TecHR Interview with Linda Siniard, Director of HR at Limelight Health
Tell us about your journey into HR Technology?
When I started in HR, payroll was one of the few employee functions that had a choice (though limited) of automation and software. This was largely due to accounting departments, not HR, having control of payroll functions. My first experience in Personnel (the precursor to HR) was in the 1980s and we used Lotus 123 for spreadsheets, WordStar and WordPerfect for word processing, and tons of manual and time-consuming forms for employee benefits enrollments and all other employee data.
HR-specific software was still a dream to be realized. With the increase in government reporting of employee data by the mid-1980s, plus the alphabet soup of labor legislation, some of the companies I worked for began to see the importance of purchasing more sophisticated HR Software. Some came with integrated functions, soon to be known as HRIS platforms. Often, we would purchase only the most critical features or modules due to the cost savings: accurate records for employee information, benefits enrollments, time-off tracking, and training.
Performance management, career development, and internship programs often took a back seat. In many organizations, they still do.
How did you start in this space? What galvanized you to be a part of Limelight Health?
I’ve worked in 17 industries. Employee benefits and other types of insurance are in my background, and HR technology overlaps in all of them. Limelight Health was an opportunity to make a difference in an industry and in processes that I had struggled with as an HR professional for years – how to limit the time delays and manual processing typically required for the annual employee benefits renewal process. My choice in working for this company was a no-brainer, as I viewed the Limelight platform as lightyears ahead of what I had experienced in 25 years of HR.
What is Limelight Health and how does it fit into the modern HR Technology landscape?
Limelight Health is a leading provider of cloud-based enterprise software solutions delivering the most efficient and compelling quoting & underwriting platform for the employee benefits industry. We deliver the most efficient and compelling quoting & underwriting platform for the employee benefits industry, which ties into the company’s HR departments and ensures they can offer their employees the best benefits.
What does your Ideal customer profile look like? Which businesses are the fastest to adopt HR Technology products?
Enterprise Insurance Carriers: Limelight Health is looking to update internal quoting and underwriting systems for employee benefits programs to increase efficiencies by 10 times, if not more, depending on current systems and workflows. Typically, we meet with C-level and upper management as these implementations require extensive resources (time and money) to be successful. Approval at the highest level of an insurance carrier is necessary.
Tell us more about the state of technology leveraged for quoting, underwriting, and proposal platform for the employee benefits industry?
Employee benefits have been completely reimagined through technologies that can assist quoting, underwriting and proposals. It’s just at the beginning of catching on in the industry and a select few companies have been able to capitalize on this and really change the process. When brokers are able to quote plans in real time for medical, dental, disability, and the like, it greatly improves the process for everyone involved- brokers, company’s HR departments and the employees seeking benefits.
What are the major pinpoints in the Employee Benefits space? How does Limelight Health help to solve these challenges?
Our platform automates the quoting and underwriting process, removing manual workflows, duplicate entries, and reducing the amount of paper. We connect internal and external systems via API to reduce the number of emails and human error during this process.
For example, we can take a 2-week request for proposal (RFP) process down to a single day. The employee benefits space is burdened with legacy systems that haven’t been updated since the 1980s and cause the following problems: Manual workflows, time consumption, duplicate entries, paper-driven, endless emails, spreadsheets, disconnected systems.
How has HR Technology changed in the last five years?
HR technology is evolving at the same rate as other technologies – at the speed of light, well, almost. The biggest changes over the last five years include working with benefits companies to offer benefits a la carte. Employees have begun to expect more flexible and personalized benefits that they can choose from through phone or online platform. Also, with the advancement of technology as a whole, many more employees are working remotely and taking advantage of the technologies that allow them to do so.
Tell us more about your vision into growing opportunities for HR Technology platforms?
More and more software businesses are launching investigations and products into what HR technology platforms will reduce time to deliver, clean data, and employee self-service. My vision for growing opportunities in this topic area is focused on simplicity integrated with robustly designed UI/UX outcomes.
Which other HR Technologies are you keenly following and why?
I follow emerging technologies that address small to large company requirements for HR technology functions. The field is vast, and seemingly growing every day. As a working professional, my time is limited in how much time I can invest in researching. I depend on HR trade associations, online newsletters, training opportunities, and a network of HR colleagues to keep me abreast of innovations.
I mostly follow enterprise solutions while keeping an eye on companies just entering the field. The new players often offer perspectives and feature not previously brought out in the light of day.
What would be the role of AI, Automation, and Robotics in the Employee Benefits industry?
With AI, Automation, and Robotics we can greatly reduce the time it takes to get people the health care their families need. It can also increase the morale of those executing these tasks day in and day out creating a better environment at the office and a happier workforce which has all kinds of benefits, not just for the bottom line.
Thank you, Linda! That was fun and hope to see you back on TecHR soon.
Limelight Health is a leading provider of cloud-based enterprise software solutions delivering the most efficient and compelling quoting & underwriting platform for the employee benefits industry. We provide process automation and seamless integration between every participant in the employee benefits industry including carriers, underwriters, sales executives, agents, advisors, and their customers.
Limelight’s innovative platform offers a range of microservices that are highly configurable for business needs including quoting, rating, proposal generation, renewals, automated processing for pre-sales, new business, underwriting, enrollment support, data analysis, reporting, consumer delivery and agent self-service, document management and seamless integration with industry systems and services.
Linda Siniard brings over 20 years of experience in human resources and several years of experience as a general manager in business operations spanning a variety of industries. With a focus in policy development, legal compliance, compensation, and incentives, international HR, budget, and change management, Linda is the go-to resource for growth-stage companies, employee relations, and coaching.
Linda has a B.A. in Organizational Leadership, an M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification, and is currently balancing work with the pursuit of her Ph.D. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Mount Baker Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a Northern California arts and culture non-profit, and as a liaison between executive committees and their boards.