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Human Resources Firms Looking to Go Paperless Study Finds

August 18, 2010
CHICAGO—August 18, 2010—Within the next five years, 64 percent of Professional Employer Organizations (PEO)* plan to eliminate printed materials from their communications with worksite employees. Of those, 26 percent are committed to moving all materials online this year, according to Aon Consulting, the global benefits and human capital consulting business of Aon Corp.

[* A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is a single-source provider of integrated services that enable business owners to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, employee benefits, payroll and workers’ compensation and other strategic services.]

The "Aon Consulting 2010 PEO Survey" of 69 respondents (representing 52 PEOs) shows that those considering eliminating printed materials from their communications are doing so to reduce expenses (58 percent), save time and money in updating information (51 percent), and distribute information in a timely manner (37 percent).

“While PEOs recognize the challenges of providing print materials, they also realize not all worksite employees have regular access to the Internet, as 65 percent of PEOs indicated,” said Bill Crawford, senior vice president and director of Aon Consulting’s Benefacts Personalized Communications Practice. “Until more PEOs are comfortable with worksite employees having access to online communications, they will need to find ways to streamline print production in order to reduce production costs, while improving the accuracy of printed materials. Outsourcing communications—including the development, printing and distribution of content—can certainly help achieve these goals.”

Currently, PEOs use both online and/or print materials to communicate with worksite employees, but which method they use most of the time depends on the information being communicated. For example, 75 percent of PEOs use electronic communications at least half of the time when distributing HR and benefits information. The remaining 25 percent use print exclusively or the majority of the time.

For open enrollment communications, only 26 percent of PEOs use both print and electronic channels to inform worksite employees. Another 32 percent mail printed materials and then worksite employees mail the forms back or use a call center to make elections, and 20 percent use an online process exclusively. About 22 percent of PEOs don’t communicate directly with worksite employees; instead, they send open enrollment materials to client employers, who then distribute the information to their employees.

"It seems likely that PEOs will remain hesitant in the next couple of years to move their open enrollment communication online due to the critical nature of this particular event, coupled with the concern over worksite employee access,” Crawford said.

Additionally, nearly 50 percent of respondents now use some form of social media, with 38 percent planning to expand this use in the future and 10 percent not planning to increase their social media use. Another 25 percent of PEOs don’t currently use social media but plan to in the future. Of those who are using social media, the most common tools are: LinkedIn (42 percent); Facebook (36 percent); and company-sponsored blogs (29 percent).

Besides moving away from print and expanding social media use in the near future, the survey found PEOs would like to change their worksite communications strategy to make their business more efficient and competitive this year. These changes include:

• 52 percent – Provide more streamlined communications that are more concise and easy to understand

• 20 percent – Use more personalized information and fewer generic communications

• 17 percent – More frequent communications on relevant topics such as wellness programs or planning for retirement

“Communications must be fully integrated into the PEO’s business process, as they reflect the employer brand, set the tone for the work experience and leave a lasting impression with worksite employees,” Crawford said. “As organizations continue to do more with less, it’s important for PEOs to place the same emphasis on preparing quality communications as they do on providing quality service. This includes making communications more streamlined and personalized to inform, engage and drive behaviors among worksite employees in the most cost effective and timely manner.”

To download the report, click the following link:

About the Study
Aon Consulting’s 2010 PEO Survey is based on responses from 69 Professional Employer Organizations across the United States. Survey results show trends in PEO communications and will assist organizations in their communications strategies. Aon Consulting advises the PEO industry with the development, printing and distribution of communications to educate and drive behaviors on topics such as health care and wellness, open enrollment, and 401k statements. Visit the Benefacts website for more information:

About Aon Consulting
Aon Consulting is among the top global human capital consulting firms, with more than 6,300 professionals in 229 offices worldwide. The firm works with organizations to improve business performance and shape the workplace of the future through employee benefits, talent management and rewards strategies and solutions. Aon Consulting was named the best employee benefit consulting firm by the readers of Business Insurance magazine in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. For more information on Aon Consulting, please visit

About Aon
Aon Corp. (NYSE: AON) is the leading global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human capital consulting. Through its more than 36,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon delivers distinctive client value via innovative and effective risk management and workforce productivity solutions. Aon's industry-leading global resources and technical expertise are delivered locally through more than 500 offices in more than 120 countries. Named the world's best broker by Euromoney magazine's 2008, 2009 and 2010 Insurance Survey, Aon also ranked highest on Business Insurance's listing of the world's largest insurance brokers based on commercial retail, wholesale, reinsurance and personal lines brokerage revenues in 2008 and 2009. A.M. Best deemed Aon the number one insurance broker based on brokerage revenues in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and Aon was voted best insurance intermediary, best reinsurance intermediary and best employee benefits consulting firm in 2007, 2008 and 2009 by the readers of Business Insurance. Visit for more information on Aon and to learn about Aon’s global partnership and shirt sponsorship with Manchester United.



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Most Recent Comments:
Kristian Svindland - Posted on August 20, 2010
Having worked in the PEO and employee leasing space for more than 6 years now, I have seen a lot more PEO's move in this direction. There is a tremendous amount of ROI that can be gained within 18 - 24 months for a PEO.
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Archived Comments:
Kristian Svindland - Posted on August 20, 2010
Having worked in the PEO and employee leasing space for more than 6 years now, I have seen a lot more PEO's move in this direction. There is a tremendous amount of ROI that can be gained within 18 - 24 months for a PEO.