Deep Malik Finds a Home in HR at Loyola Marymount University

Deep Malik explores alternative approaches that streamline how employees engage with their benefits through her role as director of benefits at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). But her passion for benefits comes from her nontraditional path to the HR world.

Soon after her wedding in New Delhi, Malik relocated to Chicago to be with her spouse. After graduating from Delhi University, Malik had a successful career in banking, leading teams within a major financial institution. However, despite her extensive work experience and academic qualifications, Malik’s visa status did not permit work authorization in the US. Malik had to start from scratch. She then decided to take a break and acclimate to the new culture for a bit.

By the time Malik’s spouse changed jobs and the couple relocated to Southern California, she was about to start fresh. Without the safety net of a mentor or a backup plan, she confronted the make-or-break reality of her situation, refusing to entertain the notion of failure. Venturing into volunteering at an IT consulting organization, Malik explored various facets of human resources, ultimately gravitating toward benefits. Her determination paid off as she transitioned into a role in HR benefits.

Malik was on a clear career path, mastering necessary skills and achieving milestones for higher roles. After a few years and multiple promotions, she designed retirement plans, led enrollment meetings, and grasped the role of HR in organizational success.

Since 2004, Malik has flourished in her HR career, now holding a prominent position as the director of benefits at Loyola Marymount University. Over the past decade, she has dedicated her expertise to overseeing a team of specialists tasked with providing support to over three thousand benefit-eligible employees across LMU and Loyola Law School.

Employee benefits often go unnoticed despite their impact. From mitigating financial burdens during health crises or childbirth to providing support during bereavement, benefits like medical coverage and family leave play integral roles. Further, retirement plans like pensions and 403(b)s ensure financial security in old age, while life insurance offers peace of mind for loved ones. Educational benefits propel careers forward, and paid time off fosters rejuvenation and personal growth.

Malik’s adherence to LMU’s mission underscores her approach to designing and implementing the institution’s benefits programs. By emphasizing learning, holistic education, faith service, and justice promotion, she ensures that the benefits align with the university’s values and support the well-being and development of its employees as whole individuals. This connection highlights the integral role of employee benefits in fostering a supportive and enriching work environment that reflects the university’s mission and values.

Malik views comprehensive benefits packages as mutually beneficial for both employers and employees. Recognizing the importance of attracting top talent, she emphasizes the employer’s role in providing desirable benefits.

Simultaneously, she acknowledges the significance of benefits for employees, particularly in how they impact their families. This perspective underscores the reciprocal relationship between employers and employees regarding the provision and benefits usage.

Additionally, Malik faces the challenge of catering to a diverse workforce at LMU, comprising individuals from various backgrounds and job categories, necessitating plans that are inclusive and cost-effective.

Deep Malik Loyola Marymount University
Photo Courtesy of Deep Malik

To overcome the challenge of catering to a diverse workforce at LMU, Malik conducts thorough research, provides flexible benefits options, and provides options for employees to customize their benefits packages based on their individual needs and preferences. She also ensures that employees understand their benefits options and how to make the most of them. She further balances the need for inclusivity with cost-effectiveness by exploring creative solutions such as group purchasing arrangements, leveraging technology for administrative efficiency, and negotiating favorable terms with benefits providers.

Her team continuously monitors and evaluates the effectiveness of LMU’s benefits programs, adjusting as needed. Malik also encourages feedback through one-on-one meetings.

LMU’s benefits package encompasses standard group health and retirement plans alongside additional perks such as tuition remission for employees and dependents, childcare aid, professional development initiatives, sabbatical programs, and thorough mental health and wellness support, with certain departments providing options for remote or hybrid work setups.

“We stand to gain from the longevity of our employees, as individuals living longer may also choose to extend their careers, contributing valuable experience and expertise to the workforce,” Malik says.

“As the workforce ages and individuals extend their careers beyond traditional retirement age, we must navigate significant costs, risks, and complexities. Rising healthcare expenses and shifting demographics add to the financial pressures faced by us. To succeed in an era of increased longevity, we must innovate in areas such as workforce health, retirement planning, and career development,” she says.

She empowers individuals to live a healthy and sustainable life based on three pillars: quality of life, purpose, and financial resilience. “When individuals experience holistic well-being encompassing physical, emotional, financial, social, and purposeful aspects, they are empowered to bring their authentic selves to every facet of their lives,” Malik says.

She and her team also work behind the scenes to help employees manage the complex world of leaves of absences. The benefits team partnered with Acrisure, its broker for disability insurance, to manage the day-to-day administration and compliance with life, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), and long-term disability insurances.

Life, AD&D, and long-term disability insurances are an integral part of a benefits package that guides employees and their beneficiaries through financial protection decisions.

“We designed our life and loss benefits and claims processes with the unique needs of LMU employees and beneficiaries in mind,” Malik says. “Our group life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, also known as accidental loss of life and severe injury benefits, is a benefit that offers protection during the most difficult times in people’s lives. Plus, our streamlined claims submission process eases the administrative burden for LMU, all while guiding employees and their beneficiaries through financial protection decisions.”

 In 2024, LMU undertook a multiyear compensation initiative and comprehensive benefits review and analysis. Malik is heading the comprehensive benefits review and analysis, a deliberate and thoughtful strategy aimed at supporting and retaining talent.

Transitioning from a finance background overseas to a fulfilling career in human resources, Malik attributes her success to her upbringing, emphasizing the importance of the listening, empathy, and negotiation skills instilled in her from a young age. Her commitment to continuous learning fuels her passion for her work, turning each day into an opportunity.

Despite the challenges, Malik’s journey has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. “Maintaining a strong work/life balance is critical to keeping yourself happy and productive, but it’s just as important to the well-being of those around you,” Malik says. “The more people rely on you—either in the office or at home—the more important it is that you keep both spheres balanced.”

Acrisure is proud of the longstanding partnership we’ve forged with Deep Malik and the entire LMU Human Resources / Benefits team. Deep is an inspiration in our endeavor to provide LMU with best-in-class employee benefits and service to our clients across all industries. Acrisure is a fintech leader serving clients through the best of humans and technology. The company provides a range of products and services including Insurance, reinsurance, cyber services, mortgage origination, and more. In the last nine years, Acrisure has grown in revenue from $38 million to $4.4 billion and employs over 17,000 colleagues in over 20 countries. 

The post Deep Malik Finds a Home in HR at Loyola Marymount University appeared first on American Healthcare Leader.

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