Does your payroll company offer a tempting platform for human resources administration? The HRIS, or human resources information system, is a popular bonus offering from payroll services. Use their payroll system at your company, and they’ll throw in their own dashboard for managing your HR info.

Sounds great, right? If a free HRIS just for signing up does sound too good to be true…you guessed it, that’s because it is. There are a number of reasons why a payroll company HRIS isn’t the right choice for your company. Let’s take a look.

A Benefits Admin Platform is Your System of Record

Consider the information housed in your benefits administration platform. You’re thinking about critical employee data, including active and non-active employees along with their status: furloughed, terminated, leave of absence, etc. Many or most employees have dependents, and their documentation, status, and potential end dates need to be stored as well. There are new hire activations, waiting periods, and payroll deductions. There are healthcare plans and supplemental or voluntary benefits. You’re also storing and accessing COBRA administration.

All of your most critical data points and records are housed in your ben admin platform. That makes your benefits admin system, your system of record. For that reason alone, your data should be natively housed in your company’s own system. This data is too important to be stored in a free-with-purchase bonus offer. You need absolute faith in its security and accessibility.

Company-Specific Needs

Payroll-provided HRIS platforms typically offer Benefits Administration “modules” which employers can purchase and add on to their payroll processing system. Just how far can these go?

Consider some of the unique, company-specific benefits data which these modules would require to perform adequately for your employees, things such as benefits documentation, plan coverage and comparison tables, payroll deductions and plan deductibles, enrollment eligibility and dependents documentation…the list goes on and on. Benefit offerings aren’t one-size-fits-all, and neither are the platforms you need to use them effectively.


Payroll system relationships aren’t necessarily life-long partnerships. They’re a cog in a much bigger machine: just one small piece of the mechanism that makes your HR department work efficiently. At some point, your needs may outgrow the payroll system’s offerings. If you’re relying on their benefits administration system, then changing out this one tiny cog could require replacing a large chunk of your HR machine.

An autonomous benefits administration platform which is built for your company prevents this colossal headache every time you need to change a single-service provider.

Reliability and Maintenance

Benefits administration is a two-way street. In order to determine eligibility, facilitate enrollment, and manage claims, benefit carrier systems have to be able to speak with an employer’s management systems. Ensuring that multiple systems speak the same computer language is a serious component of any platform.

Who is responsible for testing carrier feeds, troubleshooting system errors, and updating the platform as benefits change from year to year? While payroll provider HRIS platforms offer Benefits Administration add-ons, the questions of who handles reliability, maintenance, and upgrades remain. With a purpose-built, full service benefits administration platform, an employer knows that information is transmitted between multiple carriers and payroll providers without interruption.

While a free service sounds like a win-win, the truth is that benefits administration is too complex—and too important—to be treated like a bonus offer. With every company needing support for their own unique combination of plan offerings, employee benefits, payroll, and data admin, a central and independent benefits administration platform is the clear solution for these critical services.

Plus, this option saves time and money, typically allowing employers to add additional features and services to their platform, such as new employee onboarding, presentations, custom videos, ACA reporting, and more.

Don’t trust your employees’ most critical data and compensation to a one-size-fits-all model. Contact WBD today to learn about how we can save you time, money, and headaches with a purpose-built benefits administration platform.