5 Best Employee Benefits Administration Software for Small Businesses in 2019


In businesses with fewer than 50 workers, 60% of employees say a benefits package plays a big role in how loyal they are to their employers.1

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 for 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.

Gusto: The overall winner

Strengths
  • Competitive pricing for small businesses of all sizes
  • Lifetime employee access to paystubs and W2s
  • Integrations with accounting software
  • Mobile app for smartphones and tablets
Weaknesses
  • No evening or weekend customer support
  • Health benefits availability for 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
PlanMonthly base costCost per month per employeeFeaturesLearn more
Core$39$6Full-service payroll, Health benefits and workers comp administrationSign Up
Compete$39$12Full-service payroll, Health benefits and workers comp administration, Employee on-boarding, Time-off requestsSign Up
Concierge$149$12Full-service payroll, Health benefits and workers comp administration, Employee on-boarding, Time-off requests, HR resource center, Dedicated supportSign Up

Namely: Best for small businesses with 50+ employees

Fun fact

In a 2015 survey by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), 26% of over 800 small businesses offered HSA accounts to their employees.2 Contributions to HSA accounts are deductible from gross pay amounts, which provides a powerful tax break for employees.

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.

Strengths
  • Wide range of employee benefits
  • Access to their online community of more than 1,000 HR leaders
  • Many app integrations
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android users
  • Highly customizable and configurable interface
Weaknesses
  • Setup for only small businesses with more than 15 employees
  • 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.

Strengths
  • Robust benefit-tracking tools
  • No long-term contracts
  • 7-day free trial period
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android users
Weaknesses
  • No employee time tracking and attendance features
  • 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—you must invest in their full platform of services.

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

Zenefits: Best for small businesses with a few employees

For small businesses with a few employees, we favor Zenefits. The Zenefits Standard plan is available for a $40 monthly base fee plus $5 per employee, and it includes an HR platform with hiring and onboarding, payroll and custom reporting features, and a documents app for tracking employees’ information. With Zenefits benefits administration, you can offer your employees health insurance, HSAs and FSAs, life and disability insurance, and commuter benefits.

If you need employee time tracking tools, ACA compliance, and access to resources in the HR library, the Zenefits Advanced plan is available for an additional $4 per employee. Zenefits offers a free Lite HR plan that includes a limited number of features: hiring, onboarding, and employee management. Zenefits also integrates with 35 apps, including Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Intuit QuickBooks, Hive, Expensify, Lyft, Uber, and others.

Strengths
  • Free Lite HR plan
  • 35 prebuilt app integrations
  • Flexible pricing plus 25% savings with an annual contract
  • A mobile app for iOS and Android users
Weaknesses
  • Extra fees for payroll, time-tracking, and performance management add-ons
  • 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 mid-sized 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.

Best Benefits Administration Software
Gusto
Namely
BambooHR
ClearCompany
Zenefits

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 700 employees, 68% say they’d be more content if their benefits packages were improved.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, 57% of small-business employees say they would possibly consider a lower paying job with better benefits.4 Offering a 401(k), health insurance, or even discounted public transportation are popular offerings.

Final verdict

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 another company will more closely fit your needs.

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. National Small Business Association, “NSBA 2015 Small Business Health Care Survey
3. Aflac, “Aflac Workforces Report
4. Aflac, “Aflac Workforces Report

  • Sam Li

    I like what you said about a management software being able to be used as a medium to offer employee benefits. I think that software is a great platform for any kind of employee management and that it can help in any workplace. I’m learning more about such software, so I’ll be sure to keep this article in mind if I ever find myself in need of a way to manage employees. https://www.newsteer.com/features