Organizational Wellness

Boosting Employee Engagement with a Centralized Employee Benefits Portal

Jan 27, 2023
Last Updated Feb 21, 2024

Sending new hires mountains of paperwork to enroll in their benefits. Combing through files and updating employee plan info. Chasing down team members for updated contact info so important tax documents go to the right address. 

Sounds like a blast, right?

A benefits portal can save you from this hassle, and help you make the most of your employee benefits package — which is one of the most valuable parts of compensating your employees. They’re so important for attracting and retaining top employees, in fact, that 62% of workers would rather have better perks than a higher salary, according to a Staples survey.

Let’s dive into what these portals are, how to use them, and the ways they can strengthen your organization.

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What Is an Employee Benefits Portal?

An employee benefits portal is a centralized online platform with easy access to all the needed information. Team members can see critical details about their perks, like: 

  • Insurance: This platform includes coverage information and plan details. All insurance types from health to dental and vision can be added. 
  • Retirement: Do you offer a 401k? A Roth IRA? Whatever options you provide, a portal allows your employees to see their progress toward retirement. 
  • Wellbeing Benefits: Any programs that help employees take care of themselves are accessible through this hub. For example, if you sponsor access to a gym membership, employees can get activation instructions here.

These tools can come in a few different shapes and sizes. In general, they all offer two main capabilities: 

  • Ability to View Benefits: This lets them see what they’re taking advantage of, as well as others they may want to start using. 
  • Ability to Contribute: The online tool also lets workers take ownership of some of their benefits. There they can update tax forms or check their eligibility for open enrollment

The Advantages of an Employee Benefits Portal

An online platform can make life easier for HR leaders and employees alike. Here’s how.

For HR Departments

One major advantage of a centralized tool is it makes answering questions easier. You and your coworkers have an easy reference point — or a place you can point employees to so they can find answers to their questions directly. It also means you can:

  • Spend Less Time on Admin: HR teams can easily manage many processes — like approving PTO or launching open enrollment — with the click of a button. That helps to reduce the amount of time spent on administration tasks, leaving teams with more time for the organization’s overall goals.
  • Improve Data Accuracy: Tracking how employees use their benefits can contribute to valuable HR KPIs. Running all of the benefits through one system automates collecting this data, and makes it easy to pull when you need to pull performance benchmarks or make new investments. For example, you might find your workers are using your fitness programs frequently. That could be a great sign it’s time to expand your wellness offerings. 

For Employees

For your workforce, these centralized platforms can allow them greater control. Here’s how that plays out: 

  • Instant Benefit Access: With portals, employees can access their information 24/7 from anywhere. This has advantages like being able to pull health insurance cards from the online platform instead of carrying a physical card they might lose. They can also check the balance on their HSA or FSA account at the doctor’s before deciding if they want to opt into a service with an additional copay.
  • Self-service: Employees can opt into plans and packages on their own. They can also change the details of a plan on their device. This helps reduce errors in enrollments. 
  • Benefits Clarity: Access to information in one place helps your workers learn about the benefits that play a major role in their total compensation package. Too often employees don’t know the extent of their package. When they do understand, everyone wins — employee satisfaction grows, and employees that are happy with their benefits are 70% more likely to remain loyal to their employer.

What Should You Include in Your Employee Benefits Portal?

If you decide to switch to an online platform, here are two important categories to consider including.

Key Features of a Benefits Portal Software

When it comes to the functionality of your platform, it can be useful to have:

  • An employee directory and employee search functionality.
  • A benefits library with up-to-date information on all programs and resources.
  • A calendar to help employees easily keep track of important benefit deadlines, like open enrollment.
  • Automated communications, including emails and text messages.
  • A wellness portal that provides access to employee wellness programs, such as health screenings and fitness classes.
  • Tools for workers to update their data.

Employee Resources

In addition to features, you might include a range of resources like these: 

  • Employee Handbooks: Detailed employment policies with copies of signed agreements.
  • Educational Materials: Link to brochures or videos that explain the benefit programs..
  • Training and onboarding materials: Build a library of materials for quick onboarding and development.
  • Payroll and Time-off Information: Include pay stubs. The portal could also list time-off policies and the calendar.
  • Benefits Tracking: Provide details on how to track benefit usage, so individuals can know their standing in real time.

How to Increase Employee Engagement and Retention with a Benefits Portal

Only 32% of employees are engaged at work, so finding ways to boost that matters more than ever. While a benefits portal isn’t a silver bullet, it’s a great way to begin improving satisfaction. 

A platform provides a central space to communicate information about the package you’ve created for your team. That unified space allows you to reach any employee during any stage of their lives. 

For example, if you have an employee with a growing family, you could message them about parental benefits. Or you might know a remote employee is getting a new degree. With the portal, you can let them see how a tuition reimbursement program works. 

This same approach can be a beneficial way to tackle retention as well. In fact, 52% of employees say that their benefits are a reason to stay with their company.

While a centralized platform is only one piece of the retention puzzle, it’s a powerful way to get started. When you have a hub, you can show your company’s mission. In turn, this can motivate them. Essentially, this tool displays how much you value them. 

Boosting Workforce Wellness with an Employee Benefits Portal

When used effectively, a centralized employee benefits portal can be more than administrative convenience (even though it’s great at that too). You can leverage it as a strategic asset to foster a culture of wellbeing and engagement. Streamlined access to benefits can enhance work-life wellness of their employees, fostering an engaged workforce. 

For HR leaders seeking to elevate their organization's approach to employee wellbeing, integrating a benefits portal is a step in the right direction. A great next step is rolling out an employee wellbeing program. These initiatives — whichhave a positive return on investment nine times out of 10 — also boost employee satisfaction and productivity

Speak with a Wellhub wellbeing specialist for help launching a wellness program that works!

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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