Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fast-Growing Zenefits Adds Commuter Benefits, Flexible Spending And 401(k) Support As It Moves To Take Over Startup HR

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 1.21.33 AMManaging human resources is one of the more frustrating and time-consuming aspects of running a startup or small business. Because most can’t afford to hire an HR person, all that paperwork usually falls into the lap of founders and management. Knowing that entrepreneurs would rather spend their time growing their business rather than wading through administrative tasks and insurance forms, Zenefits launched in early 2013 to help small businesses remove some of the pain inherent to managing HR. Initially, the company set out to create a platform that would automate the process of setting up and managing group health coverage and payroll, enabling resource-strapped businesses to move administration online (for free) without having to dip into their hiring budget. But Zenefits Co-founder Parker Conrad says that the team quickly found that startups were using the system not just for managing health coverage and payroll, but as an alternative to traditional HRIS or Human Resources Information Systems. In other words, to manage all HR-affiliated tasks. Since then, Zenefits has focused on building out more of those core HRIS features in an effort to allow companies to manage benefits, payroll, HR and everything in between in one place. Soon, the company added the ability for startups to automate hiring and firing of employees, auto-generating the necessary documentation (letters, employee handbooks, agreements and so on). It allows those in charge to add and remove staff from the payroll, for example, while sending automatic alerts to employees and admins via email. In turn, customers can also use Zenefits to track paid time off (or PTO) so that employees can apply for time off, while allowing managers to view balances, liabilities and a calendar of their team’s schedule. This winter, Zenefits is moving even deeper into the territory of enterprise HR services, like that of Workday, HP and many more by continuing to expand its coverage. Today, Zenefits has begun to offer commuter benefits, flexible spending accounts and HRA that can be integrated directly into a business’ HRIS and payroll. These types of plans, which are all pre-tax, allowing employees to save 40 percent on commuting costs, medical costs, childcare costs and, in the case of the HRA, let employers pay deductibles with those pre-tax dollars. This, like all admin and HR work, is a headache to set up and administer, requiring individual applications for each employee and forcing management to manually set up employee



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