participants themselves. Increasingly,
participants have come to expect real-time
access to a wide variety of information.
Adoption of APIs is on the rise. As of
early 2017, there were more than 18,000
public APIs.1 Industry observers estimate
that there are also millions of private APIs
across large enterprises globally, and that
many additional firms will embrace API
technology over the coming years. 2
Q: What emerging technologies are likely to have the greatest
impact on HR effectiveness and business
A: Managing an active employee database and making sure that data
are up to date can be challenging. Using
APIs, companies can sync key data points
with benefit plan providers. For example,
APIs enable organizations to perform real-time tax calculations, as employees are
increasingly mobile, which can connect HR
information systems, equity compensation
providers and tax providers in a single
unified process flow. In this way, nearly all
company systems can remain current and
in sync. Just as importantly, employees can
benefit by accessing real-time information
on provider websites, statements and
APIs become even more powerful
when they’re pulled from multiple benefit
provider systems via a single call. This allows
companies to integrate, benchmark and
view metrics across platforms in real time.
Q: How can HR departments ensure a smooth and successful
implementation and execution of new HR
A: API programs require a disciplined organizational approach and
commitment to the technology. One
approach is to establish a group solely
dedicated to deploying API technology.
Additional suggestions for improving the
• Be strategic about the order in which
odds of successful API execution:
• Start small. Put your energy into
building the foundation and identifying
your greatest efficiencies. It’s not critical to
implement APIs with every benefit provider
on day one.
you share data.
• Find the right provider. If you’re building
APIs to integrate with external systems,
identify a technology provider with similar
objectives, system capabilities and resources.
• Document the policies and procedures
for the program. You will grow over time
and so will your APIs. Make sure you have
documentation to source as you expand
your organization’s APIs.
APIs are a critical part of the
infrastructure that has powered businesses
and given rise to the technology revolution.
We believe HR organizations can tap the
power of APIs to increase efficiency and
improve the overall HR experience.
Craig Rubino is a Director at E*TRADE Financial
Corporate Services, Inc. (E*TRADE). This
commentary contains current opinions from
E*TRADE Financial Corporation and its affiliates,
which are subject to change without notice.
E*TRADE is not affiliated with Human Resource
Executive® and all commentary is owned solely by
In connection with stock plan solutions offered
by E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc.,
E*TRADE Securities LLC provides brokerage services
to stock plan participants.
E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. and
E*TRADE Securities LLC are separate but affiliated
Q: Where should HR leaders be focusing their HR technology
investment in the next 12 to 24 months?
A: We believe application programming interfaces, are the next big thing in
the HR world. They have been around since
the 1960s and are fundamental to the digital
experience by allowing different applications
to communicate with each other. For
example, travel aggregator websites use
APIs to gather information from individual
sites about air fares, available hotel dates or
rental car availability.
In an HR context, APIs simplify processes
and reduce the challenges of syncing
employee data across multiple systems.
Many companies that have implemented
APIs are looking to reduce costs by
connecting key data points and unifying
the flow of data. APIs can also help HR
organizations optimize benefit plan
programs and simplify the experience for the
participant. Organizations often use multiple
providers to support employee benefits and
being able to aggregate all that data into
one participant dashboard is key.
The real-time capabilities of APIs are
crucial for managing equity compensation,
deferred compensation and 401(k)
programs—not only for internal data
management purposes but also for
ON HR TECHNOLOGY
&ACraig Rubino, Director,
1 Santos, Wendell. Programmable Web API directory eclipses 17,000 as API economy continues to surge.;Programmable Web. 2017. https://www.programmableweb.
2 Calabro L, Purpura C, Vasa V,; Perinkolam A. API imperative: From IT concern to business mandate. Deloitte Insights. 2017. https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/