Friday, March 11, 2005

I Used to be a Personnel Manager

I used to be a Personnel Manager, but for the past 20 years or so I’ve been a Human Resources Manager. During that time I’ve seen my list of duties change almost completely. Oh, I still do the same things week in and week out, they’re just called something different now.

In fact, according to my job description...

Wait. I no longer HAVE a job description. It’s now a “position profile.”

Anyway, in this position profile, my list of job duties includes...

Wait. There is no list of job duties. It’s a list of “key deliverables.”

OK, going down the list of key deliverables I find items like “employee benefits” and...

Wait. They’re not “employees” any more. They’re either “associates” or “team members” or (and I love this one) “valued contributors.”

Ok, Ok! Enough of that. These people who work here, whatever we call them, we still offer them benefits, right? Like health insurance?

Well, like the car rental ad on TV says, “Not exactly.”

Now you can offer a PPO, POS, HMO, or Indemnity plan. These can be fully insured, self-insured with “stop-loss” coverage, or self-insured with a TPA (“Third Party Administrator”). If you include prescription drugs in your medical plan, it can be a single tier, two tier or three tier plan. (Everybody understands brand name drugs vs. generics, but what the hell is a “formulary?”)

How about vision and dental? Are these included with an opt out provision, or available with an opt in provision? How is the ratio of employer/employee contributions set up? How about deductibles and co-insurance, not to mention out-of-pocket max?

And don’t forget about cafeteria plans with “flexible spending accounts,” a.k.a. “reimbursement accounts.” (Those used to be called “salary reduction” plans, but since nobody wanted their salary reduced they weren’t very popular until they were renamed.)

It’s getting harder every day to keep caught up with all the acronyms (I used to call them “initials”) and fancy terms. But I guess it doesn’t really matter whether I’m caught up or not. I no longer have to explain those terms to our valued contributors. My corporation has outsourced benefits administration to a third party vendor. Our valued contributors can simply dial an 800 number and a CSR (Customer Service Representative) will guide them through the maze.

All I have to do is remember the 800 number. I think it’s 1-800-CFI-CARE.

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