Welcome to the BenefitsAll HR Blog
Who I Am
My name is Denise. I am an Employee Benefits professional and website creator. I have almost 20 years of experience administering and writing about health insurance and retirement savings plans in all types of organizations. I have a Bachelors and Masters degree from Penn State University and I earned my Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation in 2006. I enjoy reading, writing, learning, traveling, and watching professional tennis.
Why I Created This Blog
For a long time I played a role in making it difficult for employees to understand their employee benefits. How did I do this? Like most new Benefits professionals, I used compliance documents like the summary plan description as communication tools. Assuming everyone understood these documents as I did. They did not. It was like I was writing and talking to myself. Loving the sound of my own voice. Complaining about employees being too lazy or unwilling to read and comprehend the information that was available to them.
Fortunately, I have a love of learning, improving and teaching. I always loved sharing my knowledge with my assistants and I never held back when answering their questions. I wanted them to know everything I knew. I also wanted the same for the employees I served.
So I made another attempt to become a better communicator and educator. Mid-career, I thought I found the winning formula for helping employees make wise benefits decisions. First ingredient, total automation--online forms and documents, self-enrollment and detailed instructions on how to access and use the information and navigate the system. Second ingredient, detailed examples of the effect of making certain benefit choices. Another fail.
Automation helps but is not for everyone. Detailed information is great for geeks like me, but can be overwhelming for others.
So now that I have reached late, mid-career, I developed a different approach to being a really effective Benefits pro--total automation for some, one-on-one for all, the least amount of information necessary to make an informed decision, and the willingness to change it all if needed.
That is why in late 2011, I created the BenefitsAll website. It is chock full of basic, brief health insurance, retirement savings and related content that encourages people to make financial decisions that meet their particular needs. But it is just a website, a great one, but studies show that employees want the help of a person when making benefits decisions. That means today's Benefits pros need to be up to the task of understanding and communicating complex information simply. It is not enough to know about various benefits plans, regulations, and tax issues. If you can't use that knowledge to help employees make good benefits decisions, your knowledge is incomplete.
What I Will Blog About
There are numerous seminars and compliance updates on the laws affecting employee benefits administration, but there is no real training on how to effectively perform the day-to-day tasks of a Benefits professional. New-career pros rely on the little training they receive from supervisors and peers, but mostly they are left to fill in the blanks themselves. It took me many, many years to become a Benefits pro. To get to this point, I read a lot, kept up on the latest technology, and practiced my craft.
I also shared my knowledge with the people I worked with and now I want to share with a broader group. And that is what this blog is all about. I want to show you how to be more than a technically proficient Benefits pro because the job is both technical and emotional. It is a unique and challenging position within the Human Resources profession. And you will need help to be good at it. I believe sharing my journey with you and how I handled the many challenges of administering benefits programs will help you become a Benefits Know it All, that employees actually like and want to talk to. Because no one likes just a know-it-all!
Welcome to my blog.
Feel free to send me your comments and questions. I love to hear your point of view.