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The Employee Benefit Office–How Size Can Determine How Much You Grow


Does size of the company matter when it comes to choosing an employee benefits job. Choose a small organization and you may find yourself doing everything. Choose a large one and you may find yourself bored stiff. What size benefit office should you choose depends on your likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and career goals. Both have pros and cons, and it is important to explore them before you say, "yes" to a job offer.

The number of employees an organization has may not always dictate the size of the benefit staff. I worked for two different organizations with about the same number of employees, one had two and a half (2.5) benefit personnel and the other had eight (8). And the one with 8 staff members relied more on outside benefit consultants to assist with compliance than the one with just 2.5 members. However, in general, the smaller the organization you work for, the smaller the benefit staff. In some cases there is no dedicated benefit staff member but rather an HR generalist performing this role along with other duties. Larger organizations usually have several dedicated full-time benefit staff members.

Pros and Cons of Working in a Small Benefits Office

Let's start with the Pros:
  • More opportunities to learn all aspects of the employee benefit function
  • More opportunities to increase your problem solving, negotiation and communication skills
  • More opportunities to be creative
  • Fewer personalities (other benefit staff) to deal with
  • Fewer layers of review and approval of work
Continue Reading...

Learn to Explain Health Insurance to Anyone and Everyone


The conversation about the first open enrollment for the federal health insurance exchange is changing. From one focusing on a bum website and "cancelled" policies to who did and did not enroll in a health plan. It will take some time before we get the answer to the who enrolled question, but I am glad it is being asked. But not for the reasons some are asking it.

You see I don't care about the race or income of the enrollees. I care that people who took the time and paid the expense to obtain coverage get the most out of it. I didn't always feel this way. When I began my employee benefits career, I assumed that anyone who enrolled in a health plan understood how to use it. I was wrong. And I am so glad I learned that lesson because it is easy to go through your entire career not knowing that private health insurance is a foreign concept to millions of Americans.

This is the story of how I learned that valuable lesson.

The employee, I'll call him Jimmy, was colorful to say the least. He was a guy with a lot of personality and he really
loved to talk. Fortunately, I was one of his favorite people to talk to. And I do feel fortunate to have known him because of the lessons his life taught me. And, I genuinely liked him. Continue Reading...