Case Study 1: Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona

In 2008, CEO Roger Schwierjohn was in the midst of planning a complex merger between Habitat Valley of the Sun and Habitat West Valley. With the economy in free fall, Roger faced an urgent need to consolidate staff and reduce operational expenses. But he was also determined to preserve the nonprofit organization’s supportive culture and maintain employee morale throughout the difficult transition.

To accomplish this, Roger and his COO resolved to extend the best possible benefits package to every employee at the newly merged organization. Given the cost constraints, short timeframe and large number of employees to be covered, this was a daunting prospect. That’s when they reached out to Hynes Benefits Consultants, LLC.

“We needed to consolidate, coordinate and make the benefits package consistent so that everyone could participate,” Roger explains. “We also had to move quickly to ensure that existing plan participants continued to receive the health, dental, vision and short- and long-term disability benefits they had relied upon without interruption. We never could have accomplished this without HBC. They went above and beyond to ensure that the merger was executed smoothly and in a timely fashion. Thanks to the HBC team, our benefits transition was well coordinated and successful.”

Since then, HBC has become Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona’s trusted business partner, working hand-in-hand with the HR director to manage every aspect of benefit plan analysis, design and implementation.

“Last year, nearly eight months before our plan was set to renew, we asked HBC to conduct a market study to project our costs for the following year,” says Roger. “We needed to submit this to our board as part of our budget approval process. Characteristically, HBC perceived this as an opportunity to improve our benefits package while holding the line on costs.”

Despite the challenging economy, HBC was able to design a plan that maintained the current benefits while negotiating significantly better rates with the plan providers. “Not only did we come in under budget, we actually wound up paying less than we had the year before,” says Roger. “Once again, their knowledge and dedication far exceeded our expectations.”

Habitat Central Arizona’s benefits plans have since become a model for many of its sister organizations across the state. “Several of our affiliates have seen what we accomplished and asked to participate in our benefits program,” notes Roger. “Once again, HBC is stepping up to the plate. They’re currently exploring a number of strategies that would allow other Habitats to join with us, including the formation of a state trade association. This is the kind of innovative thinking we’ve come to expect from HBC.”

Habitat still faces many challenges in pursuing its mission and goals. But employee benefits are not among them, according to Roger. “Thanks to the high quality of our benefits program, we’ve been able to retain a talented workforce even though we can’t always offer market rate salaries. We owe a great deal to Hynes Benefits Consulting, LLC.”