What Type of Benefits Pro Are You?

Believe it or not there are benefit pros that hate interacting with employees. They cringe whenever the phone rings or someone knocks on their office door. It's not that they don't want to help workers with their employee benefit questions they just don't want to do it so intimately. We’ll call this the Aloof Benefits Pro.

Then there are the benefit pros that can't get enough one-on-one employee interaction. They spend hours each day talking to employees about benefit and non-benefit issues. They pride themselves on knowing the most intimate details about the employees they work with. We’ll call this the Mommy Benefits Pro.

Characteristics of The Aloof Benefits Pro (ABP)

The word “aloof” is often misused. And that is because of the many synonyms of the word ranging from cold and distant to shy and bashful. These words are not exactly the same or even similar. So in this example the word “aloof” means introverted.
  • They prefer email and voicemail to face-to-face interaction
  • They prefer employees make an appointment to see them
  • They like to organize events but not host them
  • They don’t initiate interaction with others
  • They are good at explaining concepts in writing
  • Their work area is well organized
Characteristics of The Mommy Benefits Pro (MBP)

The Mommy Benefits Pro loves forming personal relationships at work. Working late is the norm because most of the day is spent developing relationships. This administrator is likely an extrovert.
  • They prefer face-to-face interaction to email and voicemail
  • They love when employees drop by unannounced (as long as they are no entertaining another employee)
  • They like to host events but not organize them
  • They look for every opportunity to initiate contact with others
  • They are better at explaining concepts verbally than in writing
  • Their work area is usually untidy but fortunately they know where everything is
So who is the better employee benefit pro? Most people will answer, the extroverted Mommy Benefits Pro. This person best meets the stereotype of the friendly, outgoing human resources professional that is a “people person.” But HR people are also accused of having more style than substance, of talking too much and doing too little. Choosing the Mommy assumes that this person is innately nice or friendly, when they could just be nosy.

On the other hand, if you think that the Aloof Benefits Pro is the better employee benefit pro, you are also making some huge assumptions. The Aloof BA may appear more professional because of their well developed organizational and communication skills. They may also appear smart because of their focus on providing the right answer. But appearances can be deceiving.


The best benefit pros continue to learn and grow throughout their career. They may start out as one type of pro and develop into another through learning and experience. They have a combination of skills. They recognize their weaknesses and work to overcome them by taking on tasks that scare and challenge them.
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