Sur­veyMon­key of­fer­ing con­tract work­ers full ben­e­fits

Spurred on by full-time em­ploy­ees, the Sil­i­con Val­ley firm is now of­fer­ing rich perks to non-staffers

Employee Benefit News - - Contents - By Phil Al­bi­nus

Spurred on by full-time em­ploy­ees, the Sil­i­con Val­ley firm is now of­fer­ing rich perks to non-staffers.

Sur­veyMon­key is now of­fer­ing im­proved ben­e­fits to the con­tract work­ers and third-party food ser­vice and jan­i­to­rial staff that work in its San Ma­teo, Cal­i­for­nia, head­quar­ters as it of­fers to its full-time work­force.

Since Jan­uary, but an­nounced re­cently, the polling com­pany has been pro­vid­ing what it calls “gold stan­dard” med­i­cal, den­tal and vi­sion ben­e­fits, ex­ten­sive paid time off and trans­porta­tion sub­si­dies for ap­prox­i­mately 50 free­lance work­ers from Clean & Green, Bon Ap­pétit Man­age­ment Co., and Eastridge Work­force So­lu­tions. The ben­e­fits kicked in Jan. 1.

(The ex­act num­ber of con­tract work­ers fluc­tu­ates for some short-term project work­ers.)

Sur­veyMon­key and its ben­e­fit bro­ker part­ner drafted ben­e­fit bench­marks for their ven­dors that are “ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive and sim­i­lar” to those health­care, PTO and trans­porta­tion sub­si­dies of­fered to its full-time em­ploy­ees,

Un­der the med­i­cal plan, 80% of claim costs are paid by its in­sur­ance car­rier and the third-party em­ployer pays 85% of em­ployee pre­mium and 50% of de­pen­dent pre­mium. Con­tract and third-party em­ploy­ees are en­ti­tled to 80 hours of va­ca­tion and 40 hours of paid sick leave per year, in­clud­ing seven paid hol­i­days, 12 weeks of paid parental leave per year and 12 weeks of paid med­i­cal leave per year. These work­ers also can re­ceive a monthly sub­sidy of up to $260 for pub­lic tran­sit ex­penses.

Start­ing late last year, Sur­veyMon­key worked with its ben­e­fit bro­ker, i2i Ben­e­fits and In­sur­ance Ser­vices, to de­velop stan­dards for the ben­e­fits of­fered to Clean & Green, Bon Ap­pétit and Eastridge. Sur­veyMon­key and i2i will work with the third-party ser­vice providers it uses for its Seat­tle, Port­land and Ot­tawa of­fices.

The idea for ex­tend­ing em­ployee ben­e­fits to the sup­port staff came from work­ers at Sur­veyMon­key. Ac­cord­ing to Chief Peo­ple Of­fi­cer Becky Cantieri, the com­pany con­ducted an in­ter­nal sur­vey be­fore last fall’s open en­roll­ment sea­son, and in it em­ploy­ees sug­gested that the jan­i­to­rial and cater­ing staff re­ceive the same ben­e­fits as full-time em­ploy­ees.

“Our em­ploy­ees pointed it out and wanted us to get in­volved in help­ing set a bet­ter stan­dard, so we did just that. These on­site em­ploy­ees were of­fered ben­e­fits through their em­ploy­ers, but they just weren’t to a stan­dard that was di­rectly com­pa­ra­ble to our own em­ploy­ees, and that’s the gap we sought to close,” says Cantieri, who was EBN’s Judges’ Choice Benny Award win­ner in 2017.

“This was re­ally driven by what you might call an em­bar­rass­ment of riches on the part of our own em­ploy­ees,” she adds. “We have the lux­ury of gen­er­ous ben­e­fits, but our part­ner teams didn’t have that lux­ury.”

Such gen­eros­ity is in Sur­veyMon­key’s DNA, says Dan Maass, pres­i­dent of em­ployee ben­e­fits at i2i Ben­e­fits, the Red­wood City, Cal­i­for­nia, based bro­ker­age that has over­seen em­ployee ben­e­fits for the polling firm for the past decade.

“This is the type of com­pany that [Sur­veyMon­key] has been from the start, but it’s very unique in the mar­ket­place to have a com­pany fo­cused on con­trac­tors and ven­dor part­ners,” he says. “We would love to see other com­pa­nies look at this pop­u­la­tion and re­ally fo­cus on where their ben­e­fits are.”

While Cantieri ad­mits that it might have been eas­ier to hire these work­ers out­right, she says that run­ning a cater­ing and jan­i­to­rial firm is not in Sur­veyMon­key’s core com­pe­tency.

“Rossi Var­gas [CEO of Clean & Green] and her team are ex­perts in what they do, and it doesn’t al­ways make sense to hire these re­sources in­house,” she says. “It’s not al­ways just about cost; it’s about who has the best ex­per­tise to do the work. It’s not just a cost equa­tion.”

Cantieri be­lieves this of­fer­ing — she says Mi­crosoft has a sim­i­lar plan in place for its con­tract work­ers — could be­come stan­dard as the gig econ­omy gains ground in the U.S. work­place.

“The world of work is chang­ing, and we’re all go­ing to be chal­lenged to re­spond to it in a way that meets the needs of the busi­ness and the ta­lent that we all de­sire to hire,” she says.

“I think it will con­tinue to evolve, but we are cer­tainly learn­ing a lot and think­ing dif­fer­ently about the world of work based on these changes,” Cantieri adds. “We have to.”

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