Human Capital Management

Why is Simplifying with Benefits Technology So Complicated?

/ September 26, 2016

Technology, by its very nature, is intended to simplify our lives. So why is it so complicated?

In the world of benefits technology, there are more acronyms than I can count. For example:

If you are in the market for a new Employee Benefits Portal, HRMS, or HRIS to replace ADP, you’ll want to include your HR and IT teams in the demos to determine the ability of the system to handle FSA, HRA, HSA and COBRA Administration. Not only that, but you’ll need to be able to determine whether or not EDI feeds can be set up with carriers such as IBC and UHC.  And if that isn’t enough to make your head spin, don’t forget to investigate if the system is SSAE16 Certified, can handle ESS, and has the ability to capture the data necessary to perform your EEO-1, ACA and OSHA reporting requirements.

So, once you think you are in the market for a new benefits technology system, whether it’s brand new or a replacement, where do you begin?  A good place to start is right here.  Take the time to think about and document the answers to some of these seemingly simple questions:

  • What do I want the new system to be able to do (system requirements)?
  • What are my current processes and what am I attempting to streamline with a new system?
  • What is my budget?
  • How much time can I allocate to researching, implementing and rolling out a new system?
  • What is my timeframe/timeline?

Too often we see companies vetting out systems without taking the time to first go through the due diligence process.  My question to them is, without a true understanding of what you need and want, how can you choose?  Systems should not be considered because a vendor reaches out trying to sell their product.  Rather, an organization should be taking an active approach, looking internally at the current tools, structure and processes in order to seek out technology solutions as a way to improve upon them.

Rushing through the selection and/or implementation of an HRIS or Benefits Technology Portal may save time in the short run, but it will inevitably cost more and yield less benefit.  Even if you can’t afford to purchase a system with all the desired capabilities, having an understanding of what they are and how much they cost will allow you to plan for the future. Why spend 6 months implementing a stand-alone Benefits Portal with carrier connections when an evaluation of the entire HRIS/Payroll system is scheduled for the following year?  The potential efficiencies gained by fully integrating the Payroll, HR and Benefits technology systems far outweigh the 6 month delay.

In the spirit of keeping it simple, HRIS and Benefits Technology systems are not “one size fits all”.  The great news is that there are more than enough options to choose from, and your odds of getting it right greatly improve when you spend the time up front to understand what you are truly looking for.

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