9 Ways to Make Benefits Administration Easier (An HR Checklist)

Benefits administration can involve a lot of paperwork. Here are some helpful tips to make the benefits administration process easier to manage.

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From health insurance coverage to paid vacation time, figuring out how to manage employee benefits can be such a struggle.

In fact, more than a third of HR’s time is usually spent on admin work. You need to be able to pull up an employee’s data at any point beyond the onboarding process, such as preparing for audits and any potential unexpected issues that could pop up. But even worse than organizational woes, a poorly organized benefits administration system can incur fines and other penalties.

Who has time to do it all, especially in a small business that already has enough going on?

Regardless of whether or not your HR team is a single person or a handful, you’re going to want to be organized. You have enough on your plate, so why not consider automating the process?

After all, human resources are about more than the time-consuming process of organizing employee documents. Your HR department should be focused on high-value tasks, such as evaluating emerging trends, finding ways to boost employee engagement and retention, and discovering cost-effective benefits packages.

To keep everything straight, it can help to have an efficient benefits administration workflow.

9 tips for an efficient benefits administration workflow

The fact is, benefits programs are rarely small and easily tucked away in a filing cabinet. On top of basic employee information, such as payroll, you’ll need to keep track of medical insurance, vision insurance, disability insurance, retirement accounts, life insurance, worker’s compensation, parental leave, remote work options, and types of benefits, you’ll also need to ensure that all of this information is stored in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant way.

You’ll also need a way to convey information about your benefits plans and perks. This includes detailed information on what kind of insurance coverage you offer, how to use each benefit, and what benefits will follow team members in case of their termination.

Streamlining these tasks isn’t impossible, but it can take some time to map out your processes and make them more efficient. To help out, we’ve created a list of 9 tips to get you going.

1. Use an end-to-end platform

First things first, get a benefits administration software that caters to everything you need.

First things first, get a benefits administration software that caters to everything you need. It may sound excessive, but you’ll thank yourself later when you only have one platform to deal with.

However, this doesn’t mean you need a platform that has every feature imaginable. What it should be able to do is:

  • Keep track of company policies
  • Collect data on how many people are using their benefits
  • Notify you and potential participants of deadlines
  • Offer a readily available guide on each benefit and how to use it
  • Store employee data securely and compliantly

An end-to-end platform will end up saving you both time and money in the long run.

2. Shop and select the right benefits

There are obviously two sides to your benefits offerings. One is providing a competitive package to attract top talent. The second is your company’s budget.

That’s why a digital marketplace provided on the platform is the way to go. The business can choose packages based on not only employee needs, but business needs as well. There’s also no need to deal with brokers or carriers when using a digital marketplace.

While employees are interested in the best package for them, they’re not definitely not looking to have their inbox spammed. By keeping everything online in one place, it’s easier to compare plans, figure out what’s affordable, and make a truly informed decision.

3. Digitize your carrier and plan information

Digitizing plans not only helps employees stay on track, it helps them process the information in a much more friendly and efficient way.

It can be extremely overwhelming to compare plans and decide on the best one. Employees need to be able to compare what different plans offer, such as deductibles or copays. Digitizing plans not only helps employees stay on track, it helps them process the information in a much more friendly and efficient way.

Once an employee has chosen the plan they would like, a simple click in the system will not only sign them up for these benefits but keep human resources in the loop.

4. Use self-service for employee eligibility

Government regulations, such as the ACA and HIPAA, require a lot of paperwork. With so many rules to remember, having to navigate everything can be exhausting, for both HR and the employees.

You’ll want to have a platform for streamlining benefits eligibility. Digital platforms can help since they typically use an employee self-service model to keep the process simple.

5. Streamline company contributions

Employees are not the only ones who have to worry about paying things such as deductibles. The company may have to as well, and remembering every employee’s choice for plans is a monotonous task.

Instead, simply automate the contributions to streamline the process. The right digital benefits platform may also provide customizable options from the employee side while ensuring that all contributions are compliant.

The right digital benefits platform may also provide customizable options from the employee side while ensuring that all contributions are compliant.

6. Automate Open Enrollment (OE)

The dreaded Open Enrollment period: Every year in the fall, employees flock to HR to choose, cancel, or change their healthcare plan. This is not only stressful for unsatisfied employees, it’s also a nightmare for HR trying to keep track of it all.

Automating this process can save you a lot of time and help streamline the process for both HR and the employees. The system will make sure that employees are able to get information needed to compare plans on the platform and help them make an informed decision. All HR has to do is tell the system when OE will begin and the platform can take care of the rest.

7. Use your data

There are times when an employee or a third party will need to request copies of sensitive information. Perhaps it’s for taxes or other formal reports such as a census. Regardless, having all material in one place makes it much easier to take the information without having to struggle with everything manually over and over again. This can prevent a large amount of unnecessary overtime, saving the company money and HR time to spend on things besides admin.

8. Avoid irrelevant information

With so much to remember, it can be too easy on our own to create an imperfect system that has too many categories of information. This can create a database with irrelevant information that ends up confusing more than it does helping in the reporting process.

Relying on the platform instead ensures that only the relevant information will be filled out and reported on. Use reports to prevent information overload while still reviewing key metrics. Overly complex dashboards can also result in employee dissatisfaction and frustration, so don’t forget to customize your dashboard for the KPIs you want to focus on.

9. Automatically file federal forms

There are numerous issues with manual filing. On top of being time consuming and expensive, filling out the wrong information can cost the company either time making corrections or even in penalties.

If you’ve already moved to a digital platform, extracting the necessary information from the data lake is much quicker. Furthermore, the system can autofill forms, making filing a painless process.

Get more tips on benefits administration

Benefits administration is one of the most important responsibilities for HR professionals, but it shouldn’t monopolize your time. To learn more about how you can streamline your process, check out our free guide here.

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