Employee benefits administration software assists businesses in managing benefits as a strategic resource instead of just an administrative function. It enables companies to compare various plans, assess their effectiveness, and ultimately optimize their overall costs. However, with so many benefits management software solutions vendors present in the market, how do you choose the right one for your business? In this blog, we’ll discuss the key points that you should consider to choose the right benefits technology solution provider for your business.
But before that, let’s first look at:
Why Invest in Employee Benefits Software?
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers spent an average of $12.07 per hour per employee on employee benefits. That is 35 percent of the total per hour spending by employers on their workforce. Clearly, the rising cost of healthcare and benefits is becoming a major concern for employers.
So, let’s look at the four ways employee benefits software can help optimize your business costs:
Improved Administration Efficiency: Benefits administration is a complex task that often requires multiple systems (like HRIS, payroll, and employee self service software ) and stakeholders. The presence of a centralized benefits management platform empowers your team to manage different plans, set rules, entitlements, and more from one place.
Improve Benefits Engagement: Healthcare and employee benefits are two burning cost centers for businesses. Therefore, it is crucial that your employees get the maximum value out of their benefits packages and appreciate the investment your business has put in. Digital benefits platforms optimize benefits communication in your business to elevate employee participation and engagement.
Optimize Benefits Costs: Benefits software comes with automated reporting, administration, and analytics capabilities, which makes it a compelling cost-savings solution. The software regularly tracks the enrollments to identity the popular plan choices among your workforce. It allows enables employees to validate their spending, ensuring brokers don’t overcharge them. Lastly, it also saves costs by eliminating manual, paper-based processes, that are error-prone, long, and tedious.
Higher Accuracy: Digital benefits platforms automates the benefits lifecycle, from shopping to enrollment and billing. All employee data is available in a centralized place with instant access options. Further, employee benefit interactions from enrollment to benefits selection are recorded, making data audits hassle-free. This eliminates manual work and costly errors.
Now that you’ve got a clear understanding of the employee benefits software and how it can benefit your business, let’s look at the
Checklist for choosing the benefits administration software vendor for your business:
Assess Your Technology Needs
Before you hunt for a vendor, make sure you know what you expect out from the solution. This simply means conducting a detailed analysis of your current and future employee benefits needs. During your assessment, you can focus on:
- Review the existing benefits administration systems and processes.
- Identify the gaps, loopholes, bottlenecks, and weaknesses in your existing benefits and HR software solutions.
- Gather viewpoints and opinions of employees who currently use the benefits solutions in your business (HR/benefits staff, managers, and employees)
- Finalize the budget for the technology solution. When making a decision, take inputs from your HR leaders regarding the total value the new solution is likely to add in your business
Build Vs. Buy Decision
Once you’re ready to invest in a digital benefits platform, the next step is choosing between a custom-built and a ready-made SaaS solution vendor. Both solution vendors have their unique advantages and disadvantages. One can be better than the other depending on the needs of your business.
When you have unique benefits needs and are operating in niche markets or industries, it is ideal to opt for a custom solution vendor. Custom benefits tools can be programmed to integrate with your existing HR, time tracking, and online payroll software solutions without additional investment.
On the other hand, when you don’t have specific business needs, you can opt for a SaaS solution vendor. Such solutions are ideal for small and mid-sized businesses because of their lower upfront costs, ease of installation, and flexible pricing options. In fact, off-the-shelf benefits administration software like Accomplish EP also provides customization options.
Check Essential Benefits Technology Features
Check whether the benefits solution offered by your vendor has all the necessary features or not. Some of the crucial features you should consider includes:
- Benefits dashboard: for viewing benefits data visualizations and updates in one place.
- Mobile App: for any time, anywhere aces to benefits information.
- Data-driven Cost Estimation: for calculating employee out-of-pocket costs
- Enrollment Support Services: for benefits plan assistance over call, email, or chat.
- Automated billing and payment: for reconciling benefits enrolment and billing data
- IRS Reporting: for benefits coverage reporting.
- Eligibility Monitoring: for tracking employee eligibility throughout the year
- Reporting and Analytics: to drill-down into the details of key benefits metrics.
Also check whether the offered solution seamlessly integrates with your HR, payroll, and time tracking software tools. Request for tools that improve communication between managers and employees. Also, look for additional features like EDI for carrier management, 401(K) support, benefits benchmarking, HR analytics software tools, etc.
Check whether your potential benefits technology vendor has multiple pricing models or not. What additional costs you might need to pay when you implement their solution. Integration offered with third-party service providers often incurs additional charges. So, ask your potential vendor about the free add-ons and discounts they can offer on annual subscriptions. Also, check whether their discounted or free product comes with some kind of restrictions or not.
Inquire about the Implementation TimeFrame
Besides checking software functionality, pricing, and free addons, you should inquire about the implementation timeframe from your vendor. Ask whether they or a third-party will perform the integration. What kind of issues you might face during implementation and what are the potential solutions? And, how long the process will take. Does your vendor have secured relationships with benefits brokers who can provide strategic advice to you? Will the vendor handle ongoing system maintenance activities? These are some questions you should definitely ask your employee benefits software provider. Additionally, you should also inquire about measures that are taken to ensure data security and privacy. It is really important for you to ensure confidentially while exchanging sensitive health information of your employees.
Customer Reviews and Satisfaction Level
Reach out to existing clients of your chosen vendor to check the quality of services offered. Are they satisfied with the level of support offered? How long it takes to get a response from the customer success team? Does the software function well while performing routine tasks? Are there any lag or system errors while uploading or downloading critical information. These questions will help you get clarity in terms of the practical usability of the software. You can also investigate the steps that are taken by your HR software solution provider to maintain customer satisfaction.
Prepare a Request for Proposal
After finalizing a group of vendors, you can send a request for a proposal to each vendor. Sending such a proposal forces you to define your objectives clearly. And, also gives an ideal platform for comparing the functionality, pricing, support, and implementation methodology of each vendor. While the proposal can be short or long, it should clearly define your goals and requirement. Ideally, your request for proposal should contain the following:
- A brief description of your company, including mission statement and goals
- The reason behind your proposal (e.g., to obtain details regarding vendor service offerings, products, customer service, etc.)
- Obstacles hampering your business workflow. It can be both technological (lack of certain features in existing tools) and administrative (e.g., manual processes, poor team coordination, etc.)
- Details regarding proposal submission deadline
- POC details for questions regarding your proposal
- An array of open-ended questions regarding vendor’s strengths and weaknesses
With increasing regulations around healthcare, benefits administration will become even more complicated in the future. By choosing a reliable benefits technology vendor, you can turn your benefits programs into a competitive advantage. It allows you to craft attractive benefits packages for your workforce without additional costs and efforts. Providing high-quality health and wellness benefits also enables you to attract and retain top talent, and improve overall business performance.