TriNet Experiences

It has been just over a year now that we have had TriNet as our HR service at work, and my opinion of them gets worse & worse with each interaction. There are definitely a few bright points, but still my overall advice for any small company thinking about using them would be simply, don’t. That is from an employee perspective of course, but hopefully when choosing something like this the employee experience is an important element too.

Browser Incompatibilities

Yup, even in 2016 there are still sites that think it is acceptable to require Internet Explorer. To be fair, the TriNet product manager I spoke with about the most recent browser compatibility issue on the TriNet site did agree that it wasn’t acceptable either. His problem is that certain parts of their site come from third parties who apparently do still think coding for one browser is OK.

As a Mac user, Internet Explorer is not an option. Luckily, Chrome worked where Safari did not. But this is not the first time I’ve had browser problems & trying to complete the initial signup using my iPad was near impossible. The parts that fail are we forms too. This is not cutting edge stuff. They could have been coded in totally standard HTML.

Mobile Support

A year ago, TriNet mobile support was horrendous – basically just a stripped down read-only version of a tiny subset of the website wrapped in a webview. Today, the app has improved tremendously, but it is still only a subset of the content and it is still read-only. It is going to take a huge effort to even get a read-only app up to the point where an employee can reasonably expect to not need the website often. And as soon as you need to change anything, or file a claim, it is back to the website & finding a browser that works. Given we are in 2016 now, and I can pay bills, deposit checks, get real time notifications of credit card charges, file insurance claims and more from straight my phone, how did TriNet get so far behind? Did they totally miss the fact that people are using their phones to complete these tasks quickly more and more?

Inconsistent Information

For the last week or so I have been trying to get the FSA team to approve the third of three claims for daycare last year. Two they approved, one they said needed more information, claiming that the invoice did not show the service dates (we’ll get to that later). They are telling me I need to upload a version of the document with the service dates on it. But when I click on pending claims I get this:

Apparently, even though the claim shows as “Pended” in the transaction history & they have sent me several emails insisting that this one invoice is no good and that I need to get them a version showing the service dates, their site still thinks no documentation is needed. And it won’t let me upload any more either. Poor. If you need more documentation, then the site should show that. Also, even if no documentation is needed, a tab labeled “Claims Pending” should probably show all the pending claims. 

Poor Service

This is perhaps the most annoying part of this whole experience. Last year, using the FSA provider we had prior to TriNet, I was able to snap pictures of the invoices, from the same pre-school, upload them and complete the claims all from my phone. They were approved & paid quickly with no fuss. This year, I first had to find a browser that would work with the TriNet site, then scan the invoices and save them before finally uploading them from my Mac. I guess I should be thankful they didn’t ask me to fax them in.

Several days later, I get an email telling me one is “Pended” because the service dates are not on the invoice. An invoice dated July 27, 2015 stating clearly that it is the first installment for School Year 2015-16. That seems pretty clear to me that it is for service in 2015. Who would ever pay for daycare 6 months ahead? Plus, given the previously approved claims, they can see how much the charge is per month.

I even tried to call to verify that “school year” was something they understood, and the lady I spoke to got it immediately. She could see no reason why there was any doubt about the claim either, but was unable to get the FSA team on the phone. Several days later, I get a repeat of the nonsense that the date of service is not clear. In email; still they cannot call. And still their website says no documention is needed for any claims (and doesn’t show any pending claims either unless you go hunting in the transaction history for it). Incompetent doesn’t even begin to describe my opinion of the FSA team and their portion of the website. 


Avoid TriNet would be my advice to any small company thinking of them. Maybe they look good on paper, but they are terrible for employees. And that’s without taking into account the issue of having to say they are your employer when asked on things like financial forms or medical forms, which just adds more confusion (not to mention feeling like somebody is gaming the system somewhere).

My summary of their service would be that it is dated and difficult to use. While there are signs that they want to bring it into the mobile era, it has a long way to go. At almost a decade into the “smartphone” era, having neither fully featured mobile apps nor a full mobile website is unacceptable. While banks, who are typically slow to innovate, are improving the user experience of their apps, supporting more mobile features and making their apps look slick & modern, TriNet can’t even file an FSA claim through their app yet. In fact, I can’t even check the status of a claim filed from my computer with the app.

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