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Top 10 tops to choosing HR - Benefit Platform

top 10 tips benefit hr platform

Let's cut through all the big 5 jargon around HR Benefit software platforms.

This is essential list of requirements to be met to insure you're never left having to answer..

"Why did we pick such a bad system?"

The entire world of HR-Benefits software has changed significantly and the bigger players (household names??) don't necessarily meet expectations.

In fact, a few select options are coming to dominate the space with one in particular looking to completely eat up the space (like Saleforce did but without the clunky interfaces).

Let's get right to it. How do we make this easy, fast, and robust?

Top 10 list for choosing the best HR benefits platform:

  • Employee data drives process
    Address the core first
    Easily add on modules as needed
    Setup should not require self-medication
    Seamlessly address the sledgehammer of compliance
    Don't skimp on yella (3rd party broker support)
    Pay according to use, not headcount
    Be ready to scale without a full-remodel
    Saving time means total net time
    It just needs to work

Let's get started!

Employee data drives process

The Chinese saying goes..."Well begun is half done".

This is where so many decision on implementing HR benefit platforms start off on the wrong foot.

It's so ridiculously common to have multiple systems all siloed with their own independent data set for each employee.

Each new addition requires entry in this system and that system and this system. The tween shall never meet!

This is the opposite of what we're trying to accomplish but's 90% of the market.

Start clean and start right!

This means one system where the employee's data is primary and all other systems use that same footprint.


employee centric benefit platform

No need to re-enter and maintain multiple systems which may or MAY NOT be in sync (let's bet on the latter eventually).

If we do this correctly up front, one entry with multiple feeds will save us so much time and headache.

One system comes to mind on this front and we'll end with that but it's actually a pretty rare attribute.

So...what systems are a MUST have in this integrated system?

Address the core first

There's an inherent logic behind these modules being necessities and highly dependent on each other surrounding our employee-centric model:

  • Payroll (time-keeping, taxes, etc)
    HR (hiring, terminating, PTO, etc)
    Benefits (health, dental, enrollment, terminating, cobra, etc)

That's our core! Typically, these now resolve around 3 different systems (and maybe no real system on the benefit side).

Just simplifying these three monsters of employee management tasks will greatly save time and money.

  • One employee data set
    One entry
    One record and history

We're already winning out the gate if these three modules are done correctly and seamlessly to the both the HR staff and/or the employees.

The entire process should be online (really...pen and paper for enrollment??? Even autofill PDFs don't suffice anymore and leave room for errors.

From there...what if we want to add additional attributes?

Easily add on modules as needed

One employee dataset...infinite ('s a hard number) possibilities.

Some of the most popular modules to add to our core are:

  • IT (devices, passwords, etc)
    Employee reimbursement (expense management)
    Hiring Process (resume, application process, etc)

Keep in mind that each of these usually require a whole separate system and cost!

Having one system to integrate all of this if needed (think of the future!) is critical and simply put...wasn't available till pretty recently.

If an employee-centric (it's call human resources after all) is our focus, its essential that we can expand these functions but with full and automatic integration to our core system.

Trying to take apart the plane while flying (existing system in place) is never fun. Choose wisely because this integrated HR benefit platform IS coming.

We're already seeing an explosion on this front now.

So...what if we need to start from scratch or take apart that plane (existing system in place)??

Setup should not require self-medication

You know how the big 5 consulting team comes in with shiny salespeople and lots of jargon about how good the system will be?

Then it's setup and within that Lamborghini body, there's a Dodge dart engine?

We've all been there. The implementation is just brutal and all eyes are on us as the decision maker.

This transition affects EVERYONE so it needs to be fast, easy, and without friction.

The disingenuous players will promise the rose garden on implementation.  The honest players actually charge up front for a launch support team to guide you through the whole process.

There's just no getting around doing this right. We're talking hand-holding the entire implementation process.

It's actually pretty smart from their perspective because it's critical to their success that you are happy with implementing the platform.

Again...this is typically a one-time charge to guide the entire roll-out. We'll talk more about cost below.

Then there's the cost of not keeping up with the avalanche of compliance from federal, state, and local government.

Seamlessly address the sledgehammer of compliance

Unless you have full-time HR legal staff, this makes an HR benefit system mandatory.

Did you know that providing HIPPA compliance documents to each employee can result in a fine of $100/day/employee?

Add FMLA, EEO-1 docs, form 5500 and litany of additional fine-based requirements. That's just on the benefit side!

Requirements change by size of the company and who exactly is helping you navigate that mine field when you say...jump to 50 employees? 100 employees?

Luckily, the firehose of requirements from Washington or States has stopped. NOT!!

Covid only accelerated reporting burdens so any company over 5 employees MUST have an integrated system that manages this process for both payroll, benefits, and HR.

This again points back to the employee-centric worldview so that documentation and compliance process is integrated, central, and easy to manage.

This alone is worth the cost of admission as the repercussions can be financially ruinous and affect the management reputation of a private or public company.

Let's talk about the 2nd biggest issue (behind compliance) that many companies are unaware of.

Don't skimp on yella (3rd party broker support)

Benefits are just getting more and more complicated since the ACA law (2014).

Multiple carriers, networks, drug formularies, etc and they're changing every January these days!

With most HR benefit platforms, you're on your own navigating this jungle.

Keep in mind that the good old days of keeping one carrier for a decade are over. Carriers will jockey for market share and underprice plans to gain on that front...sometimes for years.

Then suddenly, the same carrier will be 10-20% higher for the equivalent plan (standardized now by ACA law).

This requires an annual review to establish best value on the market. With most platforms, they just don't have this expertise (or support at all).

A 3rd party broker (no additional cost) is critical to run these market a minimum!

Full disclosure...we're independent agents of this sort with 30 years experience in the group benefit market.

Check out Google Reviews Here!  We take benefits seriously.

An HR-benefit platform that allows 3rd party broker integration is such a given since the pricing is the same. In fact, those that do not offer this expertise are really missing a key piece.

Your carrier is not exactly going to tell you they're 15% over market with a sub-par network and poor integration for multi-state employees (huge issue).

No cost for this assistance. Speaking of cost...

Pay according to use, not headcount

The standard approach (thanks Adobe) is a flat cost per headcount. Regardless of modules used or how many employees.

For example, you may have contract employees that require integration and these services will look at full headcount on many (most) systems.

Paying according to use is just akin to not throwing money away.

Luckily, the dominant player allows this and this may be part of why they're eating up the market. (More on that below).

The cost needs to be competitive but there's an interesting caveat there.

If you take advantage of the employee-centric, one system model, the savings can be significant.

There are multi-billion dollar companies that just do employee reimbursement!

They'll find that an integrated benefit HR system which integrates expense management is quickly their new master.

This is happening in the marketplace as we speak!

We can easily run a quote for your company here.

Be ready to scale without a full-remodel

It's a start-up and front and center is getting the new techs on payroll. And benefits.

No problem...that's the core we spoke of above.

Here's what we see with the evolution of companies from there.

The same new requirements crop up over time (sometimes...pretty quickly) and now they're looking at expense reimbursement or IT management.

Typically, this involves research on "expense reimbursement systems" online or with colleagues.

Another system. Another series of entries with completely different interface, requirements, etc.

The better approach is to piggy-back off of your core system and just "turn on" the new expense reimbursement module.

Why? For one, it's all integrated and the interface is now old-hat.

More importantly, there may be interplay between the new data set and say...payroll. It makes no sense to introduce one more manual step when you have the systems automatically track and process this data!

It's why our employee-centric (item #1) above is so important.

Employee-centric is really about making your life easier and more efficient.

Otherwise, system-centric is just a profit center for some tech company at your expense (both financially and in time).

There's a clear winner on this front which we'll wrap with below. This all goes back to streamlining process and saving...time.

Saving time means total net time

The goal is actually pretty simple:

  • A system that's easy to use and setup
    A system that works
    An advantageous and plannable cost structure
    A savings in time and personnel needed to manage HR benefits and really...the "back office"

Saving time is really critical since every hour spent on chasing payroll or benefit fixes is one not spent on the hard problems of the company.

HR and benefits are really to-do lists that need to be automated, consolidated, and outsource.

  • Payroll is cumbersome and easily automated
    Benefit process is complicated but amenable to automation (process) while selection/maintenance can rest on 3rd party broker expertise

If you have 3 systems, that's 3 times the work...and time!

That's the whole point of one employee record for multiple modules.

One entry. Dozens of processes handled automatically.

Think about onboarding an employee. One entry and payroll, benefits, compliance, passwords, devices, reporting, time-tracking, etc

All processed!

This all sounds great but back to the overpromise and underdeliver muscle memory we all have from prior system.

It just needs to work

How many times have we been there.

"This system is going to streamline your process and save 15% time and 20% on cost structure".

Maybe over a lunch. Shiny salespeople who take you right back to middle school.

The product launches and Good's a mess!

Interface is janky. Any changes result in buggy errors.

Saleforce immediately comes to mind. It sounds so good in powerpoint presentations but it's as if the workflow was coders!

No intuition. No flow. Not working.

This is the biggest issue with HR benefit platforms. Shiny rappers and rotten cores. do we navigate all 10 points above.

There's only a few that even attempt the employee-centric view as it goes against the general motive of SaaS development.

Create one essential piece and try to cross-sell other pieces to the existing base.

We can look to pretty powerful comparison sites with real company implementations.

One platform really stands out and that's Rippling.

Just look at the rating reviews with 1000's of actual company implementations.


rippling platform reviews

More importantly, they fully thought out the employee-centric model and hit every checklist above.

There's a pretty good high level review here but their system allows the following:

  • One employee record - multiple possible integrated modules
    Pay according to use (not total headcount)
    Integrated launch support that actually works (hence the ratings above)
    3rd party broker support for benefit selection and support at no cost

Most importantly...the system actually works!  Again, the ratings speak to this and in the world of Amazon, we just don't trust a company's pitch.

What do customers actually think? That's why our Google reviews as 3rd party agents are front and center.

Finding and bringing the future of HR benefit management to our clients figures into those reviews.

We're happy to quote and assist with any questions surrounding online HR benefit platforms!


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Let's get started.



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