5 Best Employee Benefits Administration Software for Small Businesses in 2020

In businesses with fewer than 50 workers, 85% of employees say a benefits package plays a big role in how loyal they are to their employers.1
Best overall benefits software
Gusto
Gusto
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Competitive pricing for small businesses
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    One-month free trial
Best for 50-plus employees
Namely
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Range of benefits
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Online community of 1,000 HR leaders
Most employee tracking features
bambooHR
BambooHR
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Robust benefit-tracking features
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    7-day free trial
Best software for new talent
ClearCompany
ClearCompany
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    All-in-one platform
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Access to 160 million talent profiles
Best for few employees
Zenefits
Zenefits
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free Lite HR plan
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Flexible pricing and potential savings

If you are like some small businesses, you may not have a dedicated human resources (HR) department. So putting together employee benefits plans that will attract high-quality employees likely falls on your shoulders. But finding benefits administration software to fit your unique needs can be a challenge. To help save you time, we’ve done the research for you and provided our picks for the best employee benefits administration software.

Benefit administration software is commonly used by HR departments, allowing HR managers to administer employee benefits packages. Organization can identify the best benefit options that provide the most value to employees and reduce costs overall while using such software.

The Best Benefits Administration Software of 2020

Gusto: The overall winner

Pro Heading
Strengths
Pro Bullet Competitive pricing for small businesses of all sizes
Pro Bullet Lifetime employee access to paystubs and W2s
Pro Bullet Integrations with accounting software
Pro Bullet Mobile app for smartphones and tablets
Con Heading
Weaknesses
Con Bullet No evening or weekend customer support
Con Bullet Health benefits available in only 22 states

Gusto is our choice for best benefits management software for small businesses. With the Gusto platform, you’ll get full-service payroll, benefits administration, workers comp, an employee self-service portal, and unlimited support via phone, email, and chat. Using the online portal, employees can enroll, add dependents, and ask questions about their plans. And with benefits in sync with your payroll, paycheck deductions are automatic.

One of our favorite Gusto features is their one-month free trial offer: you can fully engage with the platform before making any commitments.

Small-business owners can choose from three different plans, including the Core plan, which is available for $39 per month plus $6 per employee. Add-ons, such as 401(k) plans, life insurance, and HSA accounts cost extra. One of our favorite Gusto features is its one-month free trial offer: you can fully engage with the platform before making any commitments.

Gusto employee benefits administration software plans

Plan
Monthly base cost
Cost per month per employee
Features
Learn more

Core

$39

$6

Full-service payroll, Health benefits and workers comp administration

Compete

$39

$12

Full-service payroll, Health benefits and workers comp administration, Employee on-boarding, Time-off requests

Concierge

$149

$12

Full-service payroll, Health benefits and workers comp administration, Employee on-boarding, Time-off requests, HR resource center, Dedicated support

Data effective 11/16/2019. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Namely: Best for small businesses with 50+ employees

Namely is an all-in-one human resources platform and our choice for best benefits software for small businesses with a minimum of 50 employees. It offers a complete HR solution, which includes payroll, time-tracking features, onboarding, and performance management.

With the benefit administrative system, you can offer your employees a broad range of benefits, including life, disability, and accident insurance; medical and dental insurance; 401(k) plans; wellness programs; HSA and FSA accounts; and more. Plus, benefits are ACA and COBRA compliant.

Namely doesn’t publish pricing on its website, so we reached out to the company for a price quote. A rep responded that due to the complexity of the product, specific details are needed to provide a customized quote. We recommend contacting the company directly to get an accurate quote for your business.

Pro Heading
Strengths
Pro Bullet Wide range of employee benefits
Pro Bullet Access to their online community of more than 1,000 HR leaders
Pro Bullet Many app integrations
Pro Bullet Mobile apps for iOS and Android users
Pro Bullet Highly customizable and configurable interface
Con Heading
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Setup for only small businesses with more than 15 employees
Con Bullet No free trial offer

BambooHR: Best benefit tracking

BambooHR, an online human resources information system (HRIS), is our choice for small businesses that need a powerful benefit tracking tool. Its software enables you to track benefit plans based on 12 different benefit types for employee groups. You can also track historical information, including enrollment, coverage, and cost, for ACA reporting.

BambooHR doesn’t publish pricing on its website, so we reached out to the company for a quote. Small-business owners pay a flat $99 monthly fee for up to 12 employees, and for those with more than 12 employees, there is an $8.25 per employee per month fee. BambooHR offers employee recognition programs, learning and development, and performance management as add-ons.

Pro Heading
Strengths
Pro Bullet Robust benefit-tracking tools
Pro Bullet No long-term contracts
Pro Bullet 7-day free trial period
Pro Bullet Mobile apps for iOS and Android users
Con Heading
Weaknesses
Con Bullet No employee time tracking and attendance features
Con Bullet Extra fee for the performance management tool

ClearCompany: Best talent management

ClearCompany is our choice for small-business owners who are looking for a talent management platform. It offers a full suite of services, including applicant tracking, recruiting and onboarding, performance and goal management, and benefits administration.

The ClearCompany platform supports small businesses with a minimum of 100 employees. With the self-service portal, employees can easily enroll and manage their benefits, make changes to their family status, and access a variety of educational tools. With this software, you can provide your employees with medical, life, and disability insurance; wellness management; and HSA and FSA options.

Pricing isn’t listed on ClearCompany’s website, but you can request a quote by filling out a form. To give you an idea of what the general costs are, we contacted the company and learned that the full platform of services is a minimum of $12,000 for 100 employees. It is important to note that ClearCompany won’t provide benefits administration as a stand-alone service—you must invest in their full platform of services.

Pro Heading
Strengths
Pro Bullet Full platform with applicant tracking, onboarding, and performance management
Pro Bullet Award-winning software
Pro Bullet Full library of resources with videos, white papers, webinars, and more
Pro Bullet Access to 160 million talent profiles
Con Heading
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Minimum of 100 employees
Con Bullet High prices for small-business owners
Con Bullet No free trial offer

Zenefits: Best for small businesses with a few employees

For small businesses with a few employees, we favor Zenefits. The Essentials plan starts at $8 per month per employee and includes a core HR program, complete with hiring, onboarding, and employee documents. To get compensation and performance management, you’ll want the Growth plan, which costs $14 per month per employee, or try the Zen plan for $21 per month per employee if you’d like built-in well-being assessments.

If you work with a Zenefits broker, benefits administration is included free in the monthly base price for all of the above plans. If you’d rather use your own broker, you can add benefits administration to any plan for $5 per month per employee.

Pro Heading
Strengths
Pro Bullet 3 affordable plans
Pro Bullet Flexible add-ons, including benefits admin through your own broker
Pro Bullet Mobile app for iOS and Android
Con Heading
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Extra fees for payroll and HR advisory service
Con Bullet No customer support via phone

Runners-up

Workday HCM

Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) is an HR platform with workforce planning, recruiting, and talent management capabilities. With its employee benefits system, you can create a package for your employees that includes medical insurance, dental insurance, FSAs and HSAs, life insurance, retirement plans, and more. But to get pricing information, you’ll have to contact its sales department and request a quote.

ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is an HR software application designed for midsize businesses. It offers payroll, talent management, time and attendance tracking, and employee benefits management—all in one platform. Small-business owners with existing systems, such as Xero, QuickBooks, and Concur, can integrate with ADP Workforce Now. You can offer your employees health plans, FSA accounts, 401(k) plans, commuter benefits, and more. Request a demo and price quote on their site.

Employee Benefits Administration FAQs

What are the must-have features for benefits administration software?

Depending on your needs, there are a variety of useful features for benefits administration software. For example, employee self-service portals lets employees easily enroll in a plan, access their benefits, get answers to questions, and update personal information.

With this feature, plan participants can also make changes to their insurance enrollment status when they experience a qualifying life event, such as marriage, the birth of a child, a 26th birthday (the cutoff age for being covered on parents’ insurance plans), or the loss of a loved one. Here are a few other features you may want to consider when choosing a benefits enrollment platform:

  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Performance management tools
  • Compliance management with government regulations
  • Retirement plan access

Why is benefits administration important?

Small-business owners can benefit from using benefits administration software in several ways:

  • Attract and keep high-quality employees with a great benefits package.
  • Increase accuracy of employee data with automated processes.
  • Boost employee satisfaction and productivity levels.
  • Save time and money previously spent on human resource tasks (think of the hours you’ve spent fielding employees’ questions during the insurance enrollment process alone).
Best Benefits Administration Software
Gusto
Best Overall
Namely
Best for 50 or More Employees
BambooHR
Best for Benefit Tracking
ClearCompany
Best for Talent Management
Zenefits
Best for Business with Few Employees

But how important are employee benefits plans to plan participants? Well, in an Aflac report, small-business employees say that a benefits package directly affects their happiness and satisfaction. In the survey of more than 300 employees, 88% say a good benefits package contributes to their overall job satisfaction.3

Not yet sold on the value of a benefits package? Here’s another statistic that packs a bit of a punch. According to the same survey, 48% of small-business employees say they would possibly consider a lower paying job with better benefits.4

The takeaway

Benefits administration software can help you provide a great benefits package for your employees. We think Gusto is the best choice for most small businesses, but depending on your requirements, you may find that another company will more closely fit your needs.

If you’d like to learn more about the importance of offering benefits, read “Top 5 Reasons to Offer Employee Benefits.”

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

1. Aflac, “Aflac Workforces Report
2. Aflac, “Aflac Workforces Report
3. Aflac, “Aflac Workforces Report
4. Aflac, “Aflac Workforces Report

Business.org Staff Writer
Written by
Business.org Staff Writer
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