have allowed Fortune 500 Clients to use education benefits programs for employee recruitment, retention, and development. Please feel free to reach out to us!
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