The Manager, Benefits & Programs will be instrumental in the design and development of various Benefit Programs at USC, such as Health & Welfare, Voluntary, Flexible Spending, and Tuition Assistance programs. This role will also oversee the daily operations of all benefit programs, while ensuring university policies are aligned with regulatory compliance. The Manager, Benefits & Programs will strive to create and maintain benefit programs that support employees’ needs and continuously improve the university’s ability to attract and retain top talent. This individual will have a keen sense for communication and support their team in translating complex benefit concepts into ways that employees can easily understand. This role will align the university and HR’s vision and strategy with programs and initiatives that can realize those objectives and will successfully mobilize the team to implement projects successfully. An ideal candidate for this role will have significant experience innovating benefit management and demonstrate success in building productive and resilient teams. This role will help enable USC’s vision while championing USC’s culture and values.
The candidate for the position of Manager, Benefits & Programs must meet the following qualifications:
Bachelor’s degree in business, communications, or another related field.
Seven or more years of experience in human resources and/or benefits management.
One or more years of experience leading teams in a management or leadership role.
Previous management experience in a benefits role.
Experience partnering with and presenting to senior leadership, including identifying needs, developing action plans, completing deliverables, and presenting results and recommendations.
Experience developing benefit programs that are market leading and market competitive, aligned with strategic goals, and administered in compliance with university policies and government regulations.
Strong analytical skills and a thorough knowledge of plan designs.
Knowledge of all pertinent federal and California state regulations, filing and compliance requirements, both adopted and pending, affecting employee benefits programs, including the ACA, ERISA, COBRA, FMLA, ADA, Section 125, workers' compensation, Medicare, OBRA, Social Security and DOL requirements.
Experience establishing collaborative initiatives with multiple departments.
Demonstrated excellence providing personalized customer service.
Demonstrated complex project management experience, providing effective oversight from inception to delivery.
Demonstrated ability to effectively manage time, prioritize tasks, work independently, and maintain confidentiality.
High integrity and judgement in managing and reporting on confidential/sensitive information.
Excellent communication and facilitation skills, proven track record of building strong collaborative relationships with senior stakeholders.
Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint).
The ideal candidate for the position of Manager, Benefits & Programs has the following qualifications:
Advanced degree in business, psychology, communications, or another related field.
Ten or more years of experience in human resources and/or benefits management.
Experience in higher education.
Four or more years of experience leading teams in a management or leadership role.
Demonstrated success evaluating benefits and related programs, assessing the effectiveness of existing plans or policies and implementing procedural or benefit changes and revisions.
Experience reviewing both short- and long-range cost estimates/projections and relevant statistical analyses regarding modifications in benefits programs and implementation of new programs
Experience developing comprehensive communications and training materials to support the rollout of benefits programs that are well understood and valued by employees.
Demonstrated experience building and managing exceptional teams and providing consistent feedback to achieve results in line with strategic goals and their team’s career growth.
Ability to analyze internal and external market data and prepare and present recommendations to HR leadership.
Experience performing regulatory and compliance documentation and reporting.
Ability to identify knowledge and resource gaps and comfort utilizing industry trends to create opportunities for development for their teams.
Ability to update knowledge base content to assist with frequently asked questions, self-service and service delivery.
Demonstrated success positively influencing department culture through trust-building.
Ability to train staff on emerging industry trends and ensure quality baseline of department knowledge.
Certified Benefits Professional, Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, or Certified Compensation Professional, or other similar certifications.
The candidate for the position of Manager, Benefits & Programs will be responsible for:
Managing the design and daily operations of benefit programs at USC including, but not limited to Health & Welfare, Voluntary, Flexible Spending, and Tuition Assistance programs. Continuously evaluating market competitive trends and leading practices and recommending benefit changes or enhancements. Maintaining and improving the benefits offerings at USC by incorporating market trends and employee needs. Commanding a strong understanding of the strategic relationship among benefits management, HR, and the university. Working closely with other cross functional teams including HR Systems & Data Analytics, Office of General Counsel (OGC), HR Partners, Solution Center, and Compliance to successfully implement and manage programs and policies. Leading a team of benefit practitioners to manage critical employee needs related to the administration of all Health & Welfare, Voluntary, Flexible Spending, Retirement, and Tuition Assistance programs, including the coordination of daily benefits processing; handle enrollments, COBRA, terminations, changes, beneficiaries, disability and accident and death claims, rollovers, QDROs, QMCSOs, distributions, loans, hardships, and compliance testing. Overseeing the technical facets of executing a seamless Open Enrollment experience for all university employees, to include partnership over the maintenance of programs held with Benefits Administration systems, developing communications, facilitating enrollment conversations, and conducting audits at the close of enrollment.
Negotiating coverage, services, and costs with carriers, brokers and program vendors. Leading benefits programs with relevant experience in program management, data analysis, change management, stakeholder engagement, communication, and measurement of program effectiveness. Underscoring benefits to the university as a business when promoting or seeking sponsorship for new initiatives and programs. Developing credibility with stakeholders and academic leadership, building an effective internal and external network to drive change.
Ensuring operational excellence in the day-to-day management of benefits programs, vendor management, new hire enrollment, compliance requirements, and system requirements. Leading team to clearly define their customer groups and complex needs. Communicating expectations of service excellence to the broader team. Interacting regularly with HR and university stakeholders to collect feedback and identify opportunities for service improvement.
Developing plans for benefit communication strategies to enable effective promotion, understanding, and utilization across the university. Effectively delivering critical information tailored to different audiences and perspectives. Listening attentively to questions, issues, and concerns. Maintaining open lines of communication with the team and broader HR division. Building consensus and respect by resolving conflicts in an open and positive manner.
Bringing an in-depth knowledge of benefits strategy, design, and best practices to benefits programs. Translating high-level organizational vision into policy and programs for benefits administration. Inviting colleagues to share observed issues and recommended solutions that improve processes and optimize engagement strategies. Performing regulatory and compliance documentation and reporting, as needed.
Conducting benefits benchmarking and gap analysis and providing thoughtful recommendations to ensure the competitiveness and cost efficiency of programs and vendors. Setting direction, monitoring performance, and initiating and communicating changes in direction as needed. Gathering input and insight from teams and incorporating said input and insight into action plans.
Developing trusting, credible relationships from demonstrated ethical judgment, behavior, and practiced confidentiality. Promoting an environment that fosters inclusive relationships and creates unbiased opportunities for contributions through ideas, words, and actions that uphold principles of the USC Code of Ethics. Partnering interdepartmentally to gather employee data and oversee the processing of monthly billings and the preparation of vouchers for payment of administrative fees for all group plans.
Spearheading initiatives to update policy, benefit plans, or processes to ensure satisfied employees and adherence to the university’s overall strategy. Demonstrating, through words, actions, and ideas, alignment to USC’s strategic plan and the HR Organization’s strategic plan. Enabling the university to fulfill its academic and people missions through enhanced HR service.
Performing other related responsibilities as requested and when necessary. The university reserves the right to add or change duties at any time.
The University of Southern California is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Minimum Education: Bachelor's degreeMinimum Experience: 7 yearsMinimum Skills: Seven or more years’ experience in human resources and/or benefits management, with one or more year in a leadership/management role. Experience partnering with senior leadership, including identifying needs, developing action plans, executing deliverables, and presenting results and recommendations. Experience developing benefits programs that are market competitive, aligned with strategic goals, and administered in compliance with university policies and government regulations. Experience establishing collaborative initiatives with multiple departments. Demonstrated excellence providing personalized customer service. Demonstrated project management experience, providing effective oversight from inception to delivery. Demonstrated ability to effectively manage time, prioritize tasks, work independently and maintain confidentiality. High integrity and judgement in managing and reporting on confidential/sensitive information. Excellent communication and facilitation skills, proven track record of building strong collaborative relationships with senior stakeholders. Proficiency with Microsoft Office.Preferred Education: Master's degreePreferred Experience: 10 years