New Survey Finds Electronic Age Brings Results, Risks

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Electronic technology, including widespread computer availability and online communication, has had a desirable effect on several business outcomes, according to a recent survey by WorldatWork and Buck Consultants. Nearly three out of four organizations responded that electronic communication practices have improved administrative efficiency, and over half report reduced costs and enhanced employee satisfaction.

Electronic technology, including widespread computer availability and online communication, has had a desirable effect on several business outcomes, according to a recent survey by WorldatWork and Buck Consultants. Nearly three out of four organizations responded that electronic communication practices have improved administrative efficiency, and over half report reduced costs and enhanced employee satisfaction.

The survey, completed by WorldatWork members representing 530 of North America’s largest companies, examined the prevalence and impact of electronic tools and communication practices. The study is an expansion of electronic communication surveys conducted in 2001 and 2003, and provides updated perspectives on practices and usage. Respondents included compensation and human resources professionals from diverse industries.

“The survey revealed some dramatic trends regarding Web site and intranet content,” said Scot Marcotte, Principal with Buck Consultants. “Nearly nine of ten employers now provide benefits information on-line, up from only 24 percent in 2001. On-line links to vendors increased from 18 percent to 78 percent over that same period, and e-learning programs grew from 17 percent to 71 percent.”

“Today’s employers have created an information and communication explosion,” stated Anne Ruddy, President of WorldatWork. “The electronic age has streamlined business operations, bolstered internal communications, and made flexible work arrangements, like telecommuting, viable options for employees.”

“Our survey found that employers place a high priority on the development and enhancement of electronic communications,” added Marcotte. “Thirty-six percent of respondents say it is among their highest priorities.”

How prevalent are electronic tools in the workplace? Not surprisingly, the survey demonstrates that today’s employees operate in a wired work environment. Nine out of ten survey participants provide online access to a majority of their employees, and 64 percent report their employees rely on Web sites and intranets for information, tools and applications essential to their work. What’s more, 80 percent of multinationals communicate using a global intranet.

While electronic tools have generated some positive outcomes for employers and employees, the technology also poses some new threats. “Employees can rely on electronic tools to enhance their job performance, but they could also use the same tools to detract from productivity,” stated Ruddy. According to the survey results, 50 percent of participants have witnessed employees abusing electronic communications for personal use.

In order to prevent electronic abuses, a majority of survey respondents have developed policies defining permissible conduct at work. Ninety-five percent of participants expressly prohibit transmitting, viewing or storing offensive material, 76 percent discourage personal emails, and 70 percent ban non-work related web surfing. “Technology is not going to slow down. More than 70 percent of the organizations in this study report their use of electronic practices is growing and that number is only going to get bigger,” said Ruddy. “Employers will need to continue to find ways to maximize the value and manage the risk.”

For further information or for a complimentary copy of the full survey report, please contact Jeffrey Kros at 480-922-2027 or via e-mail, or Ed Gadowski at Buck Consultants at 201-902-2825.

About WorldatWork®

WorldatWork is the world's leading not-for-profit professional association dedicated to knowledge leadership in compensation, benefits and total rewards. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork focuses on human resources disciplines associated with attracting, retaining and motivating employees. Besides serving as the membership association of the professions, the WorldatWork family of organizations provides education, certification (Certified Compensation Professional - CCP®, Certified Benefits Professional - CBPTM and Global Remuneration Professional - GRP®), publications, knowledge resources, surveys, conferences, research and networking. WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals and Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP) are part of the WorldatWork family.

About Buck Consultants

Buck Consultants, an ACS company, is a leader in human resource and benefits consulting with more than 1,500 professionals worldwide. Founded in 1916 to advise clients in establishing and funding some of the nation’s first public and private retirement programs, Buck is an innovator in the areas of retirement benefits, health and welfare programs, human resource management, compensation and employee communication. News and other information about Buck Consultants is available at http://www.buckconsultants.com. Buck is an independent subsidiary of Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.

ACS, a FORTUNE 500 company with more than 50,000 people supporting client operations in nearly 100 countries, provides business process and information technology outsourcing solutions to world-class commercial and government clients. The Company's Class A common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ACS." ACS makes technology work. Visit ACS on the Internet at http://www.acs-inc.com.

The statements in this news release that do not directly relate to historical facts constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside the Company's control. As such, no assurance can be given that the actual events and results will not be materially different than the anticipated results described in the forward-looking statements. Factors could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. For a description of these factors, see the Company’s prior filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent filing. ACS disclaims any intention or obligation to revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future event, or otherwise.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Jeff Kros