By in Business

Life in Human Resources

If you work for any decent size company, odds are you have a Human Resources (HR) department. In my company, that's me. I am responsible for administering all the health benefits, keeping up with the constant change in laws and compliance issues, administering various leaves of absence, processing garnishments, handling unemployment claims, workers' compensation and I am the point of contact for any vehicle accidents.

While I we only have about 250 employees to manage, I will tell you that I am always busy. Working in HR is a balancing act. The position is actually two-fold. One part is maintaining responsibility to the company. Making sure laws are followed, being in compliance with state and federal regulations, staying on top of layoffs and terminations and issuing new hire packets. The other part is being there for the employees. Making sure they understand their benefits, helping them with providers who don't understand the carrier policies, answering their questions about leaves of absence, and making sure they don't feel lost in a sea of forms is important. Sometimes, that's the most rewarding part of my job. It's where I feel I get to help the employees the most.

I would have to say, the aspect of my position that keeps me the busiest is managing the health insurance for the company. I won't begin to get into the nightmare this Obamacare mandate has caused. I can say not one person in my company wasn't affected by the turmoil the policy changes have caused with their insurance. That being said, making sure everyone is offered coverage, signs off on the forms if they choose to waive coverage, getting them entered into the system, termed out of the system (as needed) and answering all questions related to health benefits can be quite the challenge.

Two seasons ago, we changed benefit brokers. I have to say, the two guys I work with are phenomenal! I mostly deal with one broker, but for open enrollments they are both available and work tirelessly at getting up and running. Employees only see the bottom line when it comes to their benefits. They don't see the months worth of emails and phone calls, forms that are signed, documentation that's submitted, census spreadsheets, new deduction code set-ups, tracking contributions, balancing of carrier invoices, and all the questions the employees have.

It's inevitable, with new plan changes there will be employee questions. I literally can have 12-20 calls, from different employees, calling on the same question in one day. Granted, all these questions were answered during the election process when they enrolled in the benefits, but who paid attention then, right? It's all forgotten two months down the line.

Unless I really mess up, I will have job security for life. My position, within this company, is only about four years old as it used to be managed by the Controller (accounting). The office joke is that I will be around for a long time because no one else wants my position. I don't mind. I'm good at what I do and I'm always learning something new.

Those of us who work in HR can come off as cold, rigid and obsessed about forms. If you saw all the legalities that surround a business and what its required to comply with, you'd probably see us in a different light. I hope this has provided a bit of insight into the world of Human Resources.

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