Wellness Benefits That Keep Zapponians Happy And Healthy
Competitive pay? Three weeks vacation? A company match 401(k)?
If so, then you’re in the minority. According to Forbes and a 2018 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer, there are three factors that employees and job candidates look for in a company. To truly enjoy one’s job, today’s labor pool considers workplace flexibility, working with a purpose, and a commitment to health and well-being as top influencers.
Workplace flexibility doesn’t mean doing yoga in the breakroom. Instead, its promoting leniency as to how and where an employee works to better meet his or her needs and the needs of the business. Zappos has embraced flexible work schedules for many employees who can perform their jobs outside the regular nine-to-five.
For many Zapponians, working with a purpose has a name. It’s called ikigai. Employees can embrace personal learning and find their higher purpose through online learning courses, shadow sessions and life coaching opportunities.
As for other workplace benefits, how does Zappos stack up? Is the commitment to health and well-being top of mind right along with its top-notch customer service and fun and quirky culture?
"Our employees' health and well-being is our number one commitment,” says Bhawna Provenzano, Zappos’ Wellness Benefits Coordinator. “We want to offer a great experience and remove as many barriers as we can to treatments.”
Wanting to get a better feel for some of the more unique benefits offered by Zappos, we caught up with several employees to see how the company’s benefits play a role in their lives. Here are some of their stories.
Wendy was born with undiagnosed auditory nerve damage, which effectively rendered her hard of hearing. Her family didn’t realize this fact until neighbors noticed she was ignoring them. Incredibly, it wasn’t until she turned 14 years old when she acquired her first hearing aids.
Wendy was in her mid-20s when she took out a loan to replace her original hearing aids. Those lasted 15 years until 2011 when they became too costly to replace. Unable to afford new ones, at around $4,500 per pair, she relied solely on her lip-reading skills to get by. Then in 2017, much to Wendy's delight, Zappos incorporated a hearing aid benefit that viewed the device as a medical necessity.
When Wendy received her new pair, she said, “I tried them on, and I cried. [This benefit] reopened doors for me that I thought were going to be closed for a long time. Because, quite honestly, I can’t afford these.”
Paid Paternity Leave
There’s no U.S. statute mandating paid parental leave. And according to a 2017 report by the SHRM, only 30 percent of organizations provided paid maternity leave, and even fewer (24 percent) paid paternity leave.
Zappos, however, likes to think differently. New Zapponian dads can utilize up to six weeks of paid leave that can be taken all at once or split into two segments.
Peter took two weeks off when his daughter Evie was born in March. The Paid Parental Leave benefit enabled him to assist his wife, Candace, and bond with their baby. When Candace returned to work, Peter utilized his remaining four weeks so that his daughter wouldn’t need daycare until she was 5 months old.
“It’s great that we get paid paternity leave,” says Peter, “I loved having that bonding time with Evie.”
Every year, Zappos reimburses employees for pet adoption fees, up to $250, when they rescue an animal from a local animal shelter. And Amanda was someone who wanted a dog in the worst way.
In 2016, Zappos held an adoption event on campus in support of its annual Pawlidayz campaign. It was here she saw Sal, a tiny 5-month-old Dachshund/Rat Terrier Mix that melted her heart, saying, “I had to have him. It was love at first sight.” Subsequently, this was the same year Zappos began permitting employees to bring their dogs to work, which made Amanda's adoption decision even easier.
In total, 172 employees have adopted a pet from local shelters under the companywide program. Says Amanda, “I adopted Sal instinctively because it was love at first sight. I had no idea he was going to fill my life with so much happiness, fun and adventure.”
When it comes to being a new mom, there’s a lot to learn and no time to learn it. Well Rounded Momma offers new mothers access to on-call lactation consulting and free support groups including the Momma’s Milk Circle which states that “support, community, and mother-to-mother advice and experience are invaluable tools to guide your breastfeeding and parenting journey.”
Precious says, “It was amazing to have resources in such a high-stress time. I loved having the ability to see a lactation consultant after my son was born. They made me feel completely comfortable and assured me it wasn’t just me. Breastfeeding can be hard, and they were there to help.”
Zappos also gives a 10 percent discount to all employees for any other Well Rounded Momma services, which includes childbirth and parenting education workshops, Midwifery Care, Doula Care and Women’s Wellness.
Active Release Techniques
Living with chronic pain is, quite frankly, a pain. Chris learned about Active Release Techniques (ART), a form of chiropractic, and wanted to see if it would relieve his lower back pain concerning a bulging disk.
Chris started to notice improvements about a week and a half into the program. He had never heard of ART at the time but now recommends it stating, “I wouldn’t have believed I would have the results I do without trying it. Before using ART, I would get an annual procedure done called Radio Frequency Ablation. [This was] both costly and painful with extended recovery time. However, since using ART, I have not had the RFA procedure done again.”
ART is done on-site on the Zappos campus. It takes only 15 minutes per session and is fully covered.
Zappos believes in serendipitous collisions and works hard to ensure that employees consistently meet people they don’t know, see people they do, and have the opportunity to learn from others along their journey. That journey includes Destination Wellness.
Destination Wellness began in 2017 where Zapponians can participate in activities involving the mind, body and soul. There are three challenges a day, including money-saving, mental fitness and physical fitness exercises. All that’s needed is to sign up, complete the task and get the points. Every wellness submission goes into a raffle with prizes awarded every quarter.
“Experiences, over gifts, last a lifetime,” states Maritza who won an all-expenses-paid trip to Napa Valley in one such raffle. She says of her win, “Because of Zappos, my husband and I went on our first wine adventure.”
Lauren confessed that bariatric surgery had always been in the back of her mind. She utilized other company benefits such as Weight Watchers and the on-site gym, but when she gained 100 pounds over three years, she knew she needed to take additional action. The bariatric aid came just in time. She’s lost 44 pounds since the surgery in April 2018, and her goal is to lose 60 additional pounds.
Although the co-pay seems high at $3,500, the cost of the surgery itself is approximately $25,000. Employees can also use their Flexible Spending Account to pay the co-pay as well. To qualify for the operation, Lauren had to have a psych evaluation and attend counseling to help her prepare for the procedure.
At 28 years old, Lauren is no longer pre-diabetic and has a lot more energy. Says Lauren, “It’s not about vanity; it’s about health. When you’re the youngest person in the room at a heart doctor’s office, it shakes you up a little.”
“Your mom loved you very much, but she gave me permission to love you too,” Margaret tells her 8-year old son, Tyler, who was adopted last November.
To continue the pursuit of nurturing a culture that focuses on building a team and family spirit, in 2010, Zappos developed an adoption assistance program that extended parental benefits to qualified employees. Many adoptions or surrogacy-related costs are eligible for a $6,000 reimbursement. Reimbursements cover such things as application, court, placement and adoption agency fees. They also cover parent, child and family adoption counseling, adoption attorney costs and travel expenses directly related to the adoption.
In addition to receiving reimbursements, employees may also qualify for Zappos’ parental leave policy. Says Margaret of the Zappos Benefits Team, “They were very helpful. They’ll tell you all the steps you need to take and the turnaround was very quick for the reimbursements.”
Hospital Care and Services
“You don’t think about how great the benefits are until you have to pay for them,” states Megan, mother to a 3-year-old son with Down syndrome. At birth, he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for six weeks, and she and her husband were only responsible for the co-payment, despite the total medical cost of nearly $500,000.
A year later, her son had heart surgery to the tune of $80,000. She only paid a $200 co-pay. After that, for all his follow-up appointments and equipment, it was just a regular $20 co-pay.
Megan and all full-time salaried and hourly employees are eligible for medical benefits here at Zappos after a preliminary waiting period. “It’s nice to know that when you go in for hospitalization, everything is covered,” says Megan. “You never think about it before you need it.”
The benefits program at Zappos has come a long way since the company was founded in 1999. Provenzano and her team are continually looking for new and innovative perks that encourage top-notch candidates to apply. Provenzano says, “Healthy employees bring good things to the workplace."
Moreover, the workplace brings good things to the employees.