“Benepass has allowed us to offer a really big benefit to people with minimal lift on our team’s part.” — Katie Graham, Chief Strategy Officer of The Community Group.
The Community Group (TCG) is a private, nonprofit organization creating opportunities through education since 1970. TCG manages a range of programs, including a network of early childhood and out-of-school time programs, networks of charter schools, consulting and training programs, and Child Care Circuit, a child care resource and referral program.
“We wanted the program to give employees a flexible choice on how they use the funds.” – Katie Graham, Chief Strategy Officer
Like many organizations, The Community Group struggled to get employees to engage with their wellness and lifestyle benefit programs. Some benefits like a childcare stipend only applied to certain employees and others, like SEP retirement contributions, were only available to those with tenure. As a nonprofit, meeting the needs of a diverse population with even more diverse roles often felt overwhelming. The organization began seeking a vendor who could support them in creating a more inclusive benefits program.
“Our CEO had heard of this idea of a flexible benefits program,” said Katie Graham, Chief Strategy Officer at The Community Group. “We wanted something open to everybody and where people could choose what they needed and what they wanted.”
The Community Group built an expansive lifestyle spending account (LSA) program to offer its employees more flexibility in how they could use their funds. LSAs are a non-salaried allowance that employees can use according to their personal preferences. Unlike health benefit accounts like flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or health savings accounts (HSAs), LSAs are fully funded and customized by the employer. LSAs enable employers to provide maximum flexibility by allowing their employees to personalize their benefits to their own well-being needs.
Today, eligible team members receive virtual and physical Visa cards to use for their LSA. These funds are offered to full-time and part-time employees on a monthly basis. The pillars of an LSA program are customizable, and The Community Group worked with Benepass to outline a few key categories:
The policy was then coded directly into the Benepass platform and Visa Benecard. All eligible employees were invited to join the platform and could start using their accounts on day one.
The program has acted as a tool to increase retention and recruit new employees. In an increasingly competitive talent market, a company’s ability to deliver flexible benefits and perks determines how well they attract and retain employees.
“Staffing has been so hard, and offering a new benefit has been a great retention and recruiting tool,” Katie said.
Employees can roll over their funds each month and allow them to accumulate over the year, for a total of $1,200. Funds expire at the end of the year, giving employees the motivation to utilize them and providing The Community Group with administrative control and cost savings.
The Community Group shares stories of how team members are using the funds in a monthly newsletter feature, “How do you Benepass?” The newsletter also acts as a great reminder for individuals to spend the funds, increasing engagement with the program.
One employee recently shared how he used Benepass to purchase his wife a sound bar for their TV designed to make voices clearer for individuals with hearing difficulties. Another employee shared how she used Benepass on her wellness: “I have used my Benepass for a massage with aromatherapy at Elements and bought myself a Chi Air Spin & Curl curler to style my and my daughter’s hair — which she absolutely loves!”
“Benepass has allowed us to offer a really big benefit to people with minimal lift on our team’s part.” – Katie Graham, Chief Strategy Officer
As a small and busy nonprofit, The Community Group wanted to avoid reimbursements and complex processes for providing funds to its employees. The HR team was constantly bogged down with ever-changing COVID policies in the education and child care industry. The finance team was also handling the administration of several new grants and had little time left for expense reporting.
“Managing and approving all of the expenses was just not going to work for us,” Katie said. “We just couldn't do that.”
With Benepass, employees simply download the app and begin to spend their benefit dollars. HR policies are enforced at the point of sale; the spend is either a go or no go, and the employee is immediately notified on their app. Once an employee makes a transaction, they can easily track it via the mobile app.
For The Community Group’s HR and Finance teams, this has meant that they are able to set the program up without the need to manage it on a day to day basis, saving them time and headaches.
The flexibility offered by Benepass has also allowed the team to pivot and change or add lifestyle pillars needed. For example, rising gas prices led the team to add a new eligible spend category.
“We want to show that we are aware of current issues,” Katie said. “It’s easy to call Benepass and ask, ‘Can we make sure that is covered?’”
“How do we bring a little joy to people at a time that’s hard? Benepass was the way to do that.” – Katie Graham, Chief Strategy Officer