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9 features to look for in benefits administration software

Explore the features your organization's benefits administration software should include to ensure it integrates with other systems and meets the needs of HR staff and employees.

Benefits administration can be a challenge, and benefits administration software can help HR staff and employees perform tasks more easily.

HR leaders should determine whether their current benefits administration software offers key features, such as HR system integration and single sign-on (SSO). If a company's benefits administration software does not include these capabilities, HR leaders should consider purchasing another benefits administration system.

Here are nine important benefits administration software features organizations need to evaluate.

1. HR system integration

Benefits administration software should integrate with a company's HR system. This integration avoids users having to rekey data when pushing changes in the core HR system, such as employee contact information, to the benefits administration software.

If the vendor supplying the HR system also supplies the benefits administration software, integration shouldn’t be an issue.

2. Benefit vendor systems integration

Benefits administration software should also integrate with various benefits provider systems. As with HR system integration, integrating the benefits administration software and benefit vendor systems makes updating employee information, such as adding new hires, easier to carry out.

Integrating benefits administration software and each benefit providers' software is only possible if each one includes the proper interface functionality.

3. Payroll integration

Integrating benefits administration software with the company's payroll system is also important because it simplifies the data transfer process between the two.

While a programmatic integration is ideal, a vendor might also provide a file with employee benefits rates that an administrator can upload into the payroll system.

4. 24/7 support

The benefits provider should offer 24/7 support or at least have employees available during working hours. HR leaders should also check whether the benefits provider offers support on weekends.

While vendor support is important, the internal team should maintain the system on their own without needing vendor help for each configuration change or software issue.

5. Employee technical support

Some vendors provide technical support directly to employees instead of having employees contact their internal support team, which then escalates the issue to the vendor if needed.

However, both approaches have their advantages. Vendor technical support staff working directly with company employees might be a better option if the internal team is very small. However, if company employees help other workers with benefits software issues, the internal team learns more about the benefits software. They can also use their knowledge about common employee issues to build FAQs or update training material.

In addition, the benefits software shouldn't require extensive training and be easily navigable.

6. Reporting and dashboards

HR team members responsible for benefits administration should be able to run reports when needed and not have to wait until the end of the month or until the vendor provides one. HR staff should also be able to choose the report's file format; some systems offer mostly PDF reports, which limits users' formatting abilities.

Users should also be able to customize the software's dashboards as needed, and the dashboards should update frequently.

7. Easy-to-maintain benefits plans

Companies usually review benefits plans every year or two and make changes, such as new prices.

A system administrator should be able to make these changes in the software without needing extensive help from the vendor.

8. Support for benefits offerings based on employee group

A company might need to configure multiple benefits offerings if, for example, it employs workers in multiple countries.

The benefits administration software should let the system administrator set up each benefits provider in the system and then assign benefits to each employee.

In addition, the system administrator should be able to configure the system so employees only see the benefits for which they are eligible.

9. Single sign-on

Benefits administration software should support SSO so employees don't have to create a new username and password. HR leaders might need to work with IT to make this possible.

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