Employee 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
Benefits 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,
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
Dealing 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."