Finding balance: Bold's approach to benefits
When a company invests in you as an employee, you take notice of it. At Bold, we see how much our Builders are committed, invested, and believe in what we’re doing, so we’re always looking to find ways to ensure they feel as valued as they are. Over the years, we have built up our benefits package to include comprehensive health coverage, the Bold Wellbeing Account, an education fund, and our Employee Share Ownership Program to name a few.
We didn’t get here overnight; it took time, patience, and a commitment to keeping our Builders at the forefront of every decision to get where we are today.
When I joined, Bold was already doing a lot of things other companies hadn’t even thought of. They had the standard health and dental, vacation, and sick benefits in place, but beyond that, the Leadership Team was going out of their way when it came to surprising and delighting our Builders. They were doing things such as free lunches, in-office events, ice cream Fridays, and more.
Behind the scenes, I was focused on building out my team so we could grow with the organization and create the best benefits package for our Builders. As my team grew, I was able to take a deep dive and understand what our benefits were, where we had gaps, what the cost implications were to make changes, and most importantly, what people were asking for.
Throughout my last five years at Bold, one common theme prevails above all else: innovation. Some companies define their benefits and then don’t look at them again for a long time. To grow as a company, we have to be innovating constantly, and that’s reflected in every aspect of how we operate from our products and processes to our benefits and total rewards.
For example, in January 2021, we introduced our Bold Wellbeing Account, a set amount of funds in addition to our health and dental benefits, that Builders can choose to allocate every year towards either health spending, personal spending, or a retirement savings account. We wanted to invest our money back into our team and empower them to decide where they need support the most. One year they may need it more in an RRSP, while another year they may have some health needs. We knew that we couldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach because every Builder has different priorities.
Throughout my last five years at Bold, one common theme prevails above all else: innovation.
Why did we add in this benefit? We received feedback through our monthly Ask-Us-Anythings and company-wide surveys that identified this as an area of opportunity. What we also found is that we have such a diverse group of people already and as we expand, our group becomes more diverse in age, lifestyle, and needs. We needed a plan that could support our Builders in a way that best suited them.
In 2021, we also announced the addition of our maternity and parental leave benefit for new parents to allow them to be there for the moments that matter with the support they need. We knew that this was an important area of opportunity to be inclusive of all family structures.
Another benefit that Bold added in 2021, is an additional day off for our Builders’ birthdays. While we know it’s something small in the grand scheme of our benefits package, it’s one more way we can show our appreciation for the energy and effort they bring to work every day. Besides, how nice would it be to get your birthday off from work?
Do what you can, when you can
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to add significant benefits every year. Instead, take stock of what you can do at that moment in time; maybe it’s finding volunteer opportunities to help bring the team together while giving back, providing an extra day off to show appreciation, or even a coffee gift card to say thanks.
When we opened our office in Austin, we had to explore a new landscape of benefits for our American Builders. We started with a basic plan, and within a year we were able to expand and offer short-term disability as well as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). While we’re always looking to add more for them, we knew we had to start somewhere and would continually be working towards improving our benefits package one step at a time.
Open the door
Beyond benefits, one other area we continue to put emphasis on is ensuring everyone knows they have a voice. Every new Builder who joins our team is invited to participate in a new hire lunch with our Executive Team where they can ask any questions they have. From where the company is going to their favorite part of Bold’s culture, nothing is off the table.
Maintaining open lines of communication across the company to let employees give feedback is important. Once a month we open up dialogue to our entire team with our Ask-us-Anything panels featuring our Executive Team where Builders can ask any questions they’re looking for answers on.
As we scale, it's important that we maintain these initiatives to show that our open door policy actually does exist and we are taking intentional steps to make everyone feel welcome.
Where to start?
When I get asked, “Where can my company start to improve what we offer to our employees?” I usually respond with a simple statement, “Talk to your teams.” They are the best market research you can get. I also throw out the question: “What is one benefit that someone in your family has that you wish you had?” You always hear about that great benefit that one sister or cousin has at their work, so use it to your advantage. If budget is an issue, get creative and look at what is feasible right now and hold onto other things for when you might be able to afford them down the road.
A whole new world
In today’s competitive job market, especially with remote work adding a new layer of complexity, it can be challenging to deliver innovative, valuable, and meaningful benefits to retain talent. You need to invest in your team as much as they invest in you. Great people are what make a company successful, and it’s important they feel valued, appreciated, and motivated to do their best work every day.