The employee benefits landscape has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. For starters, a great many employers are delving beyond core benefits – such as health insurance and retirement plan – to offer an assortment of choices and more customized options. As a result, benefits administration has gotten much more multifaceted, making manual processing an infeasible practice.
Even smaller companies that can only afford to offer one or two benefits are finding it untenable to manage benefits on paper.
It’s no surprise then that more and more employers are automating their benefits processes to save time and money. Before we get into how that outcome can be achieved, lets look at some of whats typically involved in benefits administration.
- New hire onboarding
- Open enrollment
- Benefit elections
- Employee notifications
- Life event changes
- Monitoring eligibility
- Salary changes
- Cost Management
- Plan audits
Just thinking about performing each of those responsibilities on paper for every benefit provided is enough to trigger a headache. A more efficient solution is to invest in benefits software that automates tasks connected to those areas, thereby drastically cutting time and cost. Here are six advantages of this approach.
- It costs only about $22 when an employee self-enrolls in benefits online, as opposed to around $110 when the HR staff manually enrolls the employee, according to CFO.com. That’s roughly 80 percent in savings. All the employee has to do is log in to the self-service platform, compare plan options, and make elections. This eliminates costs related to paper, printing, and postage.
- An online benefits system can reduce open enrollment time from 6-8 weeks to just 3-4 weeks. Think about it: you don’t have to spend time mailing or hand-delivering paper forms to employees, you don’t have to wait for employees to return the forms to you, you don’t have to try to make sense of illegible handwriting, and you don’t have to waste time calling or emailing for clarification.
- Studies show that allowing employees to self-manage benefits results in time savings of 15 percent for the HR staff, since less time is spend addressing employee questions and concerns. For instance, employees can track their available time off and make PTO requests through the system instead of having to contact their manager or HR. The manager can then approve or deny the request. It’s all quick and painless.
- Integrating HR, benefits, and payroll functions into one unified system eliminates duplicate data entry, which reduces data entry errors and employee frustration while making everything easier to access and manage.
- Through its comprehensive reporting features, an automated platform gives you real insight into benefits transactions. For example, instead of slogging through mountains of paperwork to find information, you can simply command the system to produce the necessary reports. And whereas paper is susceptible to being lost or misplaced, an automated system stores current and historical benefits data – which can be retrieved in no time.
- Lastly, there’s compliance. Check out virtually any list of HR mistakes that can cost employers a ton of money and you’re likely to see issues relevant to compliance at the top. It’s therefore essential that your benefits practices are in compliance. Unfortunately, the laws relating to employee benefits are vast and complex, occurring on a federal and state level. For instance, there’s ERISA, IRC, ACA, HIPAA, ADA, EEOC, and state paid leave laws. Fortunately, you can avoid noncompliance – and associated fines and penalties – by automating your benefits processes.