Barry’s is a fitness company with health at the center of its mission. With access to Barry’s intense fitness classes, employees have the resources they need to support their fitness goals. But when taking a look at the complete picture of the company’s benefits, Barry’s HR team found gaps in their support for other elements of employee health. To address that, they decided to look for new benefits that would show employees that their overall health and goals outside of work were just as important as their physical health.
“We wanted to make sure that our work environment is supportive for people regardless of where they are in their lives,” said Prudhomme. “We overhauled all of our benefits, including medical, dental, and vision, and it felt like an obvious next step was to look for fertility benefits.”
When the team first started looking for fertility benefits, it was part of a larger examination of inclusivity in their benefit offerings. They had started framing their leave policy as “paid family leave” or “parental leave” instead of “maternity or paternity leave” to be more inclusive. They wanted to find a fertility benefit that acknowledged and supported the diverse ways people pursue parenthood, too.
“I want people to feel less stigma around fertility. Whether you're a single-intending parent, in a same-sex relationship, or experiencing infertility, there's no shame in utilizing family-forming benefits to start a family,” said Prudhomme.
The Barry’s team was also looking for a fertility benefit that included care navigation and educational resources, so employees could understand all of their options and what’s involved in each process. For example, surveys show that some people who pursue egg freezing aren’t aware of the steps involved, including taking fertility medications and needing time off work — but that access to education makes a difference. The team knew that care coordination and educational resources could help create a better experience.
I want people to feel less stigma around fertility. Whether you're a single-intending parent, in a same-sex relationship, or experiencing infertility, there's no shame in utilizing family-forming benefits to start a family.
Once the Barry’s team started their search, they quickly discovered that Carrot was the most comprehensive option.
“There’s something for everyone within Carrot, whether it’s egg freezing, adoption, or gestational carrier (GC) services,” said Prudhomme. She emphasized that Carrot’s access to educational resources made the program even more attractive. “There are a lot of resources outside of the financial component of Carrot. It's a robust platform that allows people to get educated on fertility and see what options may be open to them.”
Carrot members also have access to personalized paths to parenthood that include expert guidance, the ability to match with a BIPOC provider, and access to clinics and agencies vetted for LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Carrot also supports fertility preservation and fertility testing for those who want to learn more about their fertility and wellness. And soon, employees experiencing menopause and low testosterone (low T) will have access to support through Carrot.
Barry’s launched Carrot in January 2020 — just months before the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the pandemic upended the fitness industry, the Barry’s team continued offering support to employees even as the company dealt with financial challenges.
“It was important for everyone to know that we still cared about them. We wanted to provide the tools, resources, and access to care employees need for their physical and mental health,” said Prudhomme. Importantly, that support included employees who were furloughed — in the summer of 2020, they all maintained access to their Carrot benefit.
The company is still bouncing back from the pandemic, and their commitment to creating an inclusive environment for its employees remains core to their work. This means fertility benefits will stay a constant at Barry’s.
“Even when we were looking at our financials, trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic, fertility, family building, and mental health benefits were an absolute yes, no matter what our financial situation was,” said Prudhomme. “It showed me that we really live and breathe our mission, vision, and values and that we truly value the employee experience, both at work and in their personal lives.”
Since launching in 2020, Barry’s members have pursued a range of fertility and family-forming journeys using their Carrot funds. While fertility preservation is the most common journey for Barry’s employees, members have used their funds — $10,000 per eligible employee — to pursue a range of family-forming goals.
The breadth of options Barry’s employees have explored shows that the Barry’s team was right to find a fertility benefit that supported all pursuits of parenthood.
Launching fertility benefits at Barry’s made it possible for employees to learn more about their options and move forward. In fact, having access to Carrot inspired Prudhomme herself to pursue egg freezing. While she hadn’t considered it before, Carrot’s educational resources helped her understand that it could be the perfect time to start the journey based on her age and health. After a pandemic-related delay, Prudhomme finished freezing her eggs.
“It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” said Prudhomme.
Since then, her own experience has become part of her own benefits communication strategy. “I believe that my voice is respected and highlighted when I speak about this benefit because I have used it, and I know it works. I’m very open with my story and experience, and it was nothing but positive. Hearing that makes it a little less scary for anyone else getting ready for their own journey,” she said.
Prudhomme has found that open conversations have become more common since introducing Carrot in the workplace. Education through Carrot has also contributed to Barry’s internal DEIB initiatives. For example, during the company’s Trans Visibility Day celebrations, they included family-forming options for trans people available through Carrot in their presentation.
With the support of Carrot, Barry’s created a more inclusive and safe environment for aspiring parents in the workplace. Prudhomme herself has seen Carrot’s impact, from the financial support to expert guidance to normalizing conversations.
“Being able to talk openly about fertility with my bosses without feeling shunned made me feel safe and cared for,” she said. Before Carrot, this safety and inclusion were what Barry’s sought to achieve for their employees. And today, they continue to see how fertility and family-forming benefits make employees feel supported and encouraged.
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