Employee benefits manager job responsibilities, requirements and how to become one
The employee benefits manager at any organization has a variety of hats to wear during their work day and their time is often split between managing other staff in their division and performing benefit tasks themselves. Some of their responsibilities include managing all staff related matters for any employee benefits that are health, medical, wellness, retirement, leave and employee discount offers. They also will be involved in planning and executing benefit fair and employee engagement events. On a day to day basis there are many other jobs they may have to do, depending on how their organization is structured. The daily workload of the employee benefits manager can also involve planning, developing and overseeing programs to compensate employees. In some cases this involves both pay compensation as well as the employee benefits compensation and in some organisations the role is divided between two different people the benefits manager and the compensation manager.
Differences Between the Compensation Manager and the Benefit Manager:
The Compensation Manager
The compensation manager of a company is usually responsible for managing and organizing the pay structure of all employees whereas the benefits manager is employed to administer the company’s employee benefits program. The compensations manager has to monitor market conditions and be aware of government regulations to ensure the companies pay rates are current and competitive. The compensation manager also has to work on company pay policies and designing pay-for-performance plans which will include information about annual bonuses and incentive pay. The compensation manager may sometimes be involved in determining commission rates and other staff incentives.
The Benefits Manager
The employee benefits manager is responsible for programs that include plans for retirement, leave policies, wellness programs and many other responsibilities. The benefits manager is often responsible for selecting the benefits vendors and managing the enrollment process. They also frequently monitor government regulations and market trends to make sure that the employee benefits programs are legal and competitive. The benefits manager is required to be an expert on the subject of employee benefits, so that they can be fully prepared to answer employee and vendor questions. They will also support employee and vendor escalations, when problems arise. On a daily basis the benefits manager can work on a variety of roles including,
- Designing fair and attractive benefits programs
- Preparing benefits budgets
- Contacting and communicating with benefits vendors
- Advise the company of the best options for employee benefits
- Manage vendor payments where necessary
- Ensure the benefits programs meet the employees needs and comply with legal requirements.
- Develop an employee benefit program with HR to attract good employees
- Conduct research on employee satisfaction and respond accordingly to the results
- Organize and plan an employee benefit fair that brings together employees and employee benefit vendors
How To Become an Employee Benefits Manager
The role of the employee benefits manager requires a candidate to have at least a bachelor's degree in business management, business administration, finance or some other related field. Some larger organizations also require candidates to have a master's degree in human resource management or business administration, however this is not always the case. Some work experience in a human resources or management field capacity is also very helpful when applying for a job as an employee benefits manager. Some associations such as The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plan and WorldatWork, offer specialized programs that allow candidates to specialize in compensation and benefits. Although these certifications are not required, they do show the credibility and expertise of a candidate so can be beneficial in making a candidate stand out from the rest of the field. The programs for gaining the special certifications often require many years of experience to qualify. Benefits managers are required to possess many skills like a good business acumen, excellent communication skills, good writing skills and good analytical skills. Perhaps most importantly, they must also have good communication and leadership skills and be able to weather the storm of employee ire and footfall when they darken the office doorway.