Beyond benefits: the value of HRIS integration

February 15, 2022
Woman on laptop

When choosing a benefits provider, companies are often focused simply on getting the benefits their employees need for the lowest possible cost, particularly as they struggle to retain workers in a competitive market. If benefits are all basically the same, the reasoning goes, then it makes sense to get the cheapest available, and use the money saved to invest elsewhere.

But a narrow focus on cost leaves you blind to the value of key benefits platform features and the potential for a carrier's digital capabilities to drive a measurable return on investment (ROI). What you may gain in immediate savings, you will lose over the long term in efficiency, employee experience, and industry expertise.

Strategic benefits integration can bring measurable ROI

A carrier that provides deep integration between their system and your HRIS may be worth much more than one that costs less but can only share data superficially and doesn't integrate well into your established processes.

Deep integration connects HRIS and benefits systems at a fundamental level, allowing real time updates not just to basic employee information but to enrollment, plan design, evidence of insurability, and absence management. A change made in one location is updated everywhere, every time.

Smart integrations allow organizations to:

  • Save time by eliminating tedious manual data entry and other tasks
  • Reduce errors by automatically sharing data across systems in real-time
  • Simplify complex processes by letting HR and employees complete them in one interface
  • Pays bills confidently without the need for regular reconciliation
  • Get more from their brokers, who will no longer need to troubleshoot administration issues

Eliminating so many manual processes frees up employees to engage in more meaningful work and reduces the chance for error. Hours saved and errors avoided won't necessarily show up on a balance sheet, but they'll be felt in smoother workflows and more productive employees.

Integration improves the employee experience and lightens the load on HR

The balance of power in the labor market has moved sharply toward workers. Giving them good benefits and making it easy for them to access and understand them is a simple way to show you value them and their time. An employee who feels valued will be less likely to look for a new job elsewhere. In a recent survey, 70% of employees who rated their benefits as "very good" or "excellent" said it made them more likely to stay.1

It may not be as easy to tout in recruiting materials, but integration provides a superior benefits experience for both HR and employees. Integration means employees can complete enrollment — and even EOI — in the same system where they access their payslips or request time off.

Gone are the days of tedious, repetitive paper forms and decisions that take weeks just to get extra coverage to make sure their family will be protected. With deep integration, employees only need to answer a few additional questions and often receive an immediate decision. Updating coverage and dependents is also easy, and that change automatically populates to other parts of the system.

This is doubly true for HR teams (who, let's not forget, are also employees), who may be overworked amid the current turnover in the labor market. Reducing manual data entry through smart integration gives them space to focus on more meaningful work: recruiting top talent and creating a dynamic and supportive work culture that will help retain staff. No one went into HR because they love reconciling monthly invoices.

Integration is about more than payroll

A serious integration solution spans the entire range of critical HR functions:

  • Plan setup icon
    Plan setup
    Avoids tedious delays and trial and error often required when setting up a new plan by syncing seamlessly with your HRIS

  • Billing icon
    Real-time updates to your employees' dependents, elections, and compensation mean your bill reflects what you really owe

  • Enrollment icon
    Lets employees sign up using a system they already know, avoiding frustration and confusion

  • Evidence of Insurability icon
    Evidence of Insurability
    Automatically integrated into enrollment, with no paper forms to fill out and a quick turnaround on decisions

  • absence icon
    Syncs employee absence and eligibility information automatically, down to the time-card level

Expertise and experience are priceless when you're faced with complex questions

The lowest cost may seem ideal when everything is straightforward and simple. But when things get difficult or challenging, a provider with deep expertise drawn from decades of experience, ideally not just with benefits and leave but with benefits and leave as it applies to your specific industry, is invaluable.

When presented with thorny questions or a complex employee leave scenario, it's crucial to have someone who can give you thoughtful answers and clear guidance, and who can keep up with constantly changing state and federal statutes.

It's even better if that expertise is embedded into an elegant online platform, so you don't have to spend hours searching through company phone trees to find the right person to answer your question. The answers you need are right there.

Value is about more than just sticker price

Choosing a benefits carrier is a major decision, but focusing only on price can lead you to miss out on crucial plan and platform features that will bring tangible ROI.

1 Unum, Employee Enrollment Survey of 1,462 full-time employees, August 2021.
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