People-First Success Story
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Jenn Lien, Senior Manager of HR Operations, has worked at Iterable for two years, and in that time the company has grown from 140 people to almost 350. In her words, her job is “onboard, empower, and offboard employees in the United States and London.”
When Jenn first started, the company had a benefits partner that she was not satisfied with, and as she quickly learned, neither were employees. “All the processes were very manual, and it led to issues in things not being updated, such as employee addresses or contributions. It was creating a really poor experience for our employees and I was getting all kinds of questions that should have never needed to be asked.”
What It Means to be “an Employee-First Company”
At Iterable, the employee experience is prioritized above all else and Jenn knew they needed to make a change. “We are an employee-first company, meaning that we want a white-glove experience for our team members. One of our corporate objectives is ‘Keep it simple.’ And that’s how we approach our benefit offerings. Employees should be able to get what they need to be successful at Iterable and in their lives. We try to embody that in everything we do and we pick partners who embody those values as well.” Jenn explained. “All of our employees need to trust what is happening with their benefits and it needs to be a balanced program that offers them what they need today, tomorrow and next year. They shouldn’t worry have to worry about HR or benefit things – it should just be easy.”
I feel like we truly have a partner now. Sequoia makes us feel like we have team members just sitting at another desk at Iterable. They are our champions.”
Less than one year after Jenn joined the company, Iterable replaced their existing vendor with Sequoia’s Benefits, 401k, and Global consulting services. “Since bringing on Sequoia, we’ve had fewer employee questions and no technical issues. Everything matches and everything just works. And because of that, we now have the time to focus on what our job really should be, which is creating a great benefit experience for our employees.”
Acting on Employee Feedback
With the Sequoia partnership beginning just as Iterable completed their July 2019 Open Enrollment, Jenn decided to survey her employees to see what they thought of their existing plans, and where they could improve now that they were equipped with Sequoia’s help. Unsurprisingly, people were not satisfied with their options. “The plans that we had built with the previous partner were structured for the startup life, but we now had over 200 employees. Our employee base had shifted to people looking for a little more balance and structure,” Jenn explained.
“As soon as we got the survey results, we looked through it ourselves and then we just sent it to Sequoia. We trusted our partnership enough to say, ‘We’re both seeing the same things, but you do this 365 days a year, so please tell us how we can address these concerns,’” Jenn said. “Almost immediately, Sequoia was able to really make sense of the feedback and provide additional benchmarking reports to show us our options.”
The benchmarking report in particular proved to be even more useful than Jenn originally imagined. “With benchmarking, one question always is, ‘Do we offer what other companies our size offer?’ And sure, that’s an easy no-brainer. But what’s more important to us is, “What is our talent acquisition team competing against?’ We’re next door to some of the largest tech companies, so to get the quality of talent we want, we need to be comparable to the big guys. And with Sequoia’s help, we quickly accessed, and continue to access, the data we needed in HRX to answer that question and fold it together with the requests from our employees.”
We’re next door to some of the largest tech companies … we need to be comparable to the big guys.
As any HR leader knows, there are quite a few levers to pull when creating a benefits plan. “You have the different plan offerings, how much coverage you’ll have, what education components there will be, etc.,” Jenn explained. “But Sequoia was able to break all of that down for us so we could make the best decision. And once we made our decision, we partnered together to communicate the offerings to our employees, even going so far as to create personas to explain what kind of person might choose one plan over the other. We made the offerings so consumable that employees were enabled and empowered to make good decisions for themselves.”
When Jenn’s team ran the annual survey again in July 2020, the results were very different than what they received in 2019. “Employees were very happy with our offerings and we didn’t need to make any new changes to the plans. It was so great to see that we had really addressed their needs in the last round.”
Reaching Their Full Potential
Creating an employee-first company is no easy feat, but both Jenn and Iterable are determined to make it happen, now more than ever. Though they addressed the employee concerns in their 2020 benefits plan, Jenn’s team plans to continue to make improvements and create a culture in which Iterable employees can thrive.
We made the offerings so consumable that employees were enabled and empowered to make good decisions for themselves.”
“As part of the People Team, our job is to empower all of our employees to reach their full potential, so every day, with everything we do, we’re aiming to create the space and the structure so employees can focus on the tasks they need to achieve to be successful,” Jenn said. “With Sequoia’s help, we can now do that easier and better than ever before.”
Short quote about iterable employee culture here. Learn more about Iterable’s commitment to being a people-first company →
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