Corporate Benefits Officer – the most influential position in healthcare for 60% of Americans

The corporate benefits officer is the most powerful position in health care for 60% of Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance.

A benefits officer may have different titles at different companies, such as 1) Director of Total Compensation, 2) Director of Compensation and Benefits, or 3) Director of Employee Benefits.

Employer-provided health insurance currently costs about $12,000 per plan member per year. Most employers have a ratio of two plan members for each employee on the plan. This equates to $24,000 in medical costs per employee per year.

Therefore, for many employers, medical and health insurance premiums are the second largest company expense after salaries. The benefits officer is responsible for this expense and is in the best position to use it for positive change.

To bring about positive change in healthcare, corporate wellness leaders must: 1) be proactive rather than reactive; 2) have excellent communication skills; You need to be a good persuader with full use.


A good employee benefits officer does not rely solely on insurance brokers and benefits consultants to provide solutions for employee wellness plans. Yes, providing these solutions is one of the roles of an insurance broker or benefits consultant. But good benefits officers take ownership of their employee wellness plans and don’t rely solely on consulting advice.

They set the agenda. They lead the vision. they are responsible for the results. They know it and they accept it.

excellent communication skills

A good employee benefits officer knows that they need to work with colleagues across the organization, including management, finance, field managers, and employees. Because no one is a “mind-reader,” a good employee benefits officer knows that within an organization he needs to communicate 1) often and 2) in a variety of ways.

A good employee benefits officer will reach out and talk to colleagues monthly and quarterly, rather than once a year, in preparation for “open enrollment.”

A good employee benefits officer doesn’t just use email to communicate. Rather, they know that human faces and voices are far more effective communication tools than written words. They are speakers and listeners, not “mailers”.


A good employee benefits officer must form alliances within the organization to achieve the goals of employee wellness plans. To persuade, they use reliability, consensus, and logic, in that order.

They establish credibility through their expertise. They have a detailed understanding of how health insurance and medical care work. It’s a complicated industry, but they do their homework and constantly improve themselves.

They form consensus through listening. As per the statement above, they have conversations with colleagues, but no email exchanges.

Finally, they use logic, they are rational… they use data to “make a case”. But instead of leading with logic, logic comes last. They establish credibility and build consensus first. No data in the world is convincing unless it is used reliably and consensually.

Employer benefits officers with these skills are more likely to help improve employee health, reduce suffering, and extend life for the 60% of Americans who have employer-sponsored health insurance. The most important person. More important than doctors. More important than hospitals.

Photo: Richard Drury, Getty Images

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