3 Essentials for Best-in-Class Benefits Administration

3 Essentials for Best-in-Class Benefits Administration

Few employers can afford the financial and compliance risks of a subpar benefits administration technology provider, but many may not realize when their vendor causes them to compromise. These three essentials will help you avoid unnecessary compromises and find the best partner for your business.

Bringing true value to your organization requires relevant experience, insightful thinking, and the right tools and technology to keep pace with evolving demands.  Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide takes a close look at the three essential aspects of a best-in-class benefits administration partner,  to help you identify the solution that will elevate HR’s impact and make your employee benefits matter every day. Read on for a quick primer on these three essentials.

Essential #1 | Trusted Data Management

Data management processes are the foundation of your technology, and are critical in determining your benefits administration success. Without correct and accurate data, your benefits solution will become unreliable and prone to failure—regardless of how well-designed the front-end experience may seem.

Your technology platform should “just work,” properly handling your intricate data and continually checking for accuracy and logic conflicts to keep errors at bay. However, since data management takes place entirely on the back-end of your system, it can be tough to identify and initially understand good management processes from bad.

Deficient data management processes can cause eligibility rules and gatekeeping measures to fail, which can lead to long-term enrollment and coverage headaches that take an enormous effort to unravel and properly resolve. Plus, benefit errors can erode employees’ confidence, and damage your credibility with executives and other stakeholders that rely on accurate reporting.

Given how prominent benefits are to your organization’s success, your benefits administration outsourcing partner must be able to properly manage your data at all times. Each platform manages data differently, but these differences may not be immediately apparent. How a potential system will manage and maintain your data will be a (if not the) key component of your entire solution’s success.

A worthwhile technology partner will dedicate investments and resources to tackle your toughest benefit challenges, solve your current needs, and flex to fit your future strategies.

Essential #2 | Solution Scalability

To remain viable over time, your benefits administration technology must scale with your business as it shifts and evolves. Your business is not static, and your solution must keep up with both small and large changes to your company’s size, population complexity, organizational structure, and industry changes.

Technology solutions must be purpose-built for scalability, or programming limitations can cause your platform to crash or cause errors. Developing a scalable solution relies on a complete understanding of benefits complexity, the rapid pace of potential changes, and the back-end workings of the system itself.

For example, large legacy providers often offer a wide variety of technology services in addition to benefits administration — such as payroll or human resources information systems (HRIS). At first glance, it can seem like a smart move to place multiple HR needs under one vendor, especially if “bundling” these services offers an initially lower price point.

However, many large providers’ product portfolios often grow due to acquisitions, instead of in-house development. The result is a variety of solutions and data storage processes stitched across highly compartmentalized systems that happen to be listed under the same company name.

From a programming perspective, these systems are highly inflexible, unstable, and often comprised of less-than-optimally secure technology. Even small changes (such as data configurations, tax rules amendments, or state and federal compliance updates) can demand time-consuming and expensive manual labor to resolve, or significantly impact the operational capacity of these systems, causing the entire solution to fail.

Scalability (or the lack thereof) is ingrained in your solution’s architecture—and without the right attention to this trait, your team could suffer down the line.

Essential #3 | Insight-Driven User Experience

Your solution’s user interface should be intuitively designed – however, it’s important to keep in mind that a high-gloss interface design does not necessarily denote the most reliable back-end processes or supportive capabilities.

For example, no matter how inviting a retail store may be, your overall experience will be soured if the product you purchase does not work when you get home. Similarly, no matter how well-designed your platform’s user interface may seem, it will prove worthless if its data is inaccurate, your solution proves unstable, and your employee is not covered adequately (or at all) by their benefits selection.

When evaluating a potential partner’s user experience, look for the following:

  • An easily tailored portal experience that can be designed around each of your unique employee populations.
  • The ability to add targeted communications, educational content, provider links, and coverage documents within the employee experience.
  • Fully integrated decision-support that guides employees during their open enrollment period as well as throughout the plan year, with no need to switch between multiple sites or portals.
  • Convenient access from nearly any internet-connected device, including a mobile application experience that offers push notifications and alerts.

Your technology solution should be intuitive for both employees and administrators to use, and smartly designed to allow employees across all generations to take greater control of their benefit choices.

A best-in-class benefits platform will bring solutions that go beyond benefits enrollment and administration, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze your benefits data and deliver employee-specific recommendations.

A best-in-class benefits administration partner will give your team the efficiency they need to gain back valuable time throughout their day, as well as heighten employees’ benefit experiences to improve outcomes. Download Empyrean’s newest At-A-Glance Guide to learn more on how to identify and evaluate these three essentials within your current vendor or potential partner. 

With the right solution, you’ll have more opportunities to focus on what really matters to you, your employees, and the bottom line of your business.

As you read, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments at info@goempyrean.com.

Benefits Administration Outsourcing: How to Find the Right Path for Your Business

Benefits Administration Outsourcing: How to Find the Right Path for Your Business

Is benefits administration outsourcing right for you? Whether you are considering outsourcing for the first time, or are a seasoned outsourcer searching for a better-fitting solution, make sure you know what points to consider before making your next move.

As health care and employee benefit programs become increasingly more complex, time consuming, and subject to regulatory compliance requirements, employers must accurately assess their team’s capacity when managing this important aspect of their success.  Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide takes you through common considerations and best practices to find the right path for your business and help you make benefits matter every day.   Download the guide now and discover what outsourcing can mean for HR, your strategy, and your workforce.

Here’s a quick primer of the three approaches companies apply to their benefits administration , and a just a few reasons why more organizations are choosing to partner with a best-in-class outsourcing provider to meet their needs.


Often, Human Resource teams insource their benefits administration because they do not feel comfortable relying on a third-party to manage and automate such crucial functions. This discomfort is understandable: Employee benefits – especially health benefits – remain high-visibility stakes all year round, and any errors in your benefits data and execution can spell disaster for employees and quickly diminish confidence in your HR team.

Given this perspective, it’s no surprise that currently insourced organizations include those that have never-before outsourced their benefits administration, as well as those that suffered with a previous outsourcing experience due to a subpar solution or ill-fitting technology platform and vendor.

However, insourcing presents its own costs, risks, and inefficiencies that may not be immediately apparent – while the right outsourcing partner will minimize risks, eliminate inefficiencies, enhance the employee experience, and provide solutions that drive high returns on your investment.

In fact, one report found that HR teams spend 25% less and utilize 30% less labor than their peers when aided by the right processes and technology.1


Co-sourcing is a collaborative approach to benefits administration, where select processes remain in-house (most commonly, call center services), while the remaining responsibilities are outsourced to a trusted provider.

This approach enables organizations to minimize the impact of burdensome administrative tasks – such as enrollment and regulatory compliance  – while maintaining control over more employee-facing services. Co-sourced clients may have reservations about how outsourcing might affect employees’ perceptions of their company culture and their HR department’s effectiveness.

While protecting your company culture is a valid concern, you should know that outsourcing does not have to mean relinquishing control of your culture or lowering your service standards. In fact, a proven outsourcing partner will actually enrich the way employees view their benefits and your company’s commitment to their wellbeing.

While you may have the resources to manage certain aspects of your benefits administration in-house, ask yourself if those resources would be put to more meaningful use if directed towards other priorities? Don’t let common misconceptions about outsourcing limit the impact you can have on your workforce and business.


As health care and employee benefits continue to become more complex, and employee expectations of benefits value and diversity continues to rise; as such, more businesses are choosing to fully outsource their benefits administration. In fact, 80% of today’s employers utilize outsourcing to manage at least one benefits-related task, and 38% consider outsourcing to be a critical part of their benefits strategy (a 41% increase since 2014).2

Full-service outsourcing lets HR leaders tackle the minutiae of benefits administration and enrollment, and take control of their strategy, without worrying that something has been left behind.

Today the movement towards benefits administration outsourcing remains prevalent, with 40% of employers now utilizing HR technology to manage their benefits administration. 78% of employers use third-party benefits administration technology, and over half of those employers choose to fully outsource their administration.2

The right partner will provide more than a benefits administration system: You’ll also gain the expertise of a knowledgeable and dedicated team, which can provide invaluable insights and best practice recommendations that measurably improve outcomes and drive greater ROI. In some cases, an outsourcing service team will gain the most complete understanding of their client’s benefit offering (even when compared to the client’s own HR team).

HR and benefits executives across every company size and industry are realizing the advantages that outsourcing brings to their businesses. Leveraging a modern benefits administration vendor can provide the technology and expertise to help you eliminate compromises, mitigate risks, and stay prepared for future changes.

So, how can you decide if outsourcing your benefits administration is right for your organization?

A good place to start is by asking your internal staff and business partners the following questions:

  • Do we have the appropriate resources and infrastructure to handle all aspects of our benefits administration in-house?
  • Do we have the financial support to develop and maintain the skill sets and technology needed to most effectively manage our benefits administration?
  • Do we have the in-house expertise to understand and keep up with complex regulatory compliance requirements?
  • Can we continue to support the strategic initiatives necessary for our company’s growth while also internally managing all of our daily administrative functions?
  • Are we providing the personalized support employees need to make smarter benefit choices, efficiently utilize their benefits, and live healthier, happier lives?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, now may be a smart time to discuss how a best-in-class benefits administration outsourcing partner can positively impact your company.

Whether outsourcing your benefits administration for the first time or making the move to a new vendor, the ultimate goal is to make the most of your investment and ensure long-term success. When you consider the benefits, outsourcing can be a cost-effective solution that greatly increase your team’s productivity, increase employee engagement and retention, and lower costly errors and risks. However, the benefits administration partner you choose must be capable of tailoring to your unique strategy and goals, and adapt and scale to changes within your organization and industry over time.

Download Empyrean’s latest guide to learn more, and discover if outsourcing is the right solution to tackle your company’s complex challenges.

As you read, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments at info@goempyrean.com.


  1. “Raising the World-Class Bar in HR Through Digital Transformation.” The Hackett Group, Inc. Miami, Florida. June 2017.
  2. “Game Changer: The Digitalization of Employee Benefits Delivery.” The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. New York, New York. May 2018.
3 Strategies to Prepare for Annual Enrollment

3 Strategies to Prepare for Annual Enrollment

Annual enrollment (AE) might be your busiest time of the year, but it doesn’t have to mean long nights and looming headaches. With the right planning and support, this AE can be your easiest and most effective yet.

Financial Wellness Success: How You Can Help Employees Take Control of their Health and Wealth

Financial Wellness Success: How You Can Help Employees Take Control of their Health and Wealth

Finances are a major source of employee stress, and can negatively impact your employees’ productivity, health, and happiness. With so much riding on financial wellbeing, financial wellness is gaining popularity in the realm of employee benefits. How can you help employees address their health and wealth, while ensuring a valuable return on your investment?

Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide takes a look at the latest trends and factors impacting employees’ financial wellness and success.  Download your copy for an in-depth look at the financial challenges facing today’s diverse workforce, and discover practical solutions that help you care for employees’ wallets and wellbeing – and optimize your benefits strategy in the process.

You may be wondering why employees need a financial wellness program in the first place. The reality is that money concerns don’t just affect employees’ bank accounts: financial stress can a have huge impact on employees’ productivity, job satisfaction, and even their healthcare claim costs.

59% of employees say that finances are their main source of stress: money issues are cited as more stressful than work-, relationship-, or health-related stressors combined.1 Employees across all generations rank personal finances as their main reason for stress, demonstrating a need for financial wellness support across all your workforce’s demographics and generational profiles.

While it may be true that money can’t buy happiness or love (according to The Beatles), finances play a huge role in ensuring employees and their families have the baseline resources and care they need. Given the importance of finances on everyday life, money concerns can cause significant issues for both employees and employers alike.

How do you define financial wellness? The majority of employees say financial wellness means being stress-free and stable when it comes to their finances.1 Unfortunately, there is a large disconnect between employees’ financial goals and their reality.

A whopping 38% of employees feel less than financially well,2 and 49% are struggling just to make ends meet each month. Meanwhile, only 37% of employees believe their pay has kept up with the rising cost of living.1

35% of employees report that finances have been a distraction at work, and nearly half of those employees admit to spending three hours or more each week thinking about their finances or managing issues related to their finances.1

More than one-fifth of employees say financial concerns have affected their productivity at work. In addition, nearly a third of employees say financial worries have impacted their at-home relationships and their health, which can cause additional problems (and may even lead to rising claim costs) down the line.1

The right financial wellness program can deliver big benefits for your company, including higher employee satisfaction and lower stress rates, better performance, lower healthcare costs, and greater employee retention.2 A financial wellness program may help you attract and retain talent: Of employees that experience financial stress, 78% say they would be attracted to another company that cares more about their financial well-being.1 However, as little as 2% of employers have officially implemented a financial wellness program as part of their benefits package.2

Although nearly all employees can benefit from the right financial wellness program, your approach should provide personalized guidance to each employee to help them reach their specific goals. However, benefit teams can become easily overwhelmed when trying to design and implement a program that addresses all the variables involved in reaching financial security, especially among each generation.

The complex variety of finance-related planning, decisions, and maintenance – along with differing levels of financial education and comprehension – can leave employees confused and benefit teams struggling to find a frustration-free solution. The right financial wellness support will address a host of cost concerns and savings goals (including healthcare, education, retirement, and more) instead of focusing on piecemeal issues alone.

For example, human resources professionals might find it nearly impossible to consider employee benefits and finances without immediately thinking about health coverage. For employees outside of your HR department, however, this connection may not be apparent. Despite being the most costly benefit for both companies and participants, just 7% of employees consider healthcare an important element of their financial success.2 This figure is highly troubling, and has major consequences for both employees and employers – especially as consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) remain a prevalent coverage option.

A smart and integrated recommendation engine within your benefits enrollment experience can help employees discover the most relevant and cost-effective care for their needs. When combined with other financial wellness tools, this decision support technology can empower employees to make more confident coverage choices, without spending hours translating insurance jargon or sifting through tedious plan documents. This technology should also apply to year-round plan utilization, providing valuable information to help employees better utilize their coverage, provider choices, voluntary benefits, and savings account options.

Benefits selection and utilization are just one aspect of financial wellbeing, however. When it comes to truly mastering their finances, employees need a financial wellness action plan. Employees require relevant and achievable step-by-step guidance that helps them meet their individual priorities – whether it’s building an emergency fund, paying down debt, saving for a car or house, or growing their child’s college fund. This kind of insight must take into account the entire scope of an employee’s financial picture, including accounts, debts, budget concerns, benefit policies, investments, and more.

The easiest and most effective way to provide this level of financial guidance is through your benefits administration platformAn integrated financial wellness and benefits experience provides easy access to these resources, encourages sustained benefits engagement, and provides invaluable data and insights into the needs of your workforce – which you can then leverage to enrich and optimize your benefits strategy.

Incorporating financial wellness within your larger benefits experience encourages employees to connect these key concepts together. By combining powerful technology, alongside smarter coverage and financial decision-support, you can provide the tools employees need to feel confident in their finances and more focused at work and beyond. Plus, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the matters that are affecting and motivating your workforce – and your strategy, team, and business will reap tangible rewards in the process.

Employees want and need financial wellness support: 86% of employees say they are likely to participate in such a program if offered by their employer.2 Incorporating financial support into your benefit experience and strategy will help destigmatize money-related stress, fuel positive business outcomes, and make financial wellness a more achievable goal for your workforce.

For a comprehensive look at what financial wellness and enterprise benefits administration software can do for your business, download Empyrean’s latest At-A-Glance Guide. You’ll learn valuable solutions to gain a more productive organization, a stronger strategy, and happy employees.

As always, we’d love to get your thoughts. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments at info@goempyrean.com.



  1. “PwC’s 8th Annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey.” PwC US. New York, NY. June 2019.
  2. “2018 Bank of America Merrill Lynch Workplace Benefits Report.” Bank of America Corporation. Charlotte, NC. August 2018.
Leverage Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Automation to Achieve Better Benefit Outcomes

Leverage Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Automation to Achieve Better Benefit Outcomes

Automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning are changing the way many organizations do business – but what does this mean for HR’s undeniably human-centric work?

Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide, Analytics and AI in HR, explores how businesses can leverage AI, machine learning, and data analysis to achieve better benefit outcomes. Download this free guide and learn how properly applying the latest advancements in smart technology can boost your strategy, guide and engage employees year-round, and help save your employees and your company substantial health care costs every year.

Before you can take advantage of the latest technology, however, it helps to understand the basics. Here’s a quick primer.


Automated technology is programmed to complete routine, predictable, and often physical tasks – think factory robots on an assembly line. Automation increases efficiency and helps eliminate human error that can occur as a result of manual processes.

In its most basic form, HR software and benefits administration technology is an example of automation at work. Rules-based gatekeeping , scheduled file transfers, and employee benefits enrollment are all automated processes that (ideally) make life easier and eliminate potential errors for benefit teams and employees.

Just because a technology is automated, however, does not mean that the technology is smart.

On its own, basic automated technology lacks the ability to understand concepts, recognize problems, or identify patterns that may arise over the course of its use. For technology to be smart, it needs artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) programming empowers technology to identify concepts, recognize patterns, and analyze complex rules to quickly develop and offer solutions for a multitude of challenges. The goal of AI is to create smarter technology that can “think” and solve problems like a human, but with the computing capabilities and speed of modern machines. Machine learning is a component of AI, enabling AI-equipped technology to better analyze and learn from data.

So how do these concepts apply to – and improve – your business intelligence and the execution of your benefits strategy? When it comes to benefits, what is the most valuable application for this new generation of technology?


Data, AI, and machine learning algorithms can come together to positively influence the employee experience and streamline your workload. While analytics may have been previously viewed as something mainly utilized for operations and finance departments, the reality is that analyzing data is now a critical aspect of today’s successful benefit programs and administration.

Employees are often overwhelmed by benefit complexity, and want an easy answer to the question, “What’s the best plan or path to care for me?… But of course, the answer to this question is highly personal and dependent on each employee’s unique circumstances. By analyzing employees’ very own data and behavior, the answer to this question is more accessible and more accurate than ever.

Modern and more robust decision support uses claims data, consumer data, and health indicator data sets to provide a clear and objective view of employees’ care-related spending, coverage utilization patterns, purchasing patterns, and opportunities for consumer-centric plan utilization and selection.

Combining a data analytics engine into your decision support enables employees to finally make use of their own data – without the need for spreadsheets, number-crunching, or a statistics degree. Your benefits administration platform should offer a seamless solution that easily incorporates this technology and predictive analytics into your benefits offering.

For example, imagine that an employee has just welcomed a new child to their family. Now, they are tasked with enrolling in their benefits, but are unsure if they should change their medical insurance coverage after this major life event. How might their anxiety and experience change if they encountered the following message when they went to enroll on your benefits platform?

“Congratulations on your baby delivery this year! Despite it costing you $6,500, the plan you had this year was the best option for you, and you saved $500 overall. Keeping your plan will save you money next year too.”

This message not only provides a clear recommendation to your employees, as well as offer a cost-savings prediction in the year ahead, but also provides understanding support and encouragement that your employees crave and will appreciate.

In addition to supporting decision-making during enrollment, an advanced analytics engine should also help facilitate year-round engagement and look out for your employees’ financial and health care needs. Personalized messages based on recent claims and utilization patterns will help employees better understand how they can utilize their healthcare coverage, provider choices, voluntary benefits, and savings account options in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. Leveraging new technologies and benefits management software solutions in conjunction with data has big advantages for your business: Employees can save a median of $1,500, and employers can save up to 7% on their healthcare costs.

In a world where algorithms help us decide the next article to read, next song to listen to, and even the next job we’ll hold, it is critical that HR paves the way for technology to better the lives of employees and their families. As benefit leaders achieve greater visibility and influence across organizations of all sizes and complexity, they are expected to bring new solutions to classic challenges and emerging problems alike. How well are you prepared for HR’s new chapter?

For an in-depth look at how this technology is impacting HR, download the At-A-Glance Guide, Analytics and AI in HR: Leveraging Data to Take Control of Your Benefits Strategy. As you read, we’d love to get your thoughts. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments at info@goempyrean.com.

Help Employees Give Flowers, Not the Flu, with Telehealth

Help Employees Give Flowers, Not the Flu, with Telehealth

By Jill Hernandez, Director of Specialty Insurance Solutions

It’s February, which means love is in the air…and unfortunately, so are germs.

You don’t have to be a medical professional to know that doctor’s offices are especially crowded this time of year, with low temperatures bringing lower immune systems. Employers no doubt are struggling to find effective ways to remain productive as employees take higher rates of sick days and navigate the healthcare system. And if you have tiny petri dishes – ahem, children – like me, you’re on high alert this time of year for the first sign of illness in your home.

Drive Smart Enrollment with Decision-Support Tools: The 4 Crucial Elements of an Effective Recommendation Engine

Drive Smart Enrollment with Decision-Support Tools: The 4 Crucial Elements of an Effective Recommendation Engine

Benefits administration technology is reshaping the way employees engage with their benefits—and decision-support tools are a significant factor driving this change. To accommodate the needs of a diverse workforce, however, HR leaders must consider the quality and context of the tools and technology they leverage.

Top Tips to Create a Successful Benefits Administration Request for Proposal (RFP)

Top Tips to Create a Successful Benefits Administration Request for Proposal (RFP)

The request for proposal (RFP) is a key element when evaluating benefit administration providers. RFP responses can provide a look under the hood of a potential partner’s solution and services, but in order to get the most value from the RFP process, it’s crucial that your questionnaire goes beyond a simple “check-the-box” exercise.

The Value of Voluntary: How to Engage Your Employees with Supplemental Coverage

The Value of Voluntary: How to Engage Your Employees with Supplemental Coverage

Voluntary benefits are increasingly essential to employee peace of mind and financial wellbeing, but many employees still struggle to understand how their supplemental plans work. This confusion results in coverage gaps and limited job satisfaction – but a tailored enrollment and benefits experience can help.

3 Tips to Get Ahead of Annual Enrollment

3 Tips to Get Ahead of Annual Enrollment

As employers enter the second-half of the year, many HR professionals are also rapidly approaching their company’s Annual Enrollment (AE) period. AE is the busiest time of the year for most benefit teams – but planning a successful AE doesn’t have to be stressful.

HR in the C-Suite: How to Gain Influence as an HR Leader

HR in the C-Suite: How to Gain Influence as an HR Leader

HR is a central pillar of every employer’s success, but many organizations struggle to leverage the full impact that Human Resources can have on their businesses. How can you demonstrate value as a strategic leader and increase C-suite support for your initiatives?

Affordable Care Act Update 2018: ACA Requirements for Employers

Affordable Care Act Update 2018: ACA Requirements for Employers

Over a year into the Trump presidency and the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still as unclear as ever, at least for employers. The Internal Revenue Service has made no move to alter companies’ ACA compliance and reporting requirements – even as the Individual Mandate becomes obsolete in 2019. And after years of promising penalties, the IRS is now actively pursuing fines for ACA non-compliance, which could end up impacting companies in a very big way.

The 3 Essential Traits of Best-in-Class Benefits Administration Technology

The 3 Essential Traits of Best-in-Class Benefits Administration Technology

Employee benefits can be a demanding part of your daily business – but this doesn’t have to be the case. A best-in-class benefits administration partner will give your team the boost needed to make the most out of each day. But what should you expect from a premier provider?

Wellness at Work: 3 Keys for Healthier, Happier, and More Productive Employees

Wellness at Work: 3 Keys for Healthier, Happier, and More Productive Employees

An engaging employee wellness program can bring about positive and lasting change that can benefit your workforce and your bottom line. But what is the best way to drive wellness success without burdening your team?

5 Ways Benefits Administration Technology Enables HR Benefits Risk Management

5 Ways Benefits Administration Technology Enables HR Benefits Risk Management

Staying ahead of risks is a critical priority for HR leaders, but ever-evolving regulations and shifting complexities make it challenging. Concerns can quickly spiral into major issues that are costly and time-consuming to resolve – but smarter solutions will help you take a more proactive approach to human resources risk management.