To most, this statement is worth celebrating. But, to any HR professional, this statement probably reads (and begrudgingly so), “More work.”
The fact of the matter is that with a great benefits program comes a great amount of benefits administration responsibility. All of this falls onto HR and adds to their (likely) already unmanageable kitchen sink of other to-dos and time-consuming tasks.
So, here’s the Catch-22 — How can you possibly offer competitive employee benefits if your HR does not have the bandwidth to take on the additional responsibility of manual benefits administration?
To that, consider a modern solution — By using benefits administration software.
Here at Combined, we have helped countless employers, just like you, adopt innovative approaches to solving a variety of HR problems. We want to help you do the same.
In this article, we will discuss 5 common challenges HR experiences when managing employee benefits and how using benefits administration software can effectively solve each of them.
What is benefits administration software?
Benefits administration software is a powerful tool that helps businesses save time and money by organizing their benefits administration processes. It is a configurable technology platform that makes managing employee benefits easier and more efficient.
Benefits administration software centralizes all important benefits information onto a single dashboard, allowing HR to automate tasks like:
benefits cost tracking
5 HR Problems That Benefits Administration Software Can Solve
Benefits administration software is an effective tool for benefits management.
Let's examine specific problems HR professionals have with manual benefits administration and how software solves them.
Here are 5 benefits administration problems that software can help your HR navigate.
1. Problem: Disorganized benefits management
No matter the search engine, you will find that benefits administration software streamlines benefits management — But, what exactly does that mean?
To answer this question, think about this article — My best guess is that you are reading it on the screen of a computer or a mobile device.
While reading these words, you have the ability to open another window, review your calendar, send an email, and even check what the weather will look like later this evening so you can, also on the same screen, make a timely reservation at an appropriate dinner spot (not to mention, peruse the menu so that you’re ready to order when you arrive).
Could you say the same if these words were printed in a newspaper? No! In this scenario, multi-tasking while reading this article, would require a separate calendar, a separate email interface, a separate outlet to get a weathercast, need I go on?
Solution: Streamlined benefits management
In the same way that the computer or mobile device you are reading this article on allows you to tackle multiple tasks, benefits administration software connects benefits management in one place. In doing so, it provides HR with the ability to accomplish a variety of different tasks without requiring separate means of performing them.
Let’s take another look at that long list of tasks that benefits administration software connects and can automate for HR:
benefits cost tracking
Removing any sort of integration or automation from the process of managing these benefits tasks is the equivalent of HR using a method as archaic as a newspaper to complete them.
2. Problem: Complicated open enrollment
For HR, open enrollment is like a Black Friday sale.
During a short two-week window, every single employee at a business has the opportunity to enroll, change, or waive their benefits and, all at once, needs HR to coordinate it.
You can imagine, then, that the annual open enrollment period can be a frenzy leading to errors and mistakes. Especially without an organized system for HR to manage mass notifications, interspersed employee communications, carrier connections, and lengthy paper applications. Not to mention, the time spent going back and forth with employees to fill in missing information.
Solution: Simplified open enrollment
Benefits administration software allows each of these enrollment tasks to be performed accurately and completed manageably in one place, turning the chaos pictured above into a systematic operation.
With it — having the capacity for automated communications, application processing, and more — the time HR spends facilitating open enrollment (as well as the stress typically associated with it) will be drastically reduced.
And all that time spent filling in paperwork with missing information can now be automated. In fact, with benefits administration software, employees may be restricted from enrollment unless they completely fill out all their electronic forms (That's a total game changer).
3. Problem: Difficulty with benefits compliance
Regulating compliance is a continuous job (Don’t believe me? Ask any HR professional).
Because compliance laws are in a constant state of flux, making sure company policies are up to date and in line with federal, state, and local mandates is not only challenging but incredibly time-consuming. In fact, in a recent UpCounsel survey, 64% of HR managers agreed that the large majority of compliance issues are caused by a lack of time and resources.
This is where manual benefits administration poses a problem for HR — employee benefits are highly regulated and managing benefits plans, within compliance constraints, is no small feat.
Solution: Ease ensuring benefits compliance
Benefits administration software, however, comes equipped with compliance tools to help keep HR teams updated so that necessary adjustments can always be made quickly and easily.
For most employees, benefits are confusing. Even if they do understand the plan they want to select, without help from HR, enrolling in it can be their own personal mission impossible (And viewing, updating, and modifying enrollment information extends into a series of impossible missions).
Because of this, HR becomes the middleman between employees and their benefits. For HR, this role means fielding a barrage of questions, handling paperwork galore, and ultimately, spending hours upon hours doing benefits upkeep.
Solution: Employee self-service provided
Benefits administration software removes this middleman role by providing employees direct access to user-friendly, self-service options where they can view benefits information, enroll in their desired plan, and make necessary adjustments on their own.
In doing so, it prevents HR from being inundated with administrative tasks and frees their time to focus on other important initiatives.
5. Problem: Benefits data disorder
If you’ve ever done your own taxes, you know that the process of compiling the necessary forms, transferring all information correctly, and ensuring accurate reporting is critical, even though it can be a difficult job (If it weren’t, accountants would be out of luck).
Reporting benefits data is as critical to a business as taxes and, when done manually, it can also be overwhelming. The process of gathering, managing, and transferring benefits data by hand into legally required reports leaves room for HR to make mistakes and poses the risk of costly compliance violations.
Solution: Consolidated benefits data
Benefits administration software not only centralizes data storage but also minimizes reporting errors by reducing manual data entry, making this once monumental HR job seem minuscule.
This organized benefits data can also allow HR to develop valuable insights into employee participation, cost management, and benefits trends — using these insights, HR can monitor, modify, and maximize the success of an employee benefits program.
Benefits administration software — Is it the right solution for you?
If you are here, you want to assemble the best benefits program for your employees and your business. But, you also know that benefits administration is a big job.
We are here because we want you to be able to offer competitive employee benefits without over-amplifying your HR team’s workload. Here at Combined, we have helped countless employers integrate benefits administration software as a means to do just that.
In this article, you learned what benefits administration software is and how it can solve many of the problems HR encounters when managing employee benefits.
Want more information? To learn more about benefits administration software, visit our HCM solutions page.
If you need HR assistance, you may find these additional resources helpful: