Zenefits on Wednesday launched an iPhone application designed to give employees on-demand access to their benefits, flexible spending and salary data.

The app provides access to a repository of healthcare benefits and policy details, time-off requests with approval workflow and hour tracking, real-time balance access for flexible spending accounts, historic pay stub information, and a digital employee directory. Zenefits says additional functions are planned for release this year, and an Android OS version of the app is scheduled for the fall. Employees of companies that use Zenefits can download and access the app immediately.

The Zenefits mobile app is targeted at small business owners, whom the company says are estimated to spend 25-35% of their business day managing such HR needs. Arisa Amano, Zenefits vice-president of product, says that putting mobile access to such information in the hands of employees will help improve benefits education on an individual level as well.

Easy access
“The moment when you need your summary of benefits most is when you’re walking into your doctor’s office or the pharmacy, not when you’re in the middle of your work day,” Amano says. “The Zenefits mobile app lets people see if a procedure is covered, confirm their commuter benefits balance while riding a train, or request time off when making plans with friends and family.”

Zenefits Director of Product Itai Turbahn says that connecting employees more closely with their benefits information can improve retention and recruitment, “which is critical to growing their business.” Digitizing paper workflow and approval for things like time-off requests can allow employees to maximize the use of their benefits, while reviewing their coverage and balance information helps them make more informed personal decisions, improving both productivity and work-life balance.

“People use their mobile devices for virtually everything both at work and at home,” Turbahn says. “Many of our users are not in front of a computer all day; they are helping customers.”

If employees have greater individual access to their benefits information and greater connection to one another, where does that leave benefit advisers? Turbahn believes the reduction in “inbound requests” gives them more time that can potentially be devoted to benefits education, policy navigation, or other one-on-one conversations.

“Zenefits streamlines administrative work and can eliminate thousands of hours of paperwork so that HR and benefits teams can focus on helping their organization grow, not busy work,” he says. “The mobile app will not add any extra work for advisors, and for many employees it will increase engagement.”

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