Employee Benefits Coordinator  What They Do

Insider Info

dotEmployee benefits coordinators make sure employees get what's coming to them -- in a good way. They handle the administration of benefits. Health insurance and pensions form the bulk of their responsibilities.

Pension benefits might include savings, profit sharing and stock ownership plans. Health benefits may include long-term illness insurance and dental insurance.

dotBenefits coordinators usually work in the human resources department. In a small organization, one person may handle all aspects of human resources, including benefits. In larger organizations, staff will specialize -- one area being employee benefits.

Employee benefits coordinators go by many names. Common names are employee benefits specialists, analysts or representatives. They might also be called employee benefits managers, though this is typically a higher-level position.

"Outside of health insurance, we also purchase life insurance, disability insurance, flex spending accounts for our employees, and other benefits like deferred compensation which is like a supplemental retirement account..." says Paul Nerland. He's an employee benefits manager for the County of Fresno, California.

Benefits professionals must keep on top of changing federal and state regulations and legislation that affect employee benefits.

A benefits coordinator organizes mailings, creates databases, develops benefit reports and spreadsheets, and handles annual or semi-annual benefits enrollments. Most employers use some type of automated human resource information system (HRIS).

dotDealing with people is an essential part of the job. And because they deal with personal information, coordinators must respect privacy.

Coordinators must speak and write effectively, and appreciate various cultural backgrounds, levels of education and experience. In addition, they need to handle conflicting points of view.

"Employee benefits, in a nutshell, can often be a more reactive type of environment than a proactive environment," says benefits manager Princess Starr. A reactive environment can mean that you're always reacting to problems.

"You usually get your phone calls because something isn't working just right," Starr says. "So you just have to have the personality where it just bounces off and you just do what you can to help the employee, because the employee is essentially your customer."

At a Glance

Administer the perks

  • Maintaining confidentiality is important
  • You have to stay on top of changing regulations
  • A university or college education in human resource management is your best bet