Josh Weaver has been a leader in the benefits industry for over 15 years with experience in Ben Tech, Operations, Strategy, and Partner Management. Josh leads Guardian’s API strategy across multiple verticals including Ben Tech, Brokers, and General Agencies. Guardian is driven to provide industry leading API connectivity with leading solution providers to deliver experiences that wow our consumers.

Digitizing benefits administration is a top trend for employers evaluating their benefits strategies, according to recent Guardian research. Nine in ten organizations are turning to digital solutions to manage aspects of their HR or benefits functions. It’s for good reason. Employees who have a digital experience when learning about, enrolling in, and using their benefits tend to have more favorable attitudes towards their employee benefits package. 

A variety of factors have contributed to the growth of digital adoption over the past few years, including an increase in remote work due to the pandemic, increased efficiency of digital benefits processes, shifting workforce expectations, and compliance with state and local laws. Whether you’re looking to transition to digital benefits solutions for the first time or re-evaluating your current benefits technology strategy, these four best practices can help guide the process.

Choose a tech partner with a robust, holistic solution

Meeting the specific needs of your organization is essential for your benefits technology partner. Ensuring they’re able to manage those needs within one system which will prevent a lot of pain points. For small businesses, your needs may center around enrollment, evidence of insurability (EOI), and benefits education. Larger organizations with more than 1,000 employees may need additional capabilities such as payroll, billing, onboarding, recruitment, and more.  Finding partner that offers a one-stop-shop solution is usually favored over using separate systems to manage the various elements of your benefits.

Look for a tech partner that supports employee engagement and decision-making

Three in five workers wish their employer would provide more benefits-related information throughout the year and 49% want interactive decision-support tools, according to Guardian’s 11th Annual Workplace Benefits Study. Empowering your employees to make educated decisions about their benefits will help to increase utilization and their understanding of what’s available. This helps your employees, and therefore the organization, get the most out of benefits offerings. 

“Digitization can reduce the amount of time spent managing benefits by about half and it can help alleviate stress for benefits administers who report being three times as likely to be satisfied with the overall benefits experience when using a mostly digital experience.”

Evaluate experience and integrations with key strategic partners and carriers

Choosing a technology provider who has experience and existing API integrations with organizations that you work with is important to consider. Application programing interfaces (APIs) present an opportunity to dramatically improve accuracy and efficiency for benefits administration. APIs enable the real-time sharing of data between systems. This helps to ensure that the carrier, your HR department, and the benefit system are all aligned and accurate. Practically speaking, APIs streamline processes like EOI data, sold plan information, and up-to-date member data and benefit elections, which can help complete tasks that would normally takes hours to minutes.

Conduct pilots to test capabilities with your organization’s priorities

It’s paramount to ensure the capabilities of a new benefits technology partners align with your needs before committing so make sure you ask for a system demo and that they have a good track record in the key areas that are important to you. The new technology should resolve the previous benefits administration headaches and help with the cumbersome tasks you’re looking to resolve now and meet your evolving needs.

Two in three employers say that managing benefits today is more complex than it’s ever been, according to Guardian’s research. However, organizations that have digitized their benefits administration processes are less likely to feel that managing benefits is overly complex. Our 11th Annual Workplace Study also found that digitization can reduce the amount of time spent managing benefits by about half and it can help alleviate stress for benefits administers who report being three times as likely to be satisfied with the overall benefits experience when using a mostly digital experience.

Following best practices when implementing your new benefits technology solution can help to ease administrative strain, improve the employee experience, and streamline processes in the ever-evolving digitized workplace.