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    2020 saw the world’s workforce abruptly sent home from the office. In the Third Party Administrator (TPA) industry, many of these were highly skilled and independent workers; therefore, due to the increased flexibility, reduction in commute times, and more control over the daily balance of their activities, I would not be surprised if these workers are not rushing to get back to 9-5 in the office anytime soon. In the blink of an eye, this moves cloud-based workflow software from a nice-to-must have.  

    What is the status? 

    Understanding the tasks that your remote workforce is working on, identifying where the backlogs lie, and maintaining productivity standards are only possible when you have a centralized system that employees use to manage their day-to-day work. We have heard horror stories of TPA teams requiring VPN connections to get into their work files, but they can’t hold a video call at the same time using that solution, or teams who are struggling to send files due to size constraints of emails. Every individual task that is slowed down has a cumulative effective on the productivity of the team. In PensionPro, our dashboards, worktrays, and cloud storage enable employees to collaborate on their tasks in real time and clearly organize group projects. 

    As a company, PensionPro has employees located both nationally and internationally. We rely on PensionPro to manage our team’s workload and their output. Customer accounts and project task information are stored centrally so that the entire team can access them. We augment PensionPro with MS Teams for our video chats and instant messaging because, let’s be honest, no one would want to sift through 90% of what is said in the messaging apps; it is a mixture of company notifications, real-time problem solving, and cupcake recipes.  

    Your pond just got bigger. 

    By moving to the cloud, you open your recruitment to a national market. Now, instead of paying big city salaries, you can expand your search to the entire country. Historically, finding a local employee who had the necessary skills and credentials was challenging, so many TPAs would have to invest significantly to train and retain each employee. The game has now changed. In the last 12 months, we have seen a surge in out-of-state recruitment among the 500 TPAs we service. For our customers who use onboarding project templates and role-based security, transitioning new employees into highly productive team members has fueled both customer and profit growth metrics. 

    In addition to helping your firm’s P&L, it also makes you a more attractive employer brand. According to a recent Gallup poll, 74% of millennials do not want to go back to the onsite 9-5. They are not the only group, but they do represent the immediate future of TPAs. By having a partially or fully remote workforce, you are offering the type of environment and culture that is both appealing and offers a competitive advantage over those who are unable to adapt. 

    Crawl before you walk. 

    Shifting to an effective remote environment is as much cultural as it is technological. Yes, the technology is important, but fostering patience, communication, and attention to detail are also critical ingredients. One of the ways we see firms foster patience is to move methodically through transferring their processes to PensionPro rather than trying to change everything at once. Achieving smaller wins, such as setting up your annual data collection or document restatements, before trying to rollout more intricate processes like Financial Advisor Scorecards, will pay dividends. 

    Security is another key issue to consider when shifting your operations to the cloud. While there are many security benefits to being able to control who has access and having a digital audit trail, employees are given more autonomy and independence in a remote setting, so frequent training can help them understand best practices and key habits to build. 

    The sky is the limit. 

    Once the momentum builds and you are seeing and feeling the benefits, you will start to ask the question – how much of my operations can I move online? Is a 100% remote business feasible? Can I take my bookkeeping and billing online? Would my clients and vendors go for 100% digital payments? At PensionPro we believe this future is closer than you think. 

    If you would like to see PensionPro in action, please sign up for a product demonstration here.