5 Best Employee Benefits Administration Software for Small Businesses in 2022

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 option
Zenefits
Zenefits
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$10.00/employee
/mo
  • pro
    Free Lite HR plan
  • pro
    Flexible pricing and potential savings
  • con
    Extra fees for payroll and HR advisory service
Best for 50-plus employees
ADP
ADP
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Custom pricing
  • pro
    Full range of benefits and HR tools
  • pro
    Supports any number of workers
  • con
    Tall learning curve
Best for simplicity
Goco
GoCo
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting from
$5.00/employee
/mo
  • pro
    Customized pricing starting at $5.00/person/mo.
  • pro
    Easy-to-use platform
  • con
    Few in-house employee benefits included
Best for retirement plans
Paychex
Paychex
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting from $39.00 + $5.00/employee/mo
  • pro
    Top 401(k) plan administrator in the US
  • pro
    Full service benefits implementation
  • con
    Jargon-filled educational materials
Best for a few employees
Gusto
Gusto
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$40.00 + $6.00/employee
/mo
  • pro
    Competitive pricing for small businesses
  • pro
    One-month free trial
  • con
    No evening or weekend customer support

Data effective 10/4/22. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

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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. Organizations 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 2022

Comparing the best employee benefits administration software

Brand
Starting price (monthly)
Payroll service available
Mobile app available
Get Started
$10.00/employee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Custom pricing
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$5.00/employee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$39.00 + $5.00/employee, monthly
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$40.00 + $6.00/employee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data effective 10/4/22. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Zenefits: The overall winner

Zenefits
Zenefits
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$10.00/employee.mo
  • pro
    Tailored to small businesses
  • pro
    Simple, intuitive user interface

Data effective 10/4/22. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Zenefits steals the show for its all-encompassing human resource administration package that is highly affordable for smaller businesses.

Specifically, the Essentials plan starts at $10 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 $20 per month per employee, or try the Zen plan for $27 per month per employee if you’d like built-in well-being assessments. Keep in mind that paying annually can save you upwards of 25%.

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.

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

ADP: Best for small businesses with 50+ employees

ADP
ADP
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Custom pricing
  • pro
    Powerful, comprehensive HR suite
  • pro
    Abundant third-party integrations

Data effective 10/4/22. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

ADP is a well-established household name in the personnel administration field for good reason.

The immensely powerful software suite handles practically every benefit your organization could offer. All the basics, such as health insurance and 401(k) plans, are covered along with less prominent perks, like pet insurance  and a built-in employee rewards platform.

But benefits are only half the story. ADP Workforce Now is a comprehensive human resource 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.

Bottom line, combining its elaborate benefits offerings with its HR software solutions makes ADP a force to be reckoned with.

Strengths
pro Long-standing name brand appeal
pro Comprehensive all-in-one package
pro Ideal for any number of employees
Weaknesses
con Opaque pricing
con Tall learning curve

GoCo: Best for simplicity

Goco
GoCo
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starts at
$5.00/employee/mo.
  • pro
    Customizable, à la carte HR tools
  • pro
    Superb customer service

Data effective 10/4/22. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

If you need something affordable and easy to grasp, GoCo is your hero. The intuitive platform lets you build your own software package starting at $5 per employee monthly. This means you only choose the tools you need, like payroll and time tracking, making it superbly convenient.

Apart from this customizable appeal, the platform’s employee benefits offering is quite thoughtful. While it doesn’t natively support every possible perk, it does synchronize seamlessly with most third-party insurance plans and health savings accounts. This freedom to pick and choose any perk provider is valuable since many competitors charge extra for it, if they support third-party insurance brokers at all.

We also love GoCo’s keen eye for customer service. Every client regardless of budget is assigned a dedicated account manager, making it easy to get personalized support. Plus, everyone can tap into phone, email, and live chat support—options that many competitors often lack or sell as a premium service.

Strengths
pro Simple, easy-to-use platform
pro Unrestricted access to third-party insurance plan providers
pro Superb customer service
Weaknesses
con Few in-house employee benefits included
con Limited analytics
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Paychex: Best for retirement plans

Paychex
Paychex
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starts at
$39.00 + $5.00/employee/mo.
  • pro
    Largest 401(k) administrator in the US
  • pro
    Abundant insurance products

Data effective 10/4/22. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Paychex oversees the most 401(k) retirement plans of any provider in the United States, according to industry publication Plansponsor.2 This means the New York-based company has a few tricks up its sleeve to help small-business employers compete with larger players when it comes to attracting talent.

In particular, Paychex offers pooled 401(k) plans. This newer retirement strategy involves many unrelated employers combining assets and letting a trusted administrator (in this case, Paychex) handle the day-to-day oversight. This results in rock-bottom fees and little liability for employers, making 401(k) plans more accessible to traditionally underserved small businesses.

Paychex extends this small-business leverage further with its full-service, in-house benefits brokers who can gracefully walk you through nearly every insurance product imaginable. We bet you didn’t launch your business to spend all day researching insurance policies, so this is a super convenient perk often absent in small competitors.

Strengths
pro Pooled 401(k) retirement plans
pro Full-service insurance benefit setup
pro Comprehensive human resource (HR) software suite
Weaknesses
con Opaque pricing
con Jargon-filled educational materials

Gusto: Best for small businesses with a few employees

Gusto
Gusto
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$40.00 + $6.00/employee/mo.
  • pro
    Full-service payroll and tax filing
  • pro
    Support from HR professionals

Data effective 10/4/22. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Strengths
pro Competitive pricing for small businesses of all sizes
pro Lifetime employee access to paystubs and W-2s
pro Integrations with accounting and time-tracking software
pro Mobile app for smartphones and tablets
Weaknesses
con No evening or weekend customer support
con Health benefits available in only 37 states

Gusto is our top choice for small businesses with a limited workforce. That’s because the all-in-one solution boasts its Premium service that serves up unlimited access to human resource professionals. This means smaller entities can reduce or eliminate the need to hire in-house HR specialists, saving massive amounts of cash as a result.

Apart from top-notch expert support, Gusto solves more than just benefits administration. Full-service payroll and tax filing, workers compensation, an employee self-service portal, and unlimited support via phone, email, and chat are just a few other perks. 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.

Small-business owners can choose from three different plans, including the Simple plan, which is available for $40 per month plus $6 per employee. Add-ons, such as 401(k) plans, life insurance, and HSA accounts cost extra. 

Gusto employee benefits administration software plans

Plan
Monthly base cost
Cost per month per employee
Features
Learn more
Simple$40.00$6.00● Full-service payroll
● Health benefits and workers comp administration

Plus

$80.00$12.00● Full-service payroll
● Health benefits and workers comp administration
● Employee onboarding
● Time-off requests

Premium

Exclusive pricingExclusive pricing● Full-service payroll
● Health benefits and workers comp administration
● Employee onboarding
● Time-off requests
● HR resource center
● Dedicated support

Data effective 10/4/22. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Honorable mention

Workday HCM

Workday
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Custom pricing
  • pro
    Full-service payroll and tax filing
  • pro
    Support from HR professionals

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.

The takeaway

Benefits administration software can help you provide a great benefits package for your employees. We think Zenefits 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.”

Related content

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).

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.1

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.1

Methodology

We analyzed each platform's breadth of employee benefits, ease-of-use, customer service quality, insurance choices, benefit administration fees, and learning curve, among other factors.

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.” Accessed October 4, 2022.
  2. Paychex, “Paychex Ranks as Largest Provider of 401(k) Recordkeeping Plans for 10th Consecutive Year.” July 31, 2020. Accessed October 4, 2022.
Ian Agar
Written by
Ian Agar
Ian covers human resource administration at Business.org. His expertise stems from his four years as a military HR generalist in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he held the title of yeoman and became an Oracle Peoplesoft maestro. Ian also owned an ecommerce small business for over three years and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He was previously a venture capital reporter at PitchBook Data, and his work can be seen on Seeking Alpha, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance.
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