Helping Coinsquare Employees Live Their Best Lives with League Benefits

League Inc.

As People Experience Manager at Coinsquare, my job is to make sure the people who work here get to live their best lives.

That might sound like a lofty aim for an HR role, but as the person responsible for health, safety, and benefits at Coinsquare, I have to think of each employee as a whole person: who they are both in and outside work. Many people in HR might define “health and safety” as purely workplace or occupational, but from the perspective of someone administering a company benefits plan, I’ve come to view it as a much larger umbrella encompassing wellness. Thinking about these concepts hand in hand, I get to focus all my energy on making sure the people I work with are happy and healthy.

Benefits for Employees = Benefits for Employers

From a human perspective, I want people to enjoy their time with this company. When people come to work, I’d like them to feel like they are contributing and that our company values their contribution.

But there’s also a business dimension to this. Happy, healthy employees are more productive and stay with you for a long time. Take care of your people first, and that turns into a better bottom line.

When putting together a benefits package, it can be easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the bigger picture, but the main question is this: Do your people feel they are being taken care of? If they do, that will translate into them giving their best work. If they don’t, well, it probably shows. At any company, everyone wins from a well-executed benefits plan, but this is especially true at a company like Coinsquare.

Leading with Benefits in an Exploding Market

Coinsquare is Canada’s premier cryptocurrency platform. You might look at what Coinsquare does and think of it as a niche within an emerging space. Another way to look at us, though, is as a startup, with all the challenges of moving and growing fast.

The digital currency market is exploding right now, and our business is growing with it. We started four years ago and already we have 135 employees. How, from an HR perspective, can we keep up with that pace? Every company asks how to attract and retain the most talented people, but that question is much more urgent in this environment. It’s not enough to simply pay well. Offering benefits is a must.

Attracting and retaining the best people is the most urgent in emerging industries.

Revamping our benefits offering was my first task when I joined Coinsquare in early 2018. That opportunity was what first attracted me to the role. Coinsquare wanted a total benefits package review and needed someone passionate about that process

I was at a point in my career where I’d spent years in customer service and operations management roles, instituting policies and procedures for hiring, onboarding, and customer care. With this job, I was eager to build policies and procedures—but this time on my own terms.

I Learned We Were Missing Something

When I first joined Coinsquare, they were using League for their Health Spending Account (HSA). It became apparent fairly early on that people loved the flexibility of the HSA. They could use it on whatever kind of health care they needed instead of there being a specific allotment to dental, another to health, and another dollar figure to vision. For our younger employees who don’t have dependents, that flexibility was ideal.

But then, in conversations with my colleagues, people had a lot of questions about what the HSA covered. These same questions about coverage kept coming up:

“What about travel insurance?”

“What about life insurance?”

“What about my kids?”

You can learn a great deal from the questions people ask. That’s how I initially collected a lot of my information for the benefits package review, just by listening to these questions and the experiences that lie behind them. What I heard in these sessions was that people liked the flexibility of the HSA, but they wanted something more. That something more, especially for people with families, was peace of mind.

Benefits aren’t just a perk for your employees. It’s peace of mind.

As I mentioned earlier, in a fast-growing market, we have to maintain a competitive edge in recruitment. These questions often came up during hiring. In interviews, the first questions people with families ask are: “What does the benefits package look like?” and “How is this company going to take care of my children?”

I held a few open forums as well as some lunch and learns so I could hear more about our employees’ lived experiences and what they need from a benefits package. But Coinsquare’s employees have a greater diversity of needs than whether or not they have kids. I discovered a lot about where my coworkers come from just by listening to what they expected from a great benefits package. We needed something that fulfilled both the person who loved flexibility and the one who prized comprehensiveness, and everyone in between.

Searching for a Plan Everyone Could Use

It was time to begin our search. We wanted to make sure we found the best solution, so in addition to looking at League, I also got in touch with a broker who helped us reach out to all the major providers, like Great-West Life and Manulife. We gathered all this information and it came to a point where we had to make a decision: Stay with League or move everything over to another provider.

In the end, we chose to stay with League for reasons you might not expect if you’ve dealt with other insurance agencies. A deciding factor was League’s platform and how user-friendly it was for our employees. User friendliness is more important than some people might realize, because what’s the point of investing so much into a great benefits plan if no one knows how to use it?

People were already comfortable with the platform from using the HSA. Now, with our expanded plan, that platform became more of an easy education piece. Plus, their frequently asked questions page is easy to navigate. The platform is also great on the administrative side. Every day, it surprises me how easy it is to administer all of this.

Because of our prior experience with the customer care chatbot and the health concierge, we also knew that we would always be taken care of in terms of customer support. League is incredibly responsive—you ask a question and someone answers within 15 seconds. We knew to lose that would be a big negative because our people would be less likely to get everything they needed out of the plan. League’s readiness to help in any way was a big part of why we decided to stay with them. 

Yes, Benefits Can Be Comprehensive and Flexible

We’re still in the early days of our new roll out, but we have not been disappointed. Our employees are delighted by how good the program is, which I appreciate, since we put so much effort into finding a program that would work for everyone.

All the League-specific feedback we’ve received so far has been about the user-friendliness of the platform as well as the helpful, responsive people. With any launch, there will be little glitches here and there, which is why responsiveness is key. We, of course, encountered some hiccups as we started applying the plan to the particulars of employees’ real lives. But any time we brought something to League’s attention, they fixed it almost immediately.

They also offered us their Health@Work package, which brings instructors into our workplace to give classes every week. What a lot of workplaces will do is just pick one or two classes, and that will be the weekly offering. Instead, League let us run a pilot program for the month of August where, each week, we tried out one of the classes—boot camp, kickboxing, yoga, and Krav Maga—so we could gauge which held the greatest interest for our office, based on attendance and feedback.

I think it says a lot about League that they let us try things out before we committed to anything. Even now, after we chose yoga and Krav Maga, if interest in either of those falls off, we have the option to change things up. You don’t generally think of a group benefits plan as being flexible like that.

Education: Helping People Live Their Best Lives

Unfortunately, benefits plans are often a case of out of sight, out of mind. People don’t know they need a benefits plan until they need a benefits plan. For some, that realization might come with the arrival of a child. For others, long-term disability insurance or emergency dental becomes crucial only when something terrible happens. 

So one part of my job with this benefits revamp has been taking care of people before they know they need to be taken care of. Most people did not learn about these things in school, which is why it’s my job to educate them. I’m constantly reaching out to my coworkers to make sure they know how to get the most out of this plan.

The League team helped with this, too. In the lead up to launching the plan, they produced a set of posters we put up throughout the office to let people know what the new package and app would look like. And then when we launched, League did a lunch and learn where employees could hear what this new plan was all about.

League’s done a tremendous job at supporting my outreach campaign, but it’s on me to keep the momentum going. Now, I focus my efforts on getting the word out. This outreach takes several forms. We have a Slack channel called “Benefits: Did you know?” where every day for the past two months we do a rundown of something that’s covered and what using that benefit looks like, in layman’s terms. In addition to saying, “You can see a psychotherapist or a chiropractor or a massage therapist,” we say, “Here’s how this person can help you. And here’s a referral, if you’re interested.”

Rolling out a new benefits package? Make education a top priority.

We also have a weekly office newsletter where I write an in-depth how-to every week: How to register for your benefits; how to use direct billing when you go to a practitioner. These tutorials often include screenshots to clear up any ambiguity. 

At the end of August, we did a pulse survey to gauge employees’ feedback on these communication channels. We found a pretty even split between the Slack channel, email, and the newsletter as the preferred medium. This tells me we have to keep up all three to ensure we reach the widest swath of people.

This was my first time building out a benefits plan, and I’m so grateful that we came out of this process with such a fantastic package to take care of our people. I couldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the patience of the folks at League in answering all my questions. And I had a lot of questions.

As we move forward with the rollout, we’re going to continue to educate our employees so they can take full advantage of their plan. There’s a difference between telling someone, “You have coverage to see a nutritionist,” and saying, “Have you ever considered seeing a nutritionist? Here are all the ways a nutritionist could help you take the first step to a healthier lifestyle. And if you’re interested, here is a list of some highly recommended nutritionists near here. These consultations are covered by your plan.” 

Putting it the second way actively encourages someone to take advantage of this opportunity to improve their overall wellness. It’s a vision of benefits that’s proactive and is about bettering a person’s everyday life, not just planning for a worst-case scenario.

That’s why I can confidently say my job is about helping the people at Coinsquare live their best lives. My coworkers know this company takes care of them, and that’s a big reason why the best people in the digital currency business continue to work here. It's the reason Coinsquare is ranked number two on LinkedIn's Top Startups 2018. The Coinsquad doesn't think their health should be an afterthought, and we don’t either.