Super Stapling – are you ready?

Under the Your Future, Your Super reforms employers will be required to check with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) online to find a new starter’s existing super account and pay contributions into it except where the employee has nominated a different account. This is called ‘stapling’ and we fully support its aim – to prevent multiple super accounts from being created for employees during their career. But we are also concerned about the additional administrative burden it places on employers, particularly given the timeframe involved, which will see stapling come into effect on 1 November 2021.

The ATO has signaled this process will become automated from 1 July 2022, but this has left employers wondering how they can reduce the administrative requirement in the interim. This is particularly important for employers with high hiring volumes.

How other employers manage their onboarding

In light of the changes, we have been talking to employers about their current onboarding processes and how they are preparing for the change. We have found companies are managing their onboarding with different levels of sophistication and integration. For the digitally enabled, there was a higher degree of integration between systems which will reduce the requirement for manual data entry. For others, manual and print-based processes still formed part of the onboarding journey.

As Sriram Bhargav, Head of AI & Automation for technology company observes, “Companies with traditional onboarding processes, heavy with paperwork and legacy systems, will have to rethink their approach in the face of a new requirement like stapling. There is significant opportunity to automate manual and repetitive tasks provided you have the right solutions in place.”

Every employer we have talked to has some form of technology solution to manage recruitment and onboarding, but differences emerged when we looked at the processes behind the technology. The integration of onboarding and payroll systems is a case in point. Most of the employers we’ve spoken to use different providers for their payroll and onboarding needs. For some, their onboarding technology integrates directly into their payroll system, but for others there is no integration which requires manual input by payroll teams.

Horses for courses – but all employers are on the same racetrack when it comes to stapling

As you would expect, the size of companies and available resources will influence the sophistication of onboarding solutions and the degree of automation. While it isn’t a level playing field, all employers will face the same requirement to comply with stapling, which is why we are encouraging discussion now.

Remember, there will be a period before the ATO’s automated solution becomes available, during which time employers will be required to contact the ATO every time a new employee starts to confirm whether they have a stapled fund.

The question is, can this administrative requirement be streamlined in the interim?

An automated solution to bridge the gap?

Sriram believes employers should consider automation platforms as a means to confirm super fund details from the ATO and provide the required data to their onboarding and payroll systems.

“Robotic process automation (RPA) will become mainstream in Australian companies quicker than you might think. Stapling is a perfect example of potential application. This is a workflow-based requirement where the transfer of data from one system to another could be automated and the data validated, saving time and reducing errors. That’s exactly what RPA is designed to do – remove the burden of high volume and repetitive rules-based tasks.”

Sriram points out that data security will be a key consideration for any automated solution, as will the ease of technical integration with existing onboarding and payrolling systems.

All roads should lead to an improved member experience

Stapling will force employers to rethink the fund selection component of their onboarding experience, but the bigger objective is how to help employees engage with their super to make the most of their stapled fund.

At Rest, we recently conducted detailed research into the member experience to better understand how people would like to be supported with their super during the onboarding process. One of the key insights was a preference to be supported in stages – from when they first sign up to receiving their first contribution and beyond.

We are using these valuable insights to refine our onboarding process so we can better support employers and deliver value to our members.

We’re here to help your employees with their super

At Rest, we fully support the Your Future, Your Super reforms aimed at preventing the creation of unintended multiple super accounts. But these reforms place significant new requirements on employers and given the due date for stapling coming into effect on 1 November 2021, we encourage businesses to consider the changes and how best to adapt their onboarding processes.

For employees to make the most of their stapled fund, they need to be engaged with their super – from their first job right through their career, wherever that may take them. Rest assured, we will continue to work with employers to be part of this solution so our members can achieve their personal best retirement.