Navigating Benefits

HR Automation Software: Finding the Balance between Human and High-Tech

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Posted by July 25, 2016

In the past, managing HR benefits meant filing endless paperwork, keeping up with stressful deadlines and staying abreast of constantly changing regulations. However, technology is starting to make life a little easier for HR professionals. New HR automation software allows HR staff to do more with less, as much of their administrative work can be handled automatically by these programs.

While there is a lot you can do with HR software, there are still some tasks that may be best handled personally. As you begin to research and incorporate software into your HR management strategy, it’s important to understand both its advantages and its limitations.

HR Automation Software

Today, there are programs available that can manage every aspect of benefits administration. For example, Hodges-Mace offers enrollment software that enables employees to sign up for their health insurance plan themselves. The program then automatically handles all the enrollment paperwork, manages the IRS reporting requirements, contacts employees with benefit information and determines whether employees are eligible to participate in your benefits plans. The program also keeps track of regulations to make sure that you stay compliant with laws such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and COBRA.

When Automation Makes Sense

Automation can help handle the administrative side of HR more efficiently and effectively. Tasks such as managing annual enrollments, collecting and filing paperwork for employees and tracking employee eligibility for different benefits can all be handled automatically as they are all fairly predictable. Additionally, HR software gives your employees a way to manage and update their benefits on their own.

Automation software can also help you keep pace with compliance requirements. There are so many laws to keep up with, especially with the new ACA regulations, that every HR department needs some help to stay on track. The developers of HR programs make it their full-time job to monitor new laws and guidelines so you don’t have to.

Automation software can also help you collect information that you can use to improve your benefits plans and adjust your benefits strategies. For example, you can use HR software to schedule regular online surveys and manage employee feedback. At the same time, your HR automation software will be keeping track of important data, such as benefit participation rates.

Automation technology will continue getting better, so it’s worth keeping an open mind and thinking creatively about what other tasks you might automate in the future.

The Limitations of HR Automation

Some parts of the benefits process are too important to fully automate. It is important to pay personal attention to benefits payments, even if you schedule automatic payments. That way, you can still recover the necessary information and process the payment if something goes wrong and the automatic payment doesn’t go through.

When it comes to benefits education, it’s nice to add a personal touch. Even if your software offers training, employees might need some additional supports to understand everything. You should still hold seminars to explain what is offered in your benefits package and to give employees an opportunity to ask questions. The more your employees understand about their benefits package, the better they’ll be able to use their plan. Informational seminars also present a great opportunity to teach your employees about how they can help control their own out-of-pocket costs. For example, you may want to highlight the importance of taking advantage of the preventive services often times offered as part of your dental plan at low to no out-of-pocket costs.

When you onboard employees, you should also go over your benefits package with them in person, even if all the administrative work will be done online. This provides your new employees with a warm welcome and lets them know that there’s an actual person they can go to if they have questions.

HR automation software can be a valuable investment, provided you put it to the best use. By keeping these pointers in mind, you can streamline your benefits administration process without losing your personal touch.

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