Employee Benefits Management: Getting the Most Out of Your Benefits Plan - Netchex

When done properly, employee benefits management helps employees, as well as the company. Because employee benefits can be complicated, and you need a centralized system to manage costs and adjust policies. Employee benefits management has several moving parts, but that complexity brings more opportunities for improvement. 

When it comes to benefits, both legal compliance and employee satisfaction are important. Minimize the confusion and miscommunication by upgrading to integrated software for employee benefits management. Optimize your benefits to better serve workers, and the results should be cost-effective for the whole company, reducing the expense of turnover and recruiting. Popular, useful benefits will additionally improve workplace morale and the whole company culture. 

Here are several proactive benefits management tips to improve employee experience and strengthen your company’s benefits package:

Review current benefits package

Employee benefits need to be reassessed periodically. Sometimes a change to benefits packages or company policies will resolve routine headaches.

  • How long has it been since you compared insurance policies and carriers?
  • How many employees are taking advantage of your least popular benefits?
  • Have your long term employees been made aware of more recent changes to benefits?
  • Do you tend to get the same questions and concerns from employees? 

Manage benefits cost

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that benefits make up around 30% of the total compensation for each employee, as costs continue to increase. Health insurance tends to get more expensive by the year, but that doesn’t mean you’re without options. Focus on cost containment and long-term savings.

If you’re considering a new carrier, then look beyond any short term discounts and incentives. Look for employee benefits management software and insurance carriers ready to scale with the future growth of your company, so that you don’t outgrow your benefits plan.

Align benefits with employees’ needs

Ask employees for feedback about your benefits. Put some effort into improving HR communication with employees so that everyone feels free to voice concerns and preferences. Identify potential gaps by researching employee demographics and needs. Employees with growing families will be more interested in parental leave and other family medical leave policies. 

Think about employee wellness and work-life balance, priorities that weren’t discussed as frequently in past decades. How can your benefits support employee mental health and reduce burnout? Have you considered non-traditional benefits that are adapted to the needs of your employees, like discounts on local daycare and help with student loans? Also, consider location-specific concerns like employee parking and on-site amenities.

Evaluate both voluntary and employer-paid benefits

Employees sometimes cover the majority (or entirety) of the cost of some benefits, which makes them popular with employers. You might offer a partial match on programs like retirement savings, but other voluntary benefits are relatively inexpensive for the company.

Employer-paid benefits don’t require paycheck deductions, which can make them easier to manage. Employees appreciate having a variety of both types of benefits, including voluntary benefits that may only appeal to some.

Utilize employee benefits management software

Onboarding, offboarding, and open enrollment are the times with the most HR paperwork. Employee benefits management software can make these times quicker and easier with secure data transfers directly to carriers. Automatically remind employees about open enrollment periods and empower them to initiate policy changes after qualifying life events.

Integrated software allows you to dramatically reduce paperwork and routine administrative tasks. Find a benefits solution that communicates with payroll and tax software, and you can quickly and accurately handle paycheck deductions, too.

LEARN: How Does Payroll Software Work?

Develop a communication and education plan

New benefits and big changes to policies often require education for current employees. Is this something your HR team can handle, or do you need to bring in outside experts? Think about how to improve HR communication and messaging with employees, not just for this update but also keeping connected with employee concerns.

DISCOVER: Top Ten Tips for Improving HR Communication

As soon as you make any changes to benefits, it’s time to update the employee handbook. Help your company go paperless and you can distribute updated handbooks by PDF for free. Train employees on benefits and software

READ: Updating Employee Handbooks: Why, When, and How

Benefits management software should also include an employee self-service portal where they can access their personal information and policies. Use an LMS to onboard new hires and explain the benefits software along with benefits policies.

More options = more flexibility

Explore expanding the range of benefits available for employees. Specialized benefits may not appeal to a majority, but those niche benefits can make a huge difference for the individuals and families that need them. Voluntary benefits allow you to control the expense, while still giving employees access to the discounts that come with collective bargaining and company policies. 

When you survey employees and align benefits with their needs, don’t forget the underrepresented groups in your workforce. New benefits might help recruit a more diverse set of new hires. Catering too much to your current workforce demographics might further disadvantage marginalized groups.

Maintain compliance

When it comes to employee benefits management, you’ve got to stay organized and ensure you meet legal requirements. Missed payments and other mistakes can be costly for the company and employees, such as when employees or their dependants are left unexpectedly without coverage.

Your company’s liability and fines can also get expensive if you accidentally fall out of compliance. From the onboarding process to offboarding, compliance is an important consideration throughout the employee life cycle.

You may have state and local regulations in addition to these federal standards. 

Learn more about Netchex’s Employee Benefits Management software:

Learn more about our Benefits Administration software, where comprehensive doesn’t have to mean complex. Netchex makes Benefits Administration easy, straightforward, and worry-free.

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