The role of the employee benefits manager is to develop and administer the employee benefits programs for large, medium and small organizations
The benefits manager role is prevalent across all industries and can often be referred to as different titles, but essentially is the same role. The benefits manager is usually a member of the human resources department and will be responsible for managing everything from medical insurance and retirement plans to health and wellness benefits. The role of the benefits manager can often be a very stressful, low paying job, that is not well respected by the employees in the remainder of the company. The person in this role is responsible for ensuring all employees are happy with their benefits packages and they have to be constantly available to answer questions and queries from employees, management and vendors. In order to be successful as an employee benefits manager it is necessary for the person to be highly knowledgeable about employee benefits as well as various laws and regulations which apply to them. The benefits manager really does need to love the HR role and their job often expects them to be able to sustain the constant criticism that they may be faced with. On a day to day basis, the criticism can come from employees and management in their organization.
What Key Skills a Benefits Manager Needs to be Successful
Good Analytical Skills
In order for a benefits manager to be successful in their role, they are required to have good analytical skills. These skills are required to research benefit plans and decide which would be the best fit for both the employer and employees in the organization. The benefits manager needs to be able to draw conclusions from very detailed information and make decisions that will support the organization and its employees. In addition to analyzing data to support an organization's benefits programs the benefits manager is sometimes also responsible for analyzing data on salaries and the overall cost of benefits.
Good Computer Skills
In order to keep on top of things and communicate successfully with other employees and employers in the organization, the benefits manager needs to have basic computer skills. They need to be able to create documents, send emails and create presentations to help relay their findings and opinions to their employees and management. There are many online tutorials available to help master computer skills and the benefits manager needs to be computer literate to be able to communicate well, both up and down the organizational chart.
Good Communication Skills
Communication is a key factor in the role of the benefits manager as they frequently need to talk to, and be in contact with, vendors and employees and help resolve issues and queries. They also need to ensure that they are able to clearly convey their messages and make recommendations to the employees and organization management. A good way to improve communication skills is to make messages and communications as simple as possible and ask follow-up questions to ensure employees and vendors understand the correspondence. Conducting successful benefit fairs is also a key communications tool and the benefit manager needs to be able to perform well in this area.
Master Human Resources Software
Most human resources and benefits departments use HR software to enter and track data about employees benefits choices. As there are a variety of different programs available, most companies offer programs and training to help the benefits manager master the use of them. Some of the most commonly used software systems used in HR include ADP, ADS, MIPS, Access 360, SAP SuccessFactors and Oracle HCM.
Be a Good Negotiator
Promoting pay rises and/or benefits changes is something that the benefits manager is often responsible for in the organization. In order to be successful in this task it is essential for a benefits manager to be able to negotiate well. Being a good negotiator will help the benefits manager to create:
- A more attractive compensation package
- Help the organisation to be a more desirable employer
- Raise the employee morale
- Raise the level of employees
- Increase the employee retention time
A great deal of work and effort goes into being a benefits manager however none of the hard work is worth anything unless the benefits manager is highly organized. Using HR software to help manage and maintain compensation and benefits data and information will support the benefits manager in keeping things up to date and well organized.