Box is a global technology company with worldwide connectivity at the core of their product, so it’s no surprise that it’s also at the heart of everything they do with their benefits. We talked to MaryBeth Kramer, Global Benefits Director at Box, to find out more about their benefits philosophy, how their employees helped direct the search for a fertility benefits partner, and why Carrot was ultimately the right partner for them.
What’s it like managing benefits at Box?
Enabling Boxers to live their healthiest lives is a central pillar to our benefits philosophy, and we want it to support our larger mission and purpose and further our culture. Our culture at Box is renowned — we teach classes on it! Part of that is asking our Boxers to bring the best versions of themselves to work every day — and our job as their employer is to do our part to make that possible through our benefits offering. Our population is about half millennials and half other populations, so we want to make sure their needs are met with everything we offer.
What prompted you to start thinking about fertility benefits?
Being family friendly is one of our main pillars — it helps make work a great experience for both our Boxers and their families. One of our employee resource groups (ERGs) called FAB (Families at Box) had heard people had concerns about putting life on hold, and fertility benefits could help with that. But it wasn’t just preservation services like egg freezing they were looking for — in fact, people who had heard of egg freezing benefits elsewhere specifically called that out that, while that was one piece they wanted, it wasn’t the full picture. It was very important from a diversity and inclusion perspective that we find a solution that was inclusive of every pursuit of parenthood. And they were also looking for guidance and care navigation — and it was very important that there not be a need to have a clinical reason to take advantage of the benefit.
So, some members within FAB took the lead on bringing those needs to the attention of the company. They came to the benefits team and vocalized that the existing benefits within our health plan were not sufficient — they were too difficult to access and left too many people uncovered, ultimately taking away people’s ability to focus on their work. The thing is, when you’ve hired somebody to do a job and they can’t do it because they’re so focused on something else in their life that isn’t going right but could be, why wouldn’t you do something about it?
We have to be fiscally responsible, but once we knew we could add fertility benefits in a way that worked with our budget, we knew it was the right thing to do — it was a win-win situation.
How has managing benefits at Box changed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The sense of urgency to make sure we’re furthering our mission through our benefits is escalated even more now that we’re all working from home. It adds a new layer there that I don’t think we’ve ever really experienced, but as benefits people, we have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to care for our remote workforce. We know people are hurting, and we have a responsibility to them. We’re really trying to give people information but not overwhelm them with a tidal wave of it. It’s important for us to answer people’s questions in the way that they’re asking them rather than how we as benefits professionals would normally prefer to communicate.
It impacts everything we do, everything employees do, and how we all think about things. How do we keep our employees connected and foster a sense of community even while we aren’t physically together? Community has always been a big part of Box, but now that’s our guiding light. Parents and families are one of our big communities — they’ve always been important to us at Box, but now more than ever, we want to make sure they know they’re a priority and have a connection to the Box community. Sharing things like the Baby Steps podcast have been really helpful.
A lot of companies say they are 'global,' but they can’t deliver on it. With Carrot, it’s been easy to take our benefit global. Ultimately, it was a business decision, and Carrot was the complete package.
How did you make the case for Carrot to your leadership team?
Our executives see what we spend on benefits, and they know it’s an investment in our people. Benefits can be thought of purely as a cost center and something to constantly be lowering the costs of, but our leadership recognizes value-added programs like Carrot are a win/win because they help Boxers expand the reach of their existing benefits; get better, broader coverage and improve utilization, which ultimately increases value all around. Plus, we know our benefits are enriching our employees lives and helping to attract and retain talent. And our executives are 100% on board with that. It’s a good place to be.
Still, we take a very data-driven approach to bringing in a new benefit. Our team identified the need that existed for our Boxers, explained the gap, and then analyzed four different companies in the fertility space. We then looked at the information in front of us to decide what offering met our needs and was the best fit with the company. We looked at cost, but not just at the amount fertility benefits would cost on the surface — we looked at what we are spending in our health plan, how many people attempted to use fertility benefits through that compared to how many came and talked to us, and cost savings that could result from fertility benefits. It was a very data-driven decision.
What ultimately made you decide to go with Carrot?
We realized early on in the process of interviewing vendors that we needed to ensure whatever solution we went with not only delivered the benefit but provided programming, education, and care navigation. To us, that was key in making sure people were getting the absolute maximum value out of their benefit dollars. That’s something we found in the Carrot offering.
Anything that we do in benefits now has to be available globally to everybody — we want to make sure all of our Boxers have access to the same level of benefits, no matter where they’re located. So, that was another key piece. We quickly found that there are definitely a lot of companies that say they are “global,” but they can’t deliver on it. With Carrot, it’s been easy to take our benefit global.
Ultimately, it was a business decision, and Carrot was the complete package.
What kind of feedback have you received from employees about having fertility benefits?
Our employees are really thrilled. I keep hearing about all kinds of experiences from people — I got expert counseling, they sent me to expert providers, and the money from the financial benefit Box provided is going further than they ever thought it could with all the additional services Carrot helps with. One of our recruiters put a shoutout to his experience with Carrot on his emails. Our employees are evangelizing it now, so you know it’s a success when employees are talking about it without being prompted. I’ve even had some people who have moved on to other companies reach out on LinkedIn about how it’s impacted their life — and then ask me to please connect with their new HR team so they can get the benefit there.
Rachel, one of our employees who was an early supporter for fertility benefits at Box, has shared her experience publicly — it’s been truly life-changing for her. As a benefits professional, having your employee not only reach out to you but then decide to tell the world about their experience really makes us understand that we did the right thing.
What measurable impact have you seen from Carrot?
We look at utilization data on a quarterly basis to see how people are engaging with their benefits — we have Boxers using the benefit for adoption, fertility consultations, IVF, and more. We’ve gone full circle in a very short period of time — it’s been a very successful and well received program. Employees are talking about it amongst themselves in a very positive way.
How would you describe Carrot to other benefits leaders?
Carrot is a specialty program for fertility and family forming — and it’s for everyone who’s trying to pursue parenthood. It doesn’t matter where you’re at in that journey — Carrot is a resource that will really help you. Our employees love it. It’s something that truly helps people and brings into focus the fact that the company really cares about them. It reinforces what the Box caring culture is all about.
Choosing Carrot was one of the best decisions that has been made recently — Carrot has exceeded all expectations and is truly a model for everything we want to do moving forward with every vendor.
Want to learn more about how Carrot could help your company?