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Human Resources Employee Relations

Chicago, Illinois, United States
January 19, 2018

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James Heath

**** *. ******** *******, ** ***** 773-***-****

SUMMARY: Human Resources leader who translates business vision into innovative Human Resources initiatives that improve performance, profitability, growth and employee engagement.

Areas of expertise include:

Performance Management Change Management Leadership Development

Legal Compliance Benefits and Compensation Policies and Procedures

Talent Acquisition Training and Development Employee Engagement

Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross Blue Shield of IL, TX, MT, NM, OK) 2009 – 2018 Chicago, IL

Executive Director/ Human Resources Business Partner

Direct the health and welfare benefits, for 50,000+ members with an annual budget exceeding $350M. Ensure that HCSC is offering a competitive total rewards package that will attract, retain and motivate the high potential, performing employees.

Oversaw performance management initiatives and coached managers and supervisors on disciplinary action and performance management procedures

Developed short and long-term strategies designed to attract and retain talent based on best practices benefit plans that addressed a wide range of demographics.

Direct and design the various pillars of employee wellness to reward & motivate employees and their covered dependents to decide to make healthier decision to control lifestyle related expenses and assist employees and their families to live a more productive life.

Successfully developed and implemented policies and process improvements for the merged organization. Areas addressed included: employee relations, talent acquisition, change management, risk management, performance management, workers compensation, unemployment claims, employee separations, benefits administration, and compensation, leave administration and employee recognition programs

Directed an upgrade to the newest version of PeopleSoft to provide a robust employee/manager self-service platform.

Directed a transition to a broad banded paygrade structure to facilitate a more flexible compensation system

Determined merit increase guidelines & pay range modifications based on competitive market data and current budget allowance

Hollister, Incorporated 2007 to 2009

Libertyville, IL

Global Human Resources Business Partner

Partnered with leaders to implement an HR strategy that supported aggressive growth goals and a three-way merger that increased the size of the organization from 1800 to over 3,300 employees.

Provided health and welfare and employee benefit plan analysis, procurement, implementation and communications resulting in significant financial savings for clients.

Procured and worked with managed care and ancillary benefit insurance companies, attorneys for ERISA compliance, and benefit administrative companies to deliver customized solutions.

Developed short and long-term strategies designed to attract and retain talent based on best practices benefit plans that addressed a wide range of demographics.

Improved infrastructure processes by implementing on-line approval forms, improving recruiting and developing an enhanced employee referral program resulting in an increase of referrals from 37% to 57%.

Redesigned benefit plans to ensure competitiveness and incorporated wellness programs to improve health of employees and reduce expenses.

Managed relationships with benefits brokers, vendors and subject matter experts ensuring delivery of high quality programs in accordance with best practices and legal compliance.

Initiated and secured a broker fee reduction of 70% during benefits renewal.

Project managed the Employee Engagement survey resulting in 95% participation.

Led a Hollister Incorporated cultural initiative and achieved recognition as a Top Place to Work.

Implemented Success Factors, a web-based performance management system.


Riverwoods, IL

Human Resources Director- Human Resources Business Partner

Director of Benefits (2001 – 2007)

Directed the design, communication and vendor management for all the Health & Welfare and Retirement & Savings benefits and for Discover Financial Services’ 12,500 benefits eligible population across North America.

Created the design, communication and vendor management for DFS’ Employee Wellness programs which significantly reduced the self-insured medical and disability expenses.

Led the HR transition efforts during the spin-off of DFS from Morgan Stanley as it related to: shared benefit contracts, system feeds, and payroll interfaces. Developed the Transitional Agreement between Morgan Stanley and DFS for required services.

Director of Compensation (1999 - 2001)

Conducted Market Studies and Salary Surveys on all grade levels to benchmark for both internal equity and external market consistency to ensure consistent and competitive pay practices and to establish annual merit, promotion and adjustment targets. Partnered with Human Resources Generalist to communicate and execute the compensation strategy.

Partnered with Executive Compensation Team at Morgan Stanley to design all Bonus plans for all levels, including: Stock Option Awards, Restricted Stock Units, Profit Sharing allocations, etc.

Director of Talent Acquisition (1997 – 1999)

Led the Staffing Team for DFS’ headquarters and field offices in North America and United Kingdom. Our team attracted and hired over 5,000 external employees and 1500 internal employees annually while considerably reducing cost-per-hire.

Managed a project team to install and implement the People Click Applicant Tracking Systems across all DFS’ offices in North America. Trained all team members on the software’s application and functionality.

Director of Employee Relations (1995 – 1997)

Directed the Employee Relations activities for all Discover Financial Services employees in North America. Approved all request for termination adhering to our progressive discipline process.

Led a team of HR professionals, which handled all employee grievances, EEO/Harassment complaints, unemployment hearings, Union Avoidance Training, Sexual Harassment/Workplace Violence Training, and proactive Performance Management.

Human Resources Manager/Supervisor (1986 – 1995)

Held various Human Resources positions within Discover Financial Services of increasing responsibility including Staffing, Leadership Training, Performance Management, Organizational Development, etc.


Redesigned and communicated a revised Defined Benefit pension plan which reduced firms’ liability, retained competitive positioning and saved $20m annually.

Migrated the former Mainframe HRIS System to PeopleSoft within budget and within designated timeframes. Directed all training and process improvements associated with migration.

Reengineered and communicated the Vacation, Sick/Personal Time and Disability buckets into a Paid Time Off Plan resulting in increased employee satisfaction/retention, enhanced productivity and reduced absenteeism

Implemented a broad banded compensation structure with DFS with two tracks, one for individual contributors and one for people managing teams.

Professional Affiliations

Active Member of Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM)

Active Member of Human Resource Managers of Chicago (HRMAC)


Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 2003

Attended the Strategic Development Continuing Education Program for Human Resources Executives

Loyola University, Chicago, IL 1994

Master of Science in Human Resources and Industrial Relations with highest honors

DePaul University, Chicago, IL 1987

Bachelors of Science in Management with emphasis in Human Resources with high honors

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