what does a benefits manager do?

  • job profiles
  • September 04, 2020

Benefits managers are responsible for managing all employee benefit programs, from healthcare to life insurance, wellness programs, retirement plans and more. As such, their job is to serve as an informative resource to all employees, someone who others trust and turn to at vital moments — often moments of uncertainty or change.

Beyond that, what keeps benefits managers busy all day?

  • designing and directing all aspects of employee benefits orientation for new hires
  • managing and processing enrollments as well as changes (such as terminations) for all participants in the organization’s benefits plans and programs
  • continually updating and maintaining the “Benefits” module within the HRIS
  • digitizing key documentation around employee benefits and communicating to employees
  • collaborating closely with a number of accounting and finance roles as well as the payroll department
  • supporting employees with a wide range of benefits claims issues or concerns
  • coaching, mentoring and managing direct reports (where applicable)
  • overseeing annual open enrollment meetings with brokers and developing core communication materials to share with leaders as well as employees
  • ensuring that all eligible employees are enrolled for benefits coverage
  • leading trainings and similar programs around benefits
  • disseminating important information about retirement savings plans
  • staying on top of the latest changes in healthcare law and legislation, in addition to the most recent trends in benefits program administration

Does that sound like you? If so, read on to get actionable guidance and all the essential details of the role.

what are the key skills of a benefits manager?

Benefits managers often wear a lot of hats at work, as the preceding section should have made clear. So having deep domain knowledge in the field is obviously going to be critical, but so too is having the right soft skills. Which should you highlight on your resume?

The following soft skills can be key differentiators for candidates today:

  • team leadership
  • collaboration
  • relationship building
  • empathy
  • emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • strong written, verbal and presentation skills
  • tech and digital savvy
  • time management and organization
  • multitasking
  • proven ability to meet tight deadlines

how much do benefits managers make?

Looking at the latest data, average salaries for benefits managers can be bucketed into three tiers, largely depending on factors like your location, market, responsibilities, background and level of expertise:

  • low range $91,022-$110,472
  • mid range $106,362-$129,090
  • high range $122,952-$149,225

As you can see, salaries for benefits managers can vary considerably, and that can be frustrating. If you want more granular insights, head on over to our salary comparison tool. It’ll give you at-a-glance knowledge of pay in your market and location.

how do you become a benefits manager?

Becoming a benefits manager requires an in-depth understanding of the benefits administration process, and that often only comes from firsthand experience in a professional environment. But what else do you need to cut your teeth in this exciting field?

Key requirements for benefits managers include:

  • associate or bachelor’s degree in HR-related field
  • a minimum of three years of professional experience in HR or HR-related roles

Clearly, previous experience is vitally important for aspiring benefits managers. But in the interim, if you’re keen to broaden or deepen your knowledge of the field, you should know that there are great educational resources available right now. Just check out this relevant coursework on Udemy, our learning partner, for proof.

key takeaways

Hopefully, this article has clarified some of your bigger questions about becoming a benefits manager. To recap, we’ve covered:

  • what a benefits manager does
  • training, experience and core requirements frequently associated with the role
  • essential skills for success
  • salary expectations for recruiters
  • … and a whole lot more!

If you’re ready to launch your career in this exciting field today, find your next opportunity as a benefits manager with Randstad today.