Under the banner of ‘eat your own cooking,’ Employee Benefit News sat down with EaseCentral’s co-founders Courtney Guertin and David Reid to discuss the HR and benefits software provider’s commitment to creating and maintaining a strong company culture. While we were at it, EaseCentral’s CTO and CEO also chatted about recent lessons they’ve learned from their competitors.
EBN: Why is building and maintaining a strong company culture so important? What happens to organizations that fail to do this?
Guertin: Your team is everything. You can’t have a great product or service without an incredible team. Culture starts day one with how a company recruits, interviews, and onboards employees. Organizations that ignore team happiness and growth may become toxic and their best contributors will seek better work environments.
EBN: How do you attract and retain employees? What are your secrets?
Guertin: Having a larger vision and a mission beyond just revenue is critical for attracting great talent. People have choices and the most ambitious people want more than just a paycheck. Offering an environment in which everyone can grow both professionally and personally will help every company grow.
Everyone has his or her own “superpower,” and everybody has learned lessons through past experiences. Making sure everyone is a good teacher and enabling employees to have a direct impact is important for growing your team and your company.
EBN: Can you tell me a little bit about EaseCentral’s own employee benefit package? Are there any unique components?
Guertin: We are based in Silicon Valley but have locations in San Diego and Las Vegas. Beyond the great benefits package – medical, dental, vision, life, disability, etc. – we recognize the differences in each locale and try to create the best work atmosphere possible—whether by offering flexible hours, healthy snacks or a fun office environment. We love to do events and will get together for barbeques, ramen and sushi parties, concerts and more. We regularly bring teams together, and twice a year we have an all-company gathering. Our Las Vegas office anchors a great Customer Success team but also hosts most company gatherings.
EBN: What lessons have you learned from competitors like Zenefits?
Guertin: They have helped to validate that the delivery of HR and benefits needs to be improved. It’s a very fragmented industry that has been running on paper, email, fax, and Excel. Employers and employees deserve better and technology is a big part of the solution.
Reid: Zenefits focuses on small businesses and has been able to bring a solution for larger employers down to the scale of a small business with fewer than 100 employees. Agents that work with small businesses are typically small businesses themselves, and they’re unable to provide an enterprise-level solution.
EBN: How are you avoiding the Zenefits pitfalls?
Reid: We provide software for our customers and are focused on this mission. Unlike Zenefits, EaseCentral doesn’t sell insurance products, so our company and employees don’t have any state licensing requirements. We don't disrupt the insurance brokers we serve, and when we do disrupt traditional practices, the changes are for the better and are welcomed by the industry we serve.
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