Vanderbilt University’s Human Resources Department is seeking a Sr. Benefit Specialist to serve as a subject matter expert regarding employee benefit offerings (group health, dental, vision, short-term and long-term disability, life insurance, flexible spending accounts, 403(b), COBRA, etc.) Responsible for processing and reconciling benefit transactions, educating faculty and staff about benefit offerings, liaising with both internal and external partners, supporting compliance activities, all while delivering exceptional customer service.
About Vanderbilt University:
Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 located a little more than a mile from downtown Nashville, TN. The university’s students, faculty, staff and visitors frequently cite Nashville as one of the perks of Vanderbilt. VU is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something that is bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt was recently ranked #1 in the Princeton Review among 382 top colleges and universities for “happiest students” - as well as #2 for “best quality of life” and “great financial aid,” #5 for “best run colleges” and “beautiful campus,” and #6 for both being in a “college city that students love” and having “great campus/city relations.”
Duties and Responsibilities:
Process and reconcile benefit transactions (elections, claims, contributions, distributions, appeals, etc.).
Administer all benefit plans according to the plan documents and regulatory requirements. Working knowledge of ERISA, ACA, and other applicable laws required to ensure compliance with all required state and federal regulations.
Assist faculty and staff in researching and resolving benefits questions and escalated issues with insurance carriers and third party administrators so that exemplary customer service is delivered and understanding by faculty/staff person has been created; also helps with identification of trends that may require additional escalation.
Partner with Payroll to ensure accuracy of benefit related deductions – testing and review of data elements required along with working knowledge for subject matter expertise.
Consult on mid-year life event changes so that faculty/staff understand eligibility criteria and that vendor/partners accurately administer changes.
Respond to inquiries from participants regarding the status of requests for benefit transactions. SLA: all phones calls returned with 24 hours of receipt with internal calls returned the same day with interaction documented that day.
Support faculty and staff understanding Vanderbilt's benefit policies and plans as well as how to access websites and e-information to transmit and create knowledge, while building capabilities among faculty/staff of self-service of benefit plans and access to information.
Present benefit overview at new staff orientation. Answer faculty and staff questions regarding benefits options and eligibility so that faculty/staff are able to understand the benefit options, value, and make informed decisions for themselves/their families.
Partner with benefit vendors to develop and deliver multi-tiered, multi-modal approach to benefit education which will enable VU benefits to more effectively reach all faculty/staff regardless of their preferred communication mode. Ability to transmit complex concepts in an understandable way to a diverse audience preferred.
Partner with other areas of HR regarding issue resolution, policy and practice clarification, as well as periodic benefits topic updates and training – to create a baseline understanding of VU benefits across HR so that they can better support programs/initiatives.
Analyze current marketing strategies with a view to improving participation and comprehension to remain abreast of innovation in the benefit space.
Support special projects such as: annual open enrollment, new benefit rollouts, workshops, fairs, etc. – have a good working knowledge of current benefit platform in order to impart accurate information to faculty/staff.
Maintain subject matter expertise via participation in webinars, professional organizations, community networks, etc.
Collect data for analysis of plan activity and other audit and compliance requirements
Consult on and execute on compliance activities such as non-discrimination testing, Form 5500 filings, SPD and SAR updates and distribution – to ensure accuracy of information contained therein meets requirements of applicable laws/regulations. Must have familiarity and experience with completion of said forms.
Conduct periodic testing and audit processes to ensure data accuracy. Prepare and deliver communications to affected employee population. Work closely with vendors and payroll to ensure accuracy of benefit-related records and provide reconciliation. Advanced MS Excel skills preferred.
Develop and/or create benefit operational and ad hoc reports – to validate accurate/timely operations – i.e., payments to vendors, eligibility thresholds, retirement contributions; compliance with ACA requirements, etc. Expected: timely, accurate creation of required reports with ability to understand and manipulate data to ‘tell a story’.
Maintain and update confidential electronic and paper files.
Compliance with HIPAA guidelines regarding protected information – comprehend and demonstrate adherence to HIPAA requirements.
Maintain the security and confidentiality of all HR information – electronic, paper-based, and verbally transmitted – understanding expectations of data privacy and exhibiting appropriate behaviors.
Support the administration of surveys and RFP's as needed – provide technical subject matter expertise of benefits.
Participate in the Targeted Selection for team members – to help with cultural fit, and technical benefit knowledge assessment.
Support HR system wide efforts.
Additional duties as assigned.
In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, VU offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt's benefits at VU Benefits Overview
Success Factors as a Colleague:
Acceptance of Feedback – Ability to take constructive criticism with grace, and make improvements without taking it personally or holding grudges. When wrong, owns it – freely admits mistakes.
Adaptability – Ability to read cues and adapt accordingly. Ability to adjust style and approach to accommodate the styles and needs of others. Can anticipate and effectively de-escalate potential conflicts.
Creative Thinking – Ability to go beyond the boundaries of the job description, willingly takes on new challenges, finds creative solutions rather than always awaiting a manager’s direct instructions
Helpful Nature – Offers to help lighten the load for others in times of need. Volunteers rather than waiting to be asked. Understands that almost no one works in a silo, and will need the help of others to do their job well, and that by helping others first, they will likely reciprocate.
Integrity – Holds oneself accountable; takes responsibility for failures as well as successes, recognizes that trust is required to hold a team together.
Maturity -- Exhibits professional maturity; doesn’t pass the buck to dodge accountability; doesn’t engage in petty office politics or inappropriate social conduct
Respect – Is friendly, tirelessly cordial, polite, and genial. Comes in to work with a good attitude and doesn’t bring their own personal “little black clouds” into the work environment.
Responds Promptly -- When emails and phone messages aren’t returned in a timely way, it sends the message that the other party is not important. Responds even if just to acknowledge receipt and provide a timeframe by which the requester can expect a full response.
Is Nice – Asks questions and is a good listener. Smiles and is grateful. Sends appropriate notes of thanks to others who have helped. Avoid gossip or saying negative things about co-workers. Patient and generous. Make suggestions rather than stating hard and fast opinions. Avoids being negative, sarcastic, and cynical.
Shares – Shares information. Communicates. Transmits knowledge . . . knowledge isn’t power – sharing knowledge is. Asks for advice.
Resilience -- Is resilient in the face of daunting challenges and setbacks; bounces back readily.
Works through Issues – It isn’t about the people, it’s about the outcome. If things aren’t going well, outcomes suffer. Be willing to have crucial conversations if things aren’t going well. Doesn’t just complain to management . . . does everything possible to remedy the situation directly first.
Teamwork – Values teamwork and co-workers; make them feel valuable and important by acknowledging what they do. Doesn’t expect from others effort that one is unwilling to do themselves. Find ways to complement other’s strong suits.
Praises Publicly; Criticizes Privately. When dealing with a difficult co-workers or customers, “pretend your children are watching” how the situation is handled. Good manners help keep a cool head. Gives credit where credit is due.
Assumes the Best -- Assume that others are working as hard as you are on things that are as important as what you are working on. Just because you don’t know what someone does, it doesn’t mean they’re not doing anything.
Raises the Bar – Expects and delivers excellence. Is a creative problem solver. Is proactive. Welcomes input on making things better. Places a high value on learning and getting better
Believes– Believes in the work being done and in the mission of the organization.
Perspective – Maintains a sense of humor and perspective. Can laugh first and foremost at oneself.
Reliable – Does what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. Shows up for work when expected. Doesn’t push the burden of work volume or deadlines to others.
Honest and Transparent – Doesn’t have hidden agendas. Doesn’t play people against each other. Is authentic and forthright.
Autonomous – Self-managing; self-motivated. Manages time, activities and outcomes well so that progress stays on track.
Detail-Oriented – Even small mistakes can create big issues; attention to detail work indicates care about the outcomes.
Our ideal candidate will have a passion for benefits and a thirst for helping faculty and staff to make good benefit decisions with a view to optimizing their plans. They must have a solid working knowledge of legislation impacting benefits, while being acutely aware of compliance security practices and requirements for benefit information.
Experience in Oracle or other strong system knowledge preferred; Moderate to advanced MS Excel skills required.
This position requires a Bachelor's degree and 5 years of experience or the equivalent.