What Is a Benefits Administrator—And Should You Hire One?

Attractive benefits are a powerful tool for drawing in new job candidates. In fact, 60% of employees put perks at the top of their list when deciding whether to stay with their current employers.

To keep top-performing employees, your benefits package needs to be the real deal. But what should you offer, and how often should you update your company’s selection? According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the benefits that matter most can depend on several factors, such as your workforce’s income or life stage. Even so, many employers don’t really know what their team wants in a group benefits plan.

This is where having a benefits administrator comes in handy. This HR professional monitors the pulse of your organization, learning what perks are working and which ones could help make your employees’ lives even better.

With a benefits administrator by your side, you can make sure your compensation remains current, even as your employees’ values evolve, and avoid missing the mark when it comes to finding—and keeping—the talent your organization needs. In this post, we’ll provide some insights into what a benefits manager does and how having a dedicated expert on staff can help your company in the long run.

Once you’ve perfected your recipe for a great company benefits package, the next challenge is managing all those moving parts. BambooHR makes benefits administration a snap with our easy-to-use software.

What Is a Benefits Administrator?

A benefits administrator, or benefits manager, coordinates group benefits programs within a company. Often part of an HR department, this professional stays on top of employee needs and the nuances of each perk offered by their organization.

Benefits administrators work for companies of all sizes, but startups and small businesses may not have one right away. Every business model is different, and there’s no tried-and-true benchmark for when you should recruit a benefits administrator.

However, as your company grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay competitive with benefits. Administering those benefits also grows more complicated, so it’s time to find someone who can take those responsibilities off your ever-growing to-do list.

Free Hiring Kit: Build an HR & Finance Dream Team

This handy hiring kit includes advice for crafting winning job posts and setting competitive salaries. Plus, you'll get pre-built job description templates for six essential HR and finance roles.

Download the Hiring Kit

Benefits Administrator Job Description

A benefits administrator designs and maintains your compensation package, which is no small task. Reporting to a supervisor, this HR pro directs your company’s current plan options, such as health insurance, retirement, and PTO, and researches fresh, new ways to enhance your offerings.

On a more personal level, this is someone who can assess your organization’s unique needs and make informed recommendations.

When hiring for this role, finding a good fit for your organization is important. Along with crafting enticing benefits, this professional is responsible for communicating directly with employees, providers, and other stakeholders.

Common job duties for a benefits administrator include:

Here’s a sample benefits administrator job description:

We’re seeking an experienced benefits administrator for our growing company. As a trusted HR advisor, this professional will educate our team about their options, help them enroll, and manage day-to-day compensation processes. The ideal candidate comes from a detail-oriented customer service background, has good communication skills, and is up-to-date on the latest compliance guidelines.

Job Responsibilities:

Benefits Administrator Qualifications:

Keep in mind that specific job duties will vary by organization. It all depends on your company’s needs.

Benefits Administrator Salary

As with any other role, salary is a deciding factor in the hiring process. In 2023, the median salary for a benefits administrator in the US was $57,673 per year. Based on this national average, compensation for this role typically ranges from $46,398 to $73,251.

Exactly how much to pay your benefits manager depends on several factors, such as years of experience, existing salary bands within your company, and geographic location. Before crafting your job advertisement, research to ensure the job description aligns with your compensation strategy.

5 Advantages of Hiring a Benefits Administrator

Hiring a point person for benefits administration sets your organization up for long-term success. They play an integral role in attracting, hiring, and retaining the talent your organization needs to thrive. Start by evaluating your organization’s efforts and figuring out if it’s worth taking the next step.

Pro tip: Businesses with fewer than 10 employees may not need a benefits specialist just yet. In this case, starting with an HR generalist can be just as helpful in freeing up your team to do what they do best.

Here are the top five things a dedicated benefits administrator can do for your company:

1. Simplify Your Benefits Management

The simpler benefits administration is for your organization, the smoother it runs. Juggling PTO, health insurance, and reimbursements is complicated enough, not to mention staying abreast of the regulations surrounding each—it’s easy to drop a ball or two.

This is where your benefits administrator comes in handy. They’ll know exactly how to oversee each moving part of your employee benefits plan and how to keep it current.

Plus, having a single point of contact makes things easier for your team, elevating the employee experience at your company. Each person will know who to turn to when requesting time off, adding a dependent to their health plan, and figuring out how to maximize an FSA before it runs out at the end of the year.

2. Develop a Robust Company Benefits Strategy

Hiring for this role means benefits aren't just tossed into the mix—there’s a strategy behind it all that takes employee satisfaction and retention into account. With a comprehensive program, your business can stand out as a place where people feel appreciated for the work they do and are more compelled to stay long-term.

Aside from figuring out what basic plans to offer, a benefits administrator keeps an eye on trending employee benefits. Do more people want mental healthcare and longer parental leave? Will my employees find wellness stipends useful? This HR pro can come up with feasible ideas to help your company keep tabs on the benefits your employees really want.

3. Improve Communication Around Employee Benefits

Now that you’ve invested in an attractive compensation package, what’s next? For your benefits manager, their entire job revolves around your benefits. They know your company’s perks inside and out, and they’ll make sure your employees know them, too. Even though their big moment is open enrollment season, they’ll keep the conversation going year-round, building valuable connections between you and your workforce.

47% of employees feel ill-prepared to make informed choices during open enrollment, making it more important than ever to proactively educate your team about the perks at their fingertips. Whether it’s hosting in-house training sessions or responding to the Q&A Slack channel, this HR pro cultivates better benefits visibility and understanding.

With ongoing support and resources, your employees can feel more empowered to take an active role in maximizing the well-deserved rewards that drew them to your organization in the first place.

Don’t lose track of another open enrollment to-do.

Make sure nothing falls through the cracks with these free pre- and post- open enrollment checklists.

Download the Free Checklists

4. Be Better Prepared as Your Organization Scales

As your business grows, so do your responsibilities as a leader—and that’s a good thing! But with more people to enroll and questions to answer, hiring a benefits manager can be a real asset. Hiring for this role early enough in your company’s growth phase can help pave the way for future developments.

For instance, a benefits expert with an established communications strategy can simply take their processes to the next level as you onboard more workers. They’re already familiar with how your company works, its perks, and the team, so they can scale your program at the pace of your company.

On the employee side, your team is just as familiar with your point person. For example, new hires have a specific person to turn to if they have questions about their benefits plan.

5. Integrate Human Expertise with Your Benefits Administration Systems for a Seamless Experience

It’s true—benefits administration software streamlines several tasks, taking the hassle out of this kind of work. But sometimes it can lack a human element. Having the software and a dedicated expert can help you balance ease, accuracy, and understanding company-wide. Technology doesn’t have to be a substitute for a benefits professional; it can help them do their jobs even better.

Open enrollment is a great example of how pairing an expert with a benefits administration system is a winning combination. Automated benefits administration is a whole lot easier, faster, and more accurate. But when you have an expert to oversee the process, you can ensure this season runs like clockwork.

Now, your people can get the personalized attention they deserve during a time when you’re juggling employee elections, questions, and more.

Keep in mind, there are many ways to make benefits management easier and increase your capacity to better support your employees—hiring a dedicated expert is just one. And if now’s not the right time to bring on someone new, implementing intuitive benefits administration software can still be a step in the right direction.

Make benefits administration a breeze all year.

See how quick and easy managing benefits can be when you do it all in BambooHR.

Get a Free Demo Today