The 4 Aspects of Benefits Administration Solutions that Impact Success the Most

12th Feb 2022

With so many moving parts to benefits administration, formally evaluating your vendor can be daunting. While all the bells and whistles of flashy new features are great, HR should focus their evaluation on these four aspects of a great benefits administration partner that impact success the most.

P.S. Want more tips on evaluating your ben admin partner? Click here to download the full white paper & ben admin evaluation scorecard.

  1. Flexibility and Agility: How quickly and efficiently does your benefits administration provider support benefits plan changes?

  2. The pandemic and steep talent competition has made benefits plan flexibility more important than ever. According to’s “Future of Benefits” report, 98% of HR leaders plan to newly offer or expand at least one employee benefit.

    Have you ever hesitated to make a plan change or add new benefits due to administrative difficulty, because it would take too long to set up through your provider, or your provider’s “nickel and dime” costs of making changes? Your provider should help you implement adjustments to your benefits offerings, not create another obstacle. Delays, errors or hesitation to add or adjust benefits could mean your employees won’t have access to the coverage they need, and makes it even more difficult to offer an increasingly robust benefits offering to win top talent.

  3. Service and Support: Does your benefits administration provider’s service model meet your needs?

  4. Employers who opt for a “tech-only” benefits administration solution often do so to save money, believing they can manage service in-house. Most regret their decision. Small organizations with minimal workforce or benefits plan complexity may operate well enough with this transactional approach to benefits. Most organizations, however, both need and want a more consultative approach to benefits administration.

    Effective benefits administration service models establish continuity.

    Many tech provider service and client operations teams operate in silos. One team handles implementation, another handles open enrollment preparation, another handles ongoing tech support, and so on. While teams with different specialties are necessary, you, the client, shouldn’t have to be bounced around from team to team. A great service model will emphasize intra-team collaboration to ensure you have as seamless experience as possible, and don’t have to keep repeating yourself.

    Open Enrollment Planning.

    Your provider should ensure you have plenty of time to implement and test any changes to your system prior to open enrollment. Were you contacted well in advance of open enrollment to discuss any changes in the platform or updates to your plans and eligibility rules? Did your partner have a plan and timeline for testing system updates and submitting changes to ensure any kinks are worked out before employees begin to enroll?

    Feedback Loop & Continuous Improvement.

    Your provider should allow plenty of opportunities to provide feedback, and they should prove they can act on it to continuously improve your service. Has your partner offered to set up regular, periodic (quarterly or as often as needed) meetings to discuss how things are going? Have you been asked to provide feedback in response to a specific situation or as part of a client satisfaction survey? Have they been receptive to unsolicited feedback?

  5. Ongoing Administration: Is your benefits administration provider capable and/or willing to do the dirty work?

  6. Technology for the sake of technology won’t address the deeper issues, or the “dirty work” of benefits administration that frequently hold HR teams and their organizations back. Far too often, companies will implement a new system without fully understanding the amount of work it is going to take to be successful. Opting for a cost-efficient, all-in-one bundle HCM solution may be the right choice for some organizations, but the tech’s flexibility and service level frequently fall short of what complex organizations need.

    It's rare that benefits technology included as part of broader human capital management (HCM) platforms has the functionality or sophistication to match specialized benefits administration platforms. Benefits administration is rarely the platform provider’s core business, so it takes a back seat when it comes to functionalities and service.”

    –Rhonda Marcucci, Vice President, HR & Benefits Technology Consulting Practice Leader, Gallagher

    Data Integrity and Data Exchange Management

    Pay attention to your partner’s willingness to manage data feed issues and their approach with carriers. Will they work directly with the carrier to help resolve issues on your behalf?

    The need for continuity is especially critical to ensuring the integrity of your data. Data exchange (EDI, API, etc.) teams should dedicate a specialist to manage your data feeds, rather than a ticket system that sends data feed requests to a random pool. A dedicated specialist who understands your common pitfalls and carrier relations will be far more successful in mitigating errors that could be extremely costly.

  7. Employee Satisfaction: Is your employee benefits experience helping or hurting employee perception of your organization?

  8. With so much competition for top talent, companies that want to rise to the top of the demand for hiring need to offer employees not only better benefits but also better benefit experiences. This can help differentiate your company from your competition — and strengthen your hiring and retention efforts. Gallagher’s 2021 State of the Workforce Study pointed to increasing talent competition, where 73% of HR teams rank attraction and retention as their #1 priority.

    Employees need and expect an excellent online benefits enrollment and management experience.

    As mentioned earlier, the shift to remote work has made engaging and effective digital solutions a critical component to the employee experience. When it comes to benefits, this doesn’t mean employees want cartoon avatars bouncing around their screens. Above all, employees want the most simple and intuitive online enrollment experience possible. Key components of a great employee benefits experience include:

    • A consumer-like shopping experience that allows employees to easily review and compare plans. Different content and workflows should be available as needed for each employee group.

    • Intuitive navigation with minimal clicks. Employees should easily understand what has been completed and what is remaining for them to complete.

    • Quick access to multi-media education, plan documents, and HR communications all in one place.

    • Self-service benefits dashboards where employees can manage benefits, update information, view education/communications or request changes.

    Want more tips on evaluating your ben admin partner? Click here to download the full white paper.

    Workterra is here to help!

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