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The Advice From Mom That Every Benefits Admin Should Know

The Advice From Mom That Every Benefits Admin Should Know
Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 by Rae Shanahan
Mother_daughterWe all know the saying of mother knows best. 


As a mom of two, I can verify this is true…(I wish!). I certainly don’t have all the answers, but there’s something to be said for a mother’s intuition – it seems like moms always know what to do. This past weekend many of our team members were lucky enough to celebrate Mother’s Day with their moms and hear some of their best, tried and true words of wisdom. Back in the office we were reflecting on our moms’ advice and I realized it’s not only sage guidance for life, but for the world of benefits administration too.

Below, enjoy some of the can’t-miss tips from our team members’ moms that I hope will inspire your approach to benefits administration.

Sara Wolter, Solutions Architect: “Treat people the way you want to be treated.”

When it comes to working with your benefits partner, the Golden Rule applies perfectly. Building a partnership with a vendor can be an arduous process – it takes time to learn each other’s business, understand how to work with each other and most importantly, develop trust. A partnership built on trust will undoubtedly be successful, but trust isn’t a one way street. You expect your vendor to be honest and transparent with you, so you must do the same in return. Trust happens when both parties are equally invested and vulnerable.

Tracey Orman, Onsite Wellness & Fitness Administrator: “Hydrate well and eat your vegetables!”

Natalie McLinden, Social Media Strategist: “Make time for your health and take it seriously.”

When employees are healthy, they not only have a better quality of life, but from a professional perspective, are able to be more productive, deliver their best work and have a more positive impact on business outcomes.

The challenge is, however, that people spend more time than ever on work, which means there’s less time for wellness. For HR professionals, a top priority should be helping employees make time for their health (including following Tracey’s mom’s advice!). There are endless ways to do this, such as implementing incentive based wellness plans, encouraging walking meetings, establishing an office running group, coordinating a wellness mentoring program or bringing in a nutritionist for an informational workshop.

No matter your approach, be sure that employees feel supported and empowered to make their well-being a priority.

Dayne Corwin, Creative Lead: “Get your chores done before you play.”

As kids, many of us were taught that you have to put in work to get a reward – do your chores and you will be rewarded by getting to play and have fun. The same mindset applies to annual enrollment. Make sure everyone involved with the process – from your organization’s employees and executive team to your vendors, carriers and broker, if you have one – are aligned with your expectations for enrollment and on the same page with how the process will work. Put in the work ahead of time and you will be rewarded with a more seamless annual enrollment as a result.

Natalie Kauffman, Executive Coordinator: “Even if it’s ‘cool’ not to care, you should.”

Remember back in high school when it was “cool” to act like you didn’t want to be there? It was “cool” to be disinterested in learning and being in class. Once you grow up, the meaning of cool changes. In the real world, it’s cool to learn! Unfortunately, even though most employees want to learn about benefits, they have little awareness of how to do so. They need resources at their fingertips that help them understand their options. That’s where benefits administrators come in. Accessible, engaging employee education is a must. Whether it’s regular webinars, lunch and learns or office hours, it’s critical to implement an ongoing curriculum that teaches employees about their benefits and how to get the most out of them.

Kirsten Anderson, Community Relations and Charitable Foundation Manager: “Know your finances!”

When Kirsten shared her mother’s advice, she provided valuable background. “My mother taught me the importance of saving versus spending in-the-moment and establishing a budget. Thanks to her foresight, I have a solid grasp of my family’s finances and saving goals.” If only we all could be so financially savvy! Many people, however, don’t have the tools, resources or training to ensure financial success.

Benefits must be a part of the solution. Employees need to understand the costs associated with their benefits, as well as the financial benefits available to them, such as a student loan debt repayment assistance program or financial counseling. Employees need to be aware of options that can help them gain and maintain financial stability.

Madicyn Maines, Design Consultant and Lamisha Wood, Executive Coordinator: “You don’t know everything – trust the experts, listen to advice, do research.”

We heard this advice from two of our team member’s moms, so it must be good. Benefits administrators are responsible for a lot and it simply isn’t possible to know the answer to everything. Do your research, surround yourself with smart partners that you trust – including internal team members, vendors, brokers and carriers – and seek their input when faced with challenges. Remember that no one expects you to know every answer – but they do expect you to know how to find them.

Want more great guidance? While it’s not from mom, we have plenty of valuable resources for HR pros. Take a look at our resource library here.