Beneficial Co-bot for Benefits Administration

Is there such a thing as a beneficial co-bot?  Can co-bot assistants really help in the world of Human Resources?  The answer to both questions is a resounding “Yes”! Read on to find out how our client’s Benefits Administrator gets a beneficial co-bot to help her handle employee updates.

beneficial co-bot for benefits administration

New Payroll System

Going to a new payroll system was a necessity for our client to cut costs, save time, and give employees their own secure portals.  These portals allow employees to update their personal information and view pay stubs.  After several months, their new payroll system was up and running correctly without any issues.  However, when an employee logged a name change in their portal, it was the Benefits Administrator’s responsibility to complete employee name changes, update the employee’s I-9 form, and notify other system administrators.

This new payroll system was not able to generate email notifications regarding employee changes; however, the system was able to generate reports. But the Benefits Administrator soon found, these reports required her to do additional research. Her key report was “a core dump” of all employees changes that were made in the system.  Changes which included, name, spouse, dependents, beneficiaries, direct deposit, address, tax withholding, job title, etc.  Normally, the report contained 1,600 rows.  However, the report swelled to 4,090 rows when the company went through their annual review. She couldn’t determine what changed for an employee, because the report didn’t show the historical information before the update.  She had to come up with a work-around, because she had to complete these name changes before the next payroll.


Each pay period, just before payroll ran, she generated the employee master change list.  She sorted the report and relying on her memory, she scanned the report looking for unfamiliar names.  For those employees she didn’t recognize, she compared the payroll name to the HR system name. Just checking for these changes consumed up to 2 hours in each payroll cycle.

Once she found an employee with a name change, she emailed the employee to fill out a Residency Certificate form in the payroll system.  Secondly, she submitted a help desk to her technical support department to update the employee in Active Directory (AD) which controls the employee’s login information for all company systems.  Thirdly, she made updates across all HR systems, including external benefits systems. Finally, she sent emails to other administrators for systems that she couldn’t access.

Our client’s Benefits Administrator went through a total of 11 steps for each name change.  Her manual work-around, including vigilant monitoring to ensure nothing slipped through the cracks, took at least a half-hour per name change. And she knew it was subject to human error, because she occasionally had to correct things before the next payroll run.  She had to find out if there truly was a beneficial co-bot for a Benefits Administrator.

Can this Benefits Administrator benefit from a Co-bot?

The Benefits Administrator contacted BerkOne to explore possibilities of co-bot automation.  While meeting with our RPA specialists, she discovered that her dream solution was a combination of a co-bot and additional tools to automate workflows and fill out forms. She settled on a design that would automate the name changes updates in 2 phases.  Phase 1, consisting of 6 steps, would include running the employee master change report, comparing the report, sending email notifications, kicking off workflows/assignments, updating the I-9 form, and submitting the helpdesk.  Phase 2 would cover the remaining 5 steps.  She left the meeting feeling optimistic about her future beneficial co-bot.

Phase 1 Details

The co-bot starts phase 1 by populating a database with all names from the payroll system’s employee master change list. It inputs the next payroll report into the same database and runs a name comparison.  If there are any name changes, the co-bot will:

  • Email the employee to complete the Residency Certification form in the payroll system.
  • Update the index field name in the I-9 repository.
  • Submit a help desk to their technical support department to update Active Directory (AD).
  • Once the technical support department confirms the AD update, the co-bot emails the Benefits Administrator to update benefits systems. Plus, it sends emails to designated HR Personnel to update other HR systems.
  • Finally, it emails administrators requesting updates to other company systems.

The client’s Benefits Administrator confirmed to BerkOne that they are processing “live” name changes through the system.  She said it was easy and works very well!  And she is thrilled that her beneficial co-bot has put valuable time back in her schedule.  She is now able to use this time to focus on her company’s wellness programs to improve their employees’ health. 

Phase 2 Planned Enhancements

Phase 2 co-bot enhancements will include making the name change in the client’s Employee Access Level database and in online systems of all external benefit providers, i.e. medical, HSA, dental, vision, and life insurance. Eventually, the co-bot will email fillable benefit forms to employees to complete, sign, and return their completed forms back via email.