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Benefits Manager
Chicago Public Schools | Chicago, Illinois
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Job Description

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third largest school district in the United States, serving over 360,000 students in 600 schools and employing nearly 36,000 people, most of them teachers. CPS has set ambitious goals to ensure that every student, in every school and every neighborhood, has access to a world-class learning experience that prepares each for success in college, career and civic life. In order to fulfill this mission we make three commitments to our students, their families and all Chicagoans: academic progress, financial stability and integrity. Six core values are embedded within these commitments - student centered, whole child, equity, academic excellence, community partnership and continuous learning.

Job Description:

Benefits Manager is responsible for the operational oversight and administration of employee benefits. We are seeking a self-starter with excellent project management and talent development skills to join the Talent Office as a Benefits Manager. Supervising a staff of seven and reporting to the Director of Health and Benefits, the Benefits Manager will provide operational oversight and management of CPS' $350M health and wellness plans and programs and $1.67B in retirement. Benefits Manager will partner with the Director of Health and Benefits on strategic planning and initiatives.

The Benefits Manager is expected to successfully oversee and/or perform the following responsibilities:

Provide operational oversight for all aspects of CPS' employee benefits plans and policies including health, wellness and retirement.

* Administer employee benefits programs such as retirement plans, medical, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, and wellness programs.

* Provide in-depth analytical support, evaluation, and recommendations for improvements to existing company benefit plan design and programs.

* Partner with senior leaders in the development of strategic plans and co-lead improvements to CPS' benefits programs to deliver competitive and innovative offerings for staff.

* Identify opportunities to improve policies and processes to optimize efficiency, ensure compliance, and provide a high level of customer service.

* Facilitate and co-lead the Labor-Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC) to inform benefit design changes and collect feedback on the employee experience.

* Manage department expenses by reviewing plan design objectives, utilization trends, expense projections and recommending alternative options as applicable.

* Analyze benefits experience for cost-control and risk assessment factors and provide recommendations to improve the portfolio of benefits and services.

* Pursue and implement innovative ideas and methods to drive behavioral changes and engagement with benefits plans and services to improve staff health and wellness.

* Deliver high-quality benefit programs to cultivate and drive a wellness culture districtwide

* Partner with vendors to develop and deliver communications and education materials, tools and guidelines to support benefit plans

* Own the annual benefits renewal and open enrollment processes including plan design analysis and modeling and development and delivery of the open enrollment communication and training materials

* Build, mentor, lead, and develop the benefits team aligning talent and resources to deliver quality programs and results, while elevating their capability, performance, and level of responsibility

Ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, Board policies and labor contacts related to benefits procedure and administration.

* Conduct regular audits to ensure compliance and address issues related to current regulations

* Partner with Finance, Accounting, Payroll, and Law to ensure that audit and applications regulation requirements are met

* Stay abreast of emerging government and IRS regulations and evaluate and recommend appropriate responses and changes to internal policies as necessary

* Manage policy development, administration, and record-keeping of health and welfare plans

Utilize data to analyze and recommend strategic direction related to maximizing the design and delivery of benefits and compensation programs.

* Partner with the Workforce Analytics and Payroll teams and external vendors to manage the data modeling, analysis and interpretation of trends from CPS' data to support strategic planning and decision-making with regard to health, wellness, and retirement plans

* Collaborate with leaders in Law, Talent, Finance and Labor Relations in developing proposals for collective bargaining with labor unions

* Coordinate with the Chief Talent Officer and Executive Director to identify departmental effectiveness metrics and meaningful program evaluation measures

Manage relationships with vendors, service providers, brokers and consultants to achieve product, service and cost goals.

* Negotiate and manage benefit plan providers to improve and maintain the quality programs and delivery of services

* Negotiate contracts for services and programs with vendors/brokers to obtain cost-effective maximum coverage for employees

* Direct the operations of all plans including vendor relations, system design and development, maintenance and administration and delivery of services

* Evaluate vendor performance, provide improvement feedback, and implement changes as necessary

Type of Education Required:

* Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in Human Resources, Finance, Business Management, or a related field of study. Master's degree preferred.

* HR Certification: PHR/SPHR, SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP, and/or CEBS certifications preferred

Type of Experience Required:

* Minimum of 5 years leadership experience in human resources, compensation/payroll, and benefits within a large complex organization. Public sector experience a plus.

* Minimum of 5 years leading a high-performing service oriented benefits and/or compensation team

* Proven record of building and leading large-scale programs and projects.

* Strong working knowledge of state and federal laws related to compensation and benefits including but not limited to COBRA, HIPAA, ERISA, GINA, Section 125, etc.

* Minimum of 3 years of experience in design, implementation, and maintenance of Peoplesoft or an alternate HRIS system

* Experience with vendor and relationship management. Proven ability to maximize service requirements and drive a high standard for vendor performance.

* Ability to effectively collaborate with Union leadership and proven experience in managing complex employee relations.

* Demonstrated skills in the development and maintenance of effective working relationships with all levels of executive and managerial staff, various governmental agencies, and labor unions which impact CPS' operations

Key Competencies Required:

* Organization & Project Management - Keeps track of upcoming, ongoing, and prior work product. Quickly adjust to shifting priorities and deadlines and can juggle multiple and varied projects simultaneously. Develops realistic action plans and utilizes team effectively to achieve department goals.

* Data Analysis & Analytical Thinking - Ability to build and create data, analyze statistics, identify trends, and make balanced, objective recommendations in a proactive manner to achieve maximum results.

* Collaboration - Initiates, builds, and manages cohesive partnerships and professional relationships both internally and externally.

* Communication with Stakeholders - Gears communication towards the target audience and is able to influence stakeholders in the interest of meeting organizational goals and values. Communicates at a high level in both written and verbal form with an impeccable detail-orientation and a focus on customer service and relationships. Has a strong regard for confidentiality and employs sound reasoning to make quick determinations.

Residency Requirement:

As a condition of employment with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), employees are required to live within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago within six months of his or her CPS hire date and maintain residency throughout their employment with the district.


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