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The Importance of Information Architecture in HR Benefits Technology

The Importance of Information Architecture in HR Benefits Technology
Posted on Monday, December 18, 2023 by Kimberly Dunwoody

To unlock the full potential of AI-driven HR benefits systems, a well-designed, robust, adaptable information architecture is key to unlocking more efficiency, more employee engagement, and more insights. 

As artificial Intelligence gains prominence in human resources, 81% of HR leaders are exploring or implementing AI solutions, particularly in HR benefits systems. These systems can streamline your HR processes and offer better benefits comprehension and decision-making for employees, promising dynamic and engaging benefits experiences that enhance employee satisfaction and retention. But for your benefits strategy to be effective, HR needs a robust and adaptable information architecture in place.  

What is information architecture and why does it matter for HR? 

Information architecture (IA) is the science of organizing and structuring information in a way that’s understandable and accessible. This involves creating a framework that helps a user understand where they’re at in the experience, such as a website or app, and helps guide them to the information they want or need. IA is often depicted as a hierarchy, but it can also be a network of interrelated information. To put it plainly, IA is like the Dewey Decimal system at your library or a really excellent filing system.  

So how does IA tie into machine learning and AI? Artificial intelligence algorithms function off of data to power their learning models. But these models need structured, labeled data to learn from. The better the information architecture, the more efficient these algorithms can be in their learning and operations. Sure, AI can read just about any data you throw at it, but without an underlying structure, the algorithm can’t serve up meaningful results, insights, or responses. 

How can information architecture support HR benefits administration?  

Employee experience often tops the list of HR’s priorities, especially as we watch benefits expectations evolve. And with 85% of employees saying they’re confused about their benefits, the more organized the information, the easier it will be for them to find the right information and benefits in the right moments in their benefits portal. 

For HR, a good information architecture is good for several reasons:  

  • Efficient and effective information gathering 
  • Improved decision-making and data insights 
  • Enhanced employee experience 
  • Machine learning integration 

Let’s take a closer look at how IA can make a difference in HR’s benefits strategy and the employee benefits experience.

Driving information efficiencies for HR and your employees 

HR teams handle incredible amounts of data—but we don’t need to tell you that! A clean information architecture can make it a lot easier for you to find and source the right information, data, or document quickly. Similar to having a really great file system in your office, except you’re spending less time filing and pushing paper.  

For the employee experience, a good IA can also help drive self-service in the benefits platform. This might look like: 

  • Having clear menus to find plan information or view a consumer spending account balance 
  • Getting clear and accurate responses from a virtual benefits assistant 
  • Avoiding having to call in to a service center or emailing HR with questions like “what’s my deductible?” or “how do I access my EAP?” 

Helping drive HR’s strategy with better insights and scalability 

The more data available to HR, the better the insights—information is HR’s greatest commodity. But with so many different data streams, it’s impossible for HR to pull together a complete set of insights. But AI and a strong information architecture can take those disparate data sources, like employee satisfaction data and participation data, and serve up critical insights to help drive ROI across your benefits program.  

Similar to gathering insights, machine learning can help drive incredible efficiencies across your entire HR strategy when an effective information structure is in place. This can be particularly useful when you’re looking at broader initiatives such as: 

  • Employee retention and turn-over 
  • Analyzing job satisfaction 
  • Reviewing employee growth opportunities and talent gaps 

Enhancing the employee experience

The most crucial aspect of any HR benefits system is its ability to drive employee satisfaction and engagement. AI-driven IA allows HR benefits systems to provide employees with a dynamic and engaging experience by tailoring benefits content to their needs. This, along with an intuitive and accessible interface, makes for an overall positive employee benefits experience. 

For example, if a machine learning algorithm is trying to predict an employee’s behavior in the benefits platform in order to push reminders about relevant benefits, the algorithm will need to access relevant data structures like eligibility, enrollment, and user-behavior patterns to provide the most accurate and helpful nudge. Many of our clients might recognize this as how SofiaSM, Businessolver’s machine-learning virtual benefits assistant, supports members with their benefits. 

As AI becomes more critical in HR benefits systems, information architecture will play a key role in helping organize information in meaningful and accessible ways for HR. This can have broad ripple effects across your entire strategy, from people operations to benefits administration. When combined with AI, information architecture can supercharge HR’s ability to predict trends, automate tasks, and improve overall efficiencies.  

Want to learn more about how AI can power your HR strategy? Check out our AI for HR ebook.