Most employers recently finished Open Enrollment for their employee benefits. The advent of COVID-19 accelerated the push to electronic processes for companies in various ways. One big trend has been the move away from paper for benefits enrollment. Most companies purchased a Human Resources Information System (also known as an HRIS platform) to modernize their onboarding and open enrollment processes. There’s a myriad of reasons why companies should consider purchasing an HRIS platform. Here are five questions to ask as your company makes that decision:

1. What is the annual cost?

Depending on what is included, an HRIS platform ranges from $4,000-$10,000 a year. For employers on a tight budget, many benefits brokers will heavily subsidize the cost of a system.

2. You know the cost: What does that include?

From integration capabilities to the level of service included, it’s important to know what is included in the cost. Does it have any integrative capabilities, such as 180 or 360 integration? Is it able to handle 1094/1095 reporting requirements? Will it help with Look-Back Period tracking? What additional features does it include (PTO Tracking, Onboarding, etc)?

As you choose a platform, make sure to evaluate and understand what the pricing includes (or does not include).

3. How important is integration with payroll?

Every HRIS platform will have different abilities to integrate with your payroll. There are different levels of integration with payroll. 180 is where any data that goes into the HRIS platform automatically flows into your payroll system. 360 is where the systems talk to each other, information from one will flow into the other and vice versa. A 360 integration is the most helpful but not every HRIS platform speaks with every payroll vendor. Make sure to review each system’s capability.

The question of importance is different from company to company. You may have an employee base with low turnover and a simple payroll. If you have more hires (or turnover) throughout the year it can be helpful to purchase an integration.

4. What is the user experience for administration and employees?

How user-friendly is the HRIS system? How do you like it from the administrative end? Is the technology intuitive for employees’ when they go through onboarding or open enrollment? Every HRIS platform looks and feels different. The ease of use won’t have a dollar figure attached to it, but it is still an important piece of the evaluation.

5. What, if any, are the additional administrative services available?

Increasingly, brokers and broker partners such as General Agencies have increased their service offering to include not only HRIS platforms, but also one-on-one enrollment services for your employees. In addition, some will even take on the responsibility of sending enrollment updates to insurance carriers. What’s the cost for this? Typically, the cost is minimal or subsidized by insurance premiums as long as a company offers a certain number of benefit plans to their employees.


Working with your broker and asking the right questions is vital to finding the best solution for you. Spend the time on the front end asking these questions so that you pick a solution that is a fit for the long term.


Chris Sill | Principal, SIMA Benefits Consulting Group


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