6 ways tech is streamlining benefits administration

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HR pros are turning to technology to help ease the burden of everyday tasks. Indeed, the strategic use of technology, automation and better vendor partners is making time-consuming and mundane HR and benefits tasks a breeze.

More automation may be on the horizon — some suggest virtually all administrative functions can be fully or partially automated, a recent KPMG study finds.

With the right software and services, administrative paperwork can become a thing of the past. A few carefully chosen apps may fundamentally alter the way you and your company work for the better. Here are just a few ways technology can lighten the load for HR and benefit managers.

Benefits eligibility and requirements
Do you need to track timesheets for employees to maintain their benefits eligibility or notify them when their new full-time status means they can sign up? If they have varying schedules (common in the food service, retail and healthcare industries), software can quickly wade through all your payroll records for you. From ACA reporting to onboarding new employees into your health plan, well-integrated technology can help simplify the entire process. Some software will even automatically generate and file 1094s and 1095s.
Employee onboarding and self-service
When employees become eligible for benefits or they need to make a change to their package, using tools that offer self-onboarding and self-service makes the sign-up and open enrollment process easier for everyone. Employees can enter their information, review plans, enroll and make updates on their own. If all of your new employees sign up online, you won’t have to decipher handwriting and rekey the data. You might even be off the hook for sending reminders and badgering people.

Some apps also offer the option to personalize employee messaging so the HR team can welcome new employees via set messages, prompt them to sign up for a healthcare plan or even automatically ask for sizes for the softball team t-shirt. Plus, employees can use tech to find answers to questions or do simple things like updating a beneficiary or mailing address without having to ask for help. They’ll probably feel less frustrated and more empowered, while you’ll be able to keep your focus on more strategic activities.
Records management and document tracking
Going high-tech can also mean going paperless, which means employees can enter their information directly online and any documents can be signed and stored electronically — no more cluttered files to audit by hand and no more papercuts. Simply pull a couple of reports rather than leaf through dozens of file folders to make sure everyone is up to date and compliant.

A paperless office also helps to eliminate some human error on what can often be complex and sensitive personal documents. All of that private information is organized and stored securely, but accessible as you need it.
Automating and tracking routine workflows
When you hire a new employee, there are a million things to do. Software can automate the process from managing the task assignments to making sure they are all complete. For example, a tool could create a checklist that includes sending an offer letter and following up with new hire paperwork. Then, once everything is received, it could ping your colleagues to get hardware and software set up for the new employee’s first day, assign an onboarding buddy, etc. Workflows aren’t just for onboarding. They can also be used for benefits enrollment, document compliance and performance reviews — even offboarding.
Paid-time-off requests and accruals
If your job includes tracking PTO or vacation time, technology can almost immediately streamline this part of your day. Software can track your employees’ time off accruals, and then let the entire workforce log in to see exactly how much they’ve earned, make vacation requests and view company holidays. You can quickly review and approve requests online, so there’s no confusion. Making it easier to request a day off here and there means you’ll have happier and more productive employees.
Evaluations and performance management
When HR and management have the chance to set everything up consistently, employees can expect a similar review experience across multiple departments. That reliability builds morale and lets everyone better understand their role, skills required and how success is measured.