Benefits open enrollment season can be a hectic time for any company. New employees need to enroll to avoid penalties and all of the employees have the option to switch plans. If these tasks are done manually by the HR department, it can be burdensome and error-ridden. Using a HRIS for employee benefits management can help ensure accuracy and also relieve a huge HR burden.
What Is Benefits Management Software?
Benefits management systems are software solutions that handle the management of a company’s benefits program. These benefits can include health insurance, paid time off, parental leave, vacation, retirement accounts, and any other schemes your company offers to your employees. Benefits management software is often a part of a larger HRIS solution.
Why Should a Business Use Benefits Management Software?
Using a HRIS to assist with benefits open enrollment allows employees to relieve some of the burden on HR by giving them the option to perform certain tasks on their own, at their leisure. Some HR guidance is still advisable during open enrollment, but a HRIS can save HR professionals a lot of time and trouble. The following are a few ways that HRIS can be used for open enrollment.
Employees Can Research Plans
Many employers and even carriers offer several different plans, with different premium price points and offerings. In some cases, the premiums may vary based on age and health factors. Looking through a brochure or at a table that displays the different offerings and prices can become confusing. A HRIS can simplify research by showing employees only what is applicable to them based on information that is already in the system.
More Ways to Enroll
Using online resources can help mitigate some of the paperwork that comes with enrolling in benefits manually. Employees that don’t feel comfortable using the HRIS to enroll still have the option to enroll manually, however. Adding HRIS options will open up new ways to enroll, so employees have options and aren’t simply forced to do things one way.
Assistance with Filling in Fields
Benefits enrollment can be confusing, even for the most seasoned employee. It’s easy to miss a field or forget to make changes when there is a new dependent or a dependent ages out of a plan. A HRIS can be set to automatically fill in fields based on information that already exists in the system, saving employees time and helping to mitigate errors.
Reports to Assist with Compliance
Compliance reporting can be difficult when done manually. A HRIS captures information as it is entered and changed, so there is no need to rifle through paperwork to figure out who is enrolled or to manually enter data into a chart for reporting. Most HRIS solutions come with standardized reporting capabilities, so compliance reporting can be achieved with just a few clicks.
If an error ever occurs or is suspected, HRIS can make it easy to perform an audit. Reporting functionality can be used to bring up all enrollment information in an easily viewable format. Errors can be more readily identified when all of the information is in one place.
Year-Round Benefits Management
Even after open enrollment season, a HRIS can be a valuable tool for managing benefits throughout the year. Employees can make changes as their household changes and can review their plan as they use it for greater understanding. This empowers employees while preventing HR professionals from wasting time answering basic and common questions.
What to Look for in a Benefits Management Software
What features are available in benefits management software depends on which vendor a company chooses. Different benefits management systems will offer different features, so it’s important to know ahead of time what features are most important. There are some key features to look out for that are common in many benefits management systems.
Employee Self-Service Portal
An employee self-service (ESS) portal is a must in any benefits management system. The entire purpose of using HRIS software for employee benefits management is to make the process easier and more efficient. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is by offering employees a self-service portal through which they can do their own research and select their own benefits plan during open enrollment. Whenever a qualifying life event occurs and an employee needs to change their benefits plan, it’s easy to do simply by logging on to the ESS. Allowing employees to do their own research and select their own plans in the portal will also save HR professionals a lot of time.
Not every company will be able to use this feature, but if it’s possible, automated deductions from integrating benefits with payroll will prevent some HR headaches and save HR staff time. If the benefits management software can integrate with payroll, then any deductions can be automatically applied as changes are made to employee benefits. This integration and automatic deduction process can remove the need to upload spreadsheets or manually make changes to payroll to reflect benefits changes.
It’s important to keep all of your benefits management features in one software platform. Having an all-in-one benefits management system will save employees, especially HR staff, a lot of time. It’s also better for all employee information to be in the same database. Having all benefits features and data in one platform also makes it easier to remain compliant with government regulations. HR staff will only need to make updates in one place if government benefits requirements change.
Benefits Carrier Connections
The benefits management system should offer an easy way to integrate with different benefits carriers electronically. This kind of integration can save both HR a lot of time because it can share employee data and pay information both securely and safely. It cuts down on the months it used to take to set up health insurance through the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
Simplified User Interface
Employee benefits management can take up a lot of HR time. This means that your HR staff will be spending a lot of time using benefits management software. The software’s user interface should be intuitive and easy to use. This can help make HR tasks in the software much easier and faster to do. It’s also important for the employee self-service portal to be simple to use. Employees may not remember how to use the software if they haven’t had to log in since the last open enrollment. An intuitive user interface can make it easier for employees to make their own benefits decisions in the portal.
If you feel that HRIS software could help make your benefits open enrollment season smoother, we can help. Visit our Software Match page today to find out how we can help you find your perfect solution.