HR Tech Preview – Compliance & More with Equifax

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

About this episode

539 – HR Tech Preview – Compliance & More with Equifax

Host: Steve Boese

Guests: Sarah Beth Todd, Pre-Sales Leader for the Employer Services & Karen Loiterstein, Vertical Marketing Leader for the Employer Services

This episode of the HR Happy Hour is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. The current business and hiring environment has redefined what it takes to succeed as an HR professional, requiring HR leaders to adapt and innovate at lightning speed to help their organizations remain competitive. Download the 2022 Paychex Pulse of HR report to discover the tools and tactics your peers are using to deliver on both HR and business objectives – faster and at scale – while still meeting the evolving needs of their employees. Visit to download your copy, today.

This week, we met with Sarah Beth Todd and Karen Loiterstein from Equifax for an HR Technology Conference preview.

– How Equifax helps HR leaders solve critical challenges they face today

– Ways to simplify the onboarding process and ensure you’re “getting it right”

– Tips to engage and retain vital lower income workers


Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and we look forward to you joining us at the HR Technology Conference in September! Check out the 2022 agenda online, then register with code SB22F to save $300 on your pass here.

Transcript follows:

Steve 0:25
Hi, this is Steve Boese and welcome to a special series on the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network, where we will talk with three leading HR technology providers about all things HR tech, and the upcoming HR Technology Conference set for September 13-16th, 2022 in Las Vegas, but first I’d like to thank our show sponsor Paychex. This episode is sponsored by Paychex. One of the leading providers of HR Payroll, retirement and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes to current business and hiring environment has redefined what it takes to succeed as an HR professional, requiring HR leaders to adapt and innovate at lightning speed to help their organizations remain competitive. Download the 2022 Paychex Pulse of HR report to discover the tools and tactics your peers are using to deliver on both HR and business objectives faster and at scale, while still meeting the evolving needs of their employees. Visit 2022 to download your copy today. And thanks for listening to the HR Happy Hour Podcast Network and let’s start the show.

Steve 1:33
Welcome to the HR Happy Hour network. We have a great show today, I’m super excited. We are going to be talking with Sarah Beth Todd and Karen Loiterstein from Equifax Workforce Solutions. Both Sarah Beth and Karen are speaking at the upcoming HR Technology Conference which we will talk about some as well. But we’re also going to learn a lot more about what Equifax does for people and for throughout employer services. And it’s a great story and I’ve been friends with the teams at Equifax for a long time and they’ve always stood out to me as being just fantastic people. It’s no exception with our guests today. Let me formally welcome them to the show. First, Sarah Beth Todd is the Pre-sales Leader for the Employer Services at Equifax Workforce Solutions. She’s focused on helping HR leaders solve their complex challenges with innovative solutions and industry data. The pre-sales organization includes technical subject matter experts, and a sales training team that Sara Beth built from the ground up. Sara Beth, welcome to the show. How are you?

Sarah Beth Todd 2:36
Hi, Steve. I’m doing great. Thanks for having me. Excited to chat with you and the listeners today.

Steve 2:41
Yeah, great to have you. Let’s also welcome Karen Loiterstein, the Vertical Marketing Leader for the Employer Services Workforce Solutions division of Equifax. In this role she oversees go to market execution, product marketing and demand generation for the portfolio of solutions. For more than 20 years, Karen has pioneered first of its kind of marketing initiatives, through leadership roles in many nationally recognized companies. Karen, how are you today?

Karen Loiterstein 3:07
I’m doing great, thank you, Steve. Happy to be here.

Steve 3:11
I’m happy you’re both here. Thanks so much. I mentioned at the top I’ve had friends at Equifax for forever. I was a customer of Equifax in a prior lifetime, as well. Everybody knows the Equifax name, I think that’s fairly certain, I’d say for people listening to the show, but they may not know as much as they should, about just how important Equifax is, both in our industry, but also to employers and to people. So maybe we’ll just start there. And I’ll ask Karen to start maybe just give us a little bit of a I don’t know that 30,000 foot kind of overview of Equifax Workforce Services, and what are some of the things that you provide to your employer clients?

Karen Loiterstein 3:55
Thank you, Steve. Yeah, I think when people think about Equifax, they often time thinks they think about the credit bureau. And although that’s certainly a huge part of what we do, we also have an incredible amount of solutions that we offer to HR leaders and organizations. And part of what we do is help them solve critical challenges that they’re facing today. There’s no better time to be an HR. This is also a very challenging time. You know, the admin mountain of work keeps growing. The evolving expectations are putting hiring and retention at risk. And certainly, there’s this vicious cost center cycle that oftentimes HR leaders are in. And so really, our solutions really provide a way for HR leaders like your listeners to really check more of those compliance boxes faster. Really visualize three dimensional employee analytics and simplify the onboarding process for new hires, which I know we’re going to talk a lot about today. And really help, you know, position HR as a value Center, which is I know what every HR leader is really striving for.

Steve 5:23
Karen, thank you so much. Sarah Beth, you’re nodding like Yes. But you also I think, have some comments as well.

Sarah Beth Todd 5:28
Yes, absolutely. That was the perfect tee up, Karen, to really describe, you know, what we do at Workforce Solutions. And then to get a little more specific, we’re really focused on that employee lifecycle from hiring and onboarding to active employees to even at their onboarding the organization. So, you know, under this hiring and onboarding, you know, helping make sure that you’re getting the right candidates in seats. That’s part of it. Another part is, as they’re, as you’ve made the decision to hire your next new employee, what is their onboarding process look like? Look like, you know, it’s so important to make sure that employees first impression of your organization err on the mark while also being in compliance. So, we offer you know, everything from helping you get your I9’s completed, Work Opportunity, Tax Credit screening, state forms, required federal forms, all of these different areas that, as Karen mentioned, are really compliance concerns, their administrative burdens for HR, and it’s easy for teams to get caught up in the weeds of all of those nuances and forget the bigger, more strategic picture. So, you know, from an hiring and onboarding perspective, that’s where we help employers, from an active employee standpoint, though, the work number is is you know, one of our bread and butter, it’s where we started in this space. And that is a verification service that allows for your employees to get instant access to different lines of credit services from government agencies that it takes HR out of being for the tactical middleman and help automate giving employees access to the goods and services that they need.

Sarah Beth Todd 7:29
There’s also Affordable Care Act management, again, another one, that’s just riddled with a number of compliance regulations. And, and so we help employers manage that that process, giving them insight into that process, and unemployment cost management as well. So that’s been a big topic, especially over the last few years and in our organization helps to help employers manage both the the unemployment claims process, as well as the costs associated with that with unemployment. So those are kind of at a high level if I had to bucket it into a few different areas. You know, those are those are the different areas.

Steve 8:11
Yeah, thank you, Karen, and Sarah Beth, for that overview. One thing might just as an observation for me who, you know, did some of this stuff for a while, haven’t done have to haven’t had to deal with it directly in some time. It sounds like a tremendous amount of stuff, right? When you start you’re talking about onboarding and forms and I nines and every state’s got it, they never stopped making up new rules, that’s for sure. And the federal government as well, like, there’s that push to simplify things never seem to really catch on right things that we think to get more complex and on and on and on. Right. So, I mean, you’d have to be really, really optimistic and maybe foolish to think it’s going to get simpler, right for HR and for organizations to remain on top of these compliance issues and these regulations, because it’s never going to get simpler. I don’t expect so yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no, perfect. I know that. It just everybody’s like, Oh my God, it’s the worst. I’ll start with Sarah Beth because you’re talking about this at HR Tech coming up in just a few weeks. That’s hard to believe too, but around onboarding, right, and onboarding is critical, right? Because every organization most people now realize, setting people up for success, in large part is influenced by the onboarding process, both from a, you know, just going through the right process steps, getting the right forms filled out, getting them done in a timely manner, but also some of the other things associated with onboarding like giving them a warm quote unquote, welcome to the organization helping them sort of begin to acclimate, et cetera, et cetera. You’re, you’re talking around some of the, the risks to onboarding and some of the myths around onboarding I’d love for you to maybe give us a little overview of how you guys think about onboarding how you think about helping your clients obviously, support their new employees. One or two of the things you might share with HR tech, but without giving it away, because we want people to come and see you in person talk about this.

Sarah Beth Todd 10:05
Yes, definitely, please do come see us at HR Tech, we’d love to have you in our session on this topic. And on that note, I just want to say how excited I am about HR Tech and looking forward to it. It’s always that banner conference of the year for us, just to attend and meet, you know, people like you and the listeners on the show. So really excited and, and hope to see you all there, come visit us at our booth. You know, when we think about onboarding, I guess, to think about those challenges that Karen referenced, they really fit squarely in with HR leaders onboarding challenges. So it’s constantly monitoring those changing state and federal regulatory regulations, whether it’s specific to an i nine, or if it’s more broad about a state, notice, you know, many states have requirements that they have to show every single new hire, just the monitoring of all of their changing really, regulations is quite a bear for employers or their internal maybe it’s a legal or compliance team. But either way, it’s it’s a big lift on employers. And we all know it more and more employees are working remotely. So it’s been really interesting to see the shift of employers who say, you know, we can start onboarding on day one, when that employee comes into the office, versus, you know, the significant escalated shift over the last few years have more and more employees working virtually, or in that hybrid environment where they may not necessarily be coming on site, and they’re expecting to be able to get to work quickly. They don’t want to wait around to have their paperwork filled out, they don’t want to touch paper, right? They want to do everything digitally. And then, of course, the increase in employee expectations. You know, this, the world that we live in is that is very, where individuals have expectations. And they, they think that their employers should and rightfully so should meet those, those expectations. And so that can result in higher turnover. So what can we do on the front end, to help HR leaders like you retain those employees? So yeah, just to give a little snippet into, you know, some of those myths are one is, you know, compliance and having a differentiated, great employee experience or at odd, I can’t have both.

Steve 12:36
Right, right, because we want to think that oh, compliance just is boring, it’s fill out paperwork, etc, etc, right? And people hate that, right? So you’re saying that can be a myth, right?

Sarah Beth Todd 12:49
Yes, absolutely, or maybe maybe compliance can be, you know, a little boring. But at the same time, you can still meet those requirements by still having a great positive onboarding experience. And, you know, a few ways to be able to do that are connecting your systems together, I you know, we all know that. It’s very common to have multiple different vendors throughout the HR space, even within your onboarding space. So how can you kind of seamlessly connect either through API’s or other integrations, your different systems to help make that process simpler for the employee, but then still hitting those compliance needs, and having a system that helps you stay audit ready, that keeps all of your forms in one location so that you’re, again, hitting those hitting those needs, you’re in compliance, that it looks and feels like a seamless new prior experience for those coming on to the organization?

Steve 13:49
Naturally many people would have said, Oh, my God, it’s staying compliant and filling out all the forms and making sure state and federal forms XYZ are all done. That doesn’t really sound that exciting and all that. But a we know it’s important and be like that’s not at odds with providing a great experience to employees, especially critically, in that that early part of their engagement with the organization. So thank you, Sara Beth, for that. Karen, I want to pivot to you. Because when I was trying to figure out, you know, I want to do some HR Tech shows in the run up to the HR Tech conference, and I was looking through some of our things that we have planned for this year. And the item, the subject you’re going to be talking about stood out to me, because I feel like it’s an important one. And it’s one that’s, critically underserved, both in our industry and by the technology industry more broadly, which is basically how do we better support workers on the front line, whether we call them shift based workers, hourly workers, lower income workers, call them whatever you like. I feel like in many organizations, they’re at 90% of the workforce, and we don’t do enough industry wide. I mean, you at Equifax, they obviously you do because you’re going to be coming to HR Tech to talk about the subject a lot, but one that stands out to me for sure. I’m trying to do more in that area as well, both on the show and some of the other things that we’re doing. Karen, I’d love for you to maybe tell us a little bit about what you’ll be talking about in HR tech, but maybe even more importantly, why it’s an important topic to you personally and or the team at Equifax?

Karen Loiterstein 15:21
Yeah, that’s a that’s a great question. And really great observation, Steve, because, you know, every single part of an employee’s lifecycle really matters. And right now, with so much competition and war for talent, you know, organizations really can’t afford to sacrifice any part of that lifecycle. Especially not for frontline employees, especially because it’s so hard right now to keep great people. And for a lot of these employers that we work with the frontline employees are the reason they exist, right? That that is where the magic happens. And so, you know, with that in mind, what we’re talking about at that session, and a few short weeks here is, you know, how do you really take things that might be seemingly, seemingly little, or seem like very small things, and turn those into really great retention efforts for your lower income employees. A couple things I’ll mention that we’ll be talking about is, in particular, off boarding is a sleeping giant, we believe not a lot of people talk about off boarding in that.

Steve 16:51
Yeah, I’m sorry to interrupt Karen, this. Some either was either on one of the shows, or in some other conversation I was having. And I’m a labor market data geek, just it’s one of my, I’m so boring, that’s like one of my hobbies. And but I was pointing out to this person that, you know, there are 6.5 million new hires every month, right in a good month. And they’re six point some million 6,000,006 point 2 million separations every month in a normal month. So, the offboarding topic, Karen, you’re right on, this is an important and underserved topic as well.

Karen Loiterstein 17:24
Right. And it’s a huge impact for employer brand, which, you know, the word of mouth about how you treat your employees can mean everything. And, you know, with internet access, and social media, you know, organizations can’t afford to have any weakness in any of their lifecycle. And so when we think about onboarding, you know, some of the things that we’re hearing from clients is a is a newfound shift to emphasis on this onboarding process. We’ll be talking about how do you make this onboarding process simplified, and to ensure again, you’re getting that right, compliance solution at that time, so that you don’t put the company at risk, while also having as Sarah Beth mentioned, you can have a great experience while also staying compliant. You do not have to sacrifice one for the other. You know, asking for feedback is so important when an employee separates from your organization. So, you know, how do you make those types of processes turn key as part of your process? The other thing that we’re hearing a lot about are things like alumni groups to make sure that employees stay in touch and stay in touch with the company. And then there’s a lot of boomerangs, especially with frontline workers. How do you ensure that your organization is a place they’ll want to come back to and how they leave means everything. The other thing we’re going to be talking a little bit about, and this is a little a little bit of a sneak peek is we’ll be talking about reemployment. How do you make sure that when someone separates in an involuntary way, how do you make sure that person finds employment as soon as possible, not only because it’s what’s best for that employee to get back to work quickly. But also because you know, it’s what’s best for the organization, the sooner that you aren’t, you know, dealing with the unemployment management costs, and the taxes associated with that, the better off your organization is going to be. So these are topics that are really critical, and can really make an impact on your lower income workers and make a difference for the better.

Steve 19:45
Yeah, great, Karen, thank you for that. I do want to ask about verifications really quickly because Sarah Beth talked about it just briefly, I think a little bit earlier in the show, but I want to I want to swing back around to it again. Not as much the nuts and bolts of how it works, which is obviously critically important and a big part of the services and the Information Services Equifax can provide to employers but also what it means to actual individuals that are impacted by the process and, and how they can benefit from their employer. Right, being able to sort of process these requests accurately one and two in a timely manner. And what that means to the frontline, Karen, the frontline workers and domains, it’s important, everybody, I guess, but I think it can be particularly important to those frontline or perhaps lower income workers.

Karen Loiterstein 20:34
Yeah, so it’s interesting, and I think this conversation is more relevant now than ever. Because at Equifax, we are extremely focused on helping people live their financial best. And what that means, especially in an economy, like the one that we’re entering, whether or not this is a recession, I know, there’s a lot of debate about that right now. You know, we are certainly seeing, you know, there’s there’s market challenges that are undeniable right now. And those do impact impact your employees. So, really, making sure that your employees can have access to credit and aid quickly, is imperative. And it’s an employer’s responsibility when it comes to being able to verify employment. I just saw a statistic the other day that really caught me by surprise, you know, auto applicants are 40% more likely to be funded when lenders use a third party income and employment verification in the decision process. So when you think about that, and even when you think about those lower those lower income employees, they’re really depending on Quick Access and verification, employers if, you know, have the opportunity with the right partner to provide that access quickly. And, you know, that’s a really important part of that employee experience. Do you have anything to add?

Steve 22:14
That’s a great point, Sarah Beth, I’d love for your comments on it as well.

Sarah Beth Todd 22:18
Yeah, absolutely. So and just to Karen did a great job illustrating the impact to the individual employee, or in this case, really, a consumer of goods or even services from government agencies. And then, you know, to tie it back to the employer, you know, especially if we’re looking at these kind of lower income hourly type workers, you know, so that we use an auto example, right. So if that individual does not have that instant access to verify their income and employment, the car dealership isn’t going to turn them away, they want, they want to get that car off the lot, what’s going to happen in a lot of cases is they’ll just give them a higher interest rate, because that individual is a higher risk. And so yes, that’s an impact to the employer themselves. But it’s also an impact to the employer, because now they may be looking to go to an employer across the street where they can get $1 More an hour to be able to afford that, you know, higher payment than what they may have originally been been focused on. So definitely an impact across the board to employers as well as employees and having this this instant access is so critical that to both spectrums there.

Steve 23:33
Yeah, that’s a great point. And as I as I’ve listened to Karen, and now Sarah Beth talk about this issue, and sort of the impact it has on individual people in their lives. And I apologize if Equifax kind of framed it up this way when you talk about it, but to me, this is just another component of kind of employee financial well being right that largely doesn’t get talked about so much like most of the conversations I’ve seen over the last few years around employee financial well being, you get into things like 401 K and retirement and savings plans or maybe even act earned access to pay on a more frequent basis. And those are all great things are important things. And I’m actually glad that the employee financial well being conversations are happening way more than they happen 7, 8, 10 years ago. But this is an important element of it as well. Right? It directly impacts people’s financial well being which Sarabeth made a great point, right, that could have downstream impacts on their employment situation, their stress levels, their overall ability to kind of, you know, be productive, happy, satisfied, not just employees, which is great, but also just members of the, you know, family members and community members as well. And it’s hard sometimes admittedly, right to make that through line between some of these, oh, these really kind of fairly standardized compliance related processes and then turn them into Hey, impact statements, right, what they mean to people, but I think it’s important for organizations for HR leaders for folks attending the show realize, hey, they really are important right? These have a direct impact on the quality of people’s lives. And that’s really what we’re trying to do. Right? We’re trying to both help organizations succeed. But we’re doing that through people, right and having them have the opportunity to be their best selves at work. These are these elements, these elements matter.

Sarah Beth Todd 25:15
Absolutely. Yeah.

Steve 25:18
So what’s next guys? Do we have any kind of things to look forward to? We’ve talked about HR Tech, we touched on both your sessions at HR Tech, that’s great. Any other plans coming up? Once we get through those, the tough summer months, fall is like, kind of everybody gets back to the office, if you will, or back to the home office, if you will, after Labor Day, and anything we can look forward to coming down the road, both ways are related to HR tech, or other things that are happening at AWS coming up.

Karen Loiterstein 25:49
Yeah, well, I’ll go ahead and start and, I know Sarah Beth will have some additions to, you know, two things that we’re very excited about. That, you know, again, we believe little things can make a huge difference to an employer’s employee base. And so with that in mind, we have an identity theft protection solution that can really help an organization to protect their employees and their families. From you know, from identity theft, which is a real threat, you can provide this as part of your benefits package to your employees. And so when you’re thinking about attracting and retaining talent, you know, those types of perks can really make a huge difference. And can add tremendous value in your total compensation package that you’re providing, especially again, and you’ll hear me talk a lot about this, Steve, we’re very passionate about providing that full package to those lower lower income workers. And so this can be a huge difference for them in making sure that they’re protected against things like identity theft, the other thing that is going to be something that we talk a lot about is how we’re really helping the financial well being of the workforce by leveraging data and analytics. And, you know, there’s no shortage of data and analytics out there. But what if HR people could create more targeted programs, you know, more targeted benefit packages and solutions, by looking at the financial wellness of your employees, that’s a huge opportunity as well. If you know that, you know, Hey, your workforce is struggling in a particular area against the industry standard, or other organizations of your size. That’s something that you can really use to sweeten your benefits package, and provide huge value to those employees that you’re serving.

Karen Loiterstein 28:00
So that workforce financial IQ, as we call it, getting smarter about the data analytics piece of how how you’re providing and even coupling that with, you know, medical claims data that you already have, can make a huge difference in what you’re providing.

Steve 28:18
Yeah, I think that’s great. It’s a huge opportunity there, right? It’s another show for like labor market economy, weekly podcast I do. But this bifurcation between kind of, you know, I don’t know, like us cars have gone up, like doubled in price right over a year and rents and mortgages and everything else is through the roof. Yet. We see data all the time about 50, maybe even 60% of the US workforce is kind of just going month to month, right? Check to check to meet the just to get by and certainly just day to day goods and services. Inflation is just, you know, rain havoc on that. So huge opportunity. Karen, I totally agree with you, for employers to to fold in better insights, better technology, better data, right to make better decisions to help their employees. I think that’s pretty awesome. That’s exciting. Sarah Beth, I’ll give you the last word before we look at what are you excited about coming up in the next few months to next year?

Sarah Beth Todd 29:07
So yeah, absolutely. So earlier this year, just a couple months ago, we launched our new off-boarding form solutions. And so this really, you know, there’s their state required separation notices that are required to be delivered to anybody that separating from your organization, regardless of if it’s voluntary or not. And what we’ve learned over the years is just how significant of a challenge this is for employers going back to where we started staying in compliance, managing the HR administration of, of these different forms. And so we launched a brand new solution to help employers manage this process, and it’s been wildly successful and exciting across our organizations. And, you know, so as I look to the future that’s obviously that’s the launch recently. So it’s already been launched. But as I look to the future, I know we’ll continue to look for ways to help employers manage that onboarding process to help provide services to those off boarded employees, to overall help employers with either the compliance, the cost and the administrative burdens of the onboarding piece of that employee lifecycle. So very excited about more things to come there.

Steve 30:28
Thank you, Sara. Beth, I’m not going to tell the story. But what specifics of the story because either I’ll get in trouble or someone else will. But there is a story in my past about I don’t want to say where it was, I definitely want to say that but like some new regulations came down the pike. They weren’t around separations, they were around wage theft, they were wage theft related. And there was definitely discussions that a place that was that, like the complexity to the systems that we had to change them in order to sort of be compliant with the reporting requirements, etc, etc. Versus what if we just paid the fine, you know, and just didn’t do it? Right. And there was definitely meetings like I participated in where that was the discussion, and it shouldn’t be. That’s my point, like our systems should have been reactive to our partners that we were using to supply us with the information we needed should have been there for us, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, right? Instead of, let’s just pay the fine, we just won’t do it. Right. So anyway, that’s a story for another day, probably.

Steve 31:24
All right. This has been really, really fun. I want to thank Sarah Beth Todd, and Karen Loiterstein, both from Equifax, for joining me today for part one of our three part series, and the next several weeks, sort of prepping us talk about HR technology, talk about some of the issues that are impacting in organizations and their people, right and sort of tease a little bit about what’s coming up the HR Tech conference. I can’t wait to see you guys out in HR Tech in just a few short weeks. I’m excited. And thank you again, Sarah Beth and Karen, for joining us.

Karen Loiterstein 31:52
Thank you, Steve.

Sarah Beth Todd 31:53
Thank you, Steve. Excited to be here.

Steve 31:55
Awesome. All right. Well, I want to thank everybody at Equifax for being such great friends and partners over the years. Thank you for listening to the show, of course, and reminder, you can learn all about our show at or wherever you get your podcasts and we’ll see out at the HR Tech conference this fall in Las Vegas. For our guests, Karen and Sarah Beth, my name is Steve Boese. Thank you so much for listening. We will see you next time.

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