A benefits specialist actively collaborates with various employees and formulates effective compensation plans. In addition, they facilitate an employee’s access to their benefits by helping solve any plan changes and claim conflicts.
The benefits specialist role is quickly are becoming a crucial position in most organizations. Both small businesses and major corporations strive to find, hire, and retain new talent for their workforce. However, it has become challenging to keep talented individuals leaving for other opportunities with more incentives.
A benefits specialist ensures that a company’s talent has no difficulty in experiencing the company-provided benefits while they work there. Therefore, this human resource’s role is essential for guaranteeing employee satisfaction. Additionally, they constantly contact employees to gauge their fulfillment with their compensations and revise plans if needed.
The human resource may have other roles whose duties overlap with some of the responsibilities of benefits specialists. Therefore, it can get confusing when looking for appropriate job alerts. You should thoroughly understand the role and its obligations to avail yourself of the right opportunities and become a talented benefits specialist.
This article takes you through what a benefits specialist does, how they work closely with employees and vendors like insurance companies, and how they are vital for a successful human resources department.
Benefits Specialist Role
The benefits specialist position has high stakes involved since it is particularly suitable for individuals with solid technical thinking skills who can compare costs and budgets. They also recommend executive leadership and top-level managers while planning employee benefit plans.
Benefits specialists are primarily responsible for benefits administration and ensuring that employees get their incentives. In addition, it’s their job to follow up with insurance companies with any claims filed and notify employees of any technical complications. Therefore, they are crucial in assuring employee satisfaction with the human resources department.
Described below are some responsibilities typical to all benefits specialist positions:
- They ensure the accuracy regarding the company’s benefits enrollments in the human resource sector to enable vendors to access accurate eligibility data.
- Benefits specialists assist with new-hire orientations.
- They perform strategic quality checks of all benefit-related information.
- They respond to benefits questions from workers and managers regarding general inquiries, federal and state laws, status changes, benefits enrollments, and plan provisions.
- Administers and processes all disability paperwork and leave-of-absence requests such as FMLA, disability, personal, and medical.
- They respond to workers’ and managers’ 401 (k) questions regarding contribution amounts, plan changes, and enrollments. Also, they manage the yearly catch-up contribution enrollment.
- They administer the reimbursement program and assist with the enrollment procedures.
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Benefits Specialist Responsibilities
Benefits specialists collaborate closely with benefits coordinators and managers to bring employee benefits plans to life. However, they have their designated responsibilities within the workflow. Their duties focus on assuring that insurance companies and other benefits suppliers have everything they need to provide employees with the promised incentives.
A glimpse at a benefits specialist job description shows you how their duties focus on communicating with employees and vendors, analyzing data for better planning, and resolving employee concerns.
Some of the essential duties associated with the benefits specialist role are explained below.
Compare Benefits Plans Costs
Among the most crucial duties of a benefits specialist is to formulate attractive and affordable benefits packages. They must compare health insurance covers from multiple insurance companies and choose those that offer the most value to employees and the organization.
This responsibility requires benefits specialists to have the skills necessary for performing productive financial calculations. Additionally, they must apply the same strategy to 401 (k) plans, company investments, life insurance benefits, and dental packages.
Benefits specialists have to negotiate benefits programs with one-year contracts most of the time. Nevertheless, most corporations may opt for multi-year agreements to help save costs. Here, the benefits specialists’ job is to select a contract with the best deal and compare the flexibility in procedures.
Create Retirement Plans, Pension Terms, and Investment Options
The benefits specialists’ task is to compare all available retirement plan options such as IRA contribution options, the standard fixed-benefit pension plan, matching contribution programs, and 401 (k) providers. Additionally, they should track changing retirement costs and programs to inform the organization and employees accordingly.
It is a high-stake responsibility that can affect employees’ life as their career moves towards its end and they move closer to retirement. Therefore, benefits specialists must conduct extensive research into federal and state laws, seek consultation from high-level managers, fellow specialists, executives, and discuss with the workers.
Interact with the Public and Employees
Since they have extensive knowledge and experience in benefits, these specialists can help educate workers regarding the available option for healthcare packages, retirement programs, and insurance packages. They can also work with publishing houses to create smartly-designed guides to teach employees about benefits programs. Such well-written content gets distributed, published, and printed for distribution in various departments.
Benefits specialists also serve as educators along with intermediaries between employers and workers regarding benefits plans. Therefore, they must have seasoned benefits negotiation expertise, extensive human resources understanding, and the capability to interact with the public.
Analyze Benefits and Compensation Statistics
Benefits specialists perform cost and data analysis to formulate logical benefits plans conclusions. For instance, they can carry out compensation analysis and analyze the worth of selecting a specific salary model for a particular group of workers. Or they can investigate how switching benefits vendors will impact expenditures.
Such analytical skills can help benefits specialists improve their strategies in a more data-driven manner. Additionally, they can show their gathered insights to senior stakeholders and help inform their higher-level decision-making about employee benefits and compensation plans.
When it comes to effectively assisting employees in all matters related to benefits or compensation, the human resources department relies on benefits specialists. Therefore, it is an integral role that helps organizations have a satisfied workforce. It does so by relieving employees of any anxieties related to their benefits and incentives.
The benefits specialist’s role requires solid communication skills, strong critical-thinking abilities, and close attention to detail. In addition, since they are working with multiple parties simultaneously, they also need to be proficient in human resources management.
Here are some common questions about the benefit specialist role:
What Should Benefits Specialists Know in Human Resource Management?
As the name suggests, a benefits specialist requires specialization in the benefits and compensation plan. Thus, it demands analytical skills along with adequate human resources training and experience. In addition, a good benefits specialist must easily interpret, evaluate and understand complex retirement programs, insurance plans, and employment laws. They should also know about and introduce extra compensation programs such as stock ownership and profit-sharing.
Which Skills are Crucial for a Benefits Specialist in Human Resources?
Benefits specialists must possess numerous skills, including proficiency in software tools such as Microsoft Office and Google tools. In addition, they should be talented in time management and organizational skills. Besides, they need to have outstanding verbal and written communication skills.
Most importantly, they must showcase extensive expertise in applicable laws and employee benefits. Therefore, seeking a bachelor’s degree in human resources management is also a strategic approach to landing a job as a benefits specialist.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a Benefits Specialist role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after Benefits Specialist job.