Learn more about Zestful
September 3, 2019
Mat Vogels

Walk the walk: how the Zestful team does employee perks

Ever curious to know just how seriously an employee perk company takes their employee perks? Find out in this post, full transparency included.

Employee happiness has always been an important topic in the workplace, and for good reason. Satisfied employees lead to less turnover, higher engagement & productivity, and a better bottom line.

One could also argue that it’s more important now than ever before for companies to stand out. With younger generations joining the workforce, unemployment at record lows, and turnover at an all-time high, companies are scrambling to put together perk and benefits packages that will attract, retain, and engage a diverse and competitive talent pool.

Even as an employee perk company ourselves, we, too, are always looking for new and better ways to keep our employees happy.

As a team, we believe that innovative employee perks stem beyond just gym memberships and Spotify subscriptions, and should also include things like fair and equal pay, top-notch health care, retirement planning, and more.

Implementing an above-and-beyond perk program is certainly easier when it’s done from the get-go, but if you already have a decent-sized team, fear not. Fringe perks (like gym memberships) can only shine when more important benefits are already in place (like fair salary)—therefore, setting a strong baseline is key.

Our approach to startup employee benefits

At Zestful, each of our perks and benefits stem from two core beliefs:

  • Does it give employees permission, freedom, and resources to do great work?
  • Does it give employees permission, freedom, and resources to enjoy themselves outside of work?

These beliefs directly translate to the guidelines we followed when creating the following perks and benefits packages at Zestful.

Above-market salaries

If you have the opportunity to pay above-market rates, I’ve found it’s one of the best things you can give to an employee. By paying higher-than-average salaries, you give employees the ability to grow into their value, instead of out of it.

For example, if someone is worth $60K in salary today, they’ll most likely be worth more than that as the year goes on—and definitely will be before their next scheduled pay raise. Once they hit this mark, it becomes easier for them to look for another opportunity that pays closer to what they’re worth. So, on our team, that’s first and foremost.

Generous equity in the company

Ownership is a big value at Zestful, and part of the ownership equation is giving our employees a generous amount of actual equity in the company.

And it’s not all talk: Our company is typically in the top 10% of the average when it comes to giving equity. We also believe that employees deserve a good amount of support when purchasing their options, so we’ll work directly with everyone individually to claim their equity if they leave the company before an exit event.

100% health coverage for employees and their families

Great healthcare can be an easy way to eliminate a stressful part of your employees’ lives. We’re proud to pay 100% of the best health coverage for our employees (and their families) so they have one less thing to worry about.

Freedom to work wherever and whenever

Remote work is one of the most modern and effective ways to keep employees engaged.

We all have different working styles and creative processes. We want to honor that by not only giving permission—but encouraging our employees—to work at different times and places. We freely give everyone on the team a sense of trust, which lets them know they don’t need to be “watched” in order to do great work.

...but ultra permission to work remote on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Permission is one of those crazy things that every human relies on. What I mean by that is, even if we’re given permission to do something, sometimes we need a bit of extra encouragement before we actually feel comfortable doing them.

So, while employees can work remote any day of the week, we strongly encourage our team to do so on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This allows everyone to feel comfortable sleeping in if they need it, going to the gym at 10am, or picking up their kids early in the afternoon without any potential stigma. We also support our team in trying to avoid taking meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays so they have the chance to really plug in—or unplug—as needed.

Minimum 15 days of PTO

Taking time off is super important. And while many companies offer unlimited vacation time, we set a minimum vacation time and (seriously) hold each other accountable to it. On top of this, we require that at least five days are taken off consecutively, giving our team the means to completely unplug.

You do you

Of course, we eat our own dog food—our Zestful cards provide even more unique and personal perks for our team. We’ve created multiple programs that encourage employees to spend their balances on the things they love most.

The most common feedback I hear when sharing these numbers is, “Why not just pay your employees a higher salary?” Here’s where permission comes in again.

Zestful, in a way, is the ultimate permission for employees to spend money on products or services they love, but may otherwise not want to spend their salary on.

Salaries tend to be used on rent, bills, insurance, food, gas, student loans, and other “need to pay” expenses. We give employees good salaries to make sure they can afford these things, but we also believe it’s incredibly important to give them a balance that can only be used on more fun things that they love.

Our Zestful perk stack:

  • $200/month to spend on anything in the catalog
  • $50/month to spend on fitness and health
  • $365/year to spend on education
  • $10/mo to donate to charity
  • $50/mo to give to team members (Peer to Peer)
  • $50 starting bonus
  • $50 work anniversary reward
  • $50 birthday reward
  • $30/mo to give to someone outside of the company (like a partner or family member)

In conclusion...

Employee perks—albeit important—are just one part of creating a happy and engaged workplace. The secret sauce is to build a supportive work environment that allows your employees to grow both personally and professionally while having a little fun along the way!

If you want to hear more about our learnings when creating our own successful perk stack, please reach out! I’d love to answer any questions you have. To chat, shoot me a message at mat@zestful.com.

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