Benify has evolved from a facilitator of employee wants, to employee needs; progressing from a Swedish borne tech idea to a global human resource enabler
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Jamie Sutherland
Upholding core values of love, foresight and client satisfaction, Benify has grown from humble beginnings to become one of Europe’s leading innovators across human resource technology. It has expanded globally over the years and continues to spread its expertise and ethos worldwide.
Encouraging the notion of “employees participating in what their employers offer”, the Company’s vision since day one has been to spread its knowledge and expertise of the inner cultures of a workplace beginning with benefits and the employment offer; this expertise deriving from an initial inspiration among just three pioneers.
“It started with an idea among three cofounders,” introduces the Company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Markus Kullendorff. “One of us was working for a start-up company in early 2000 and he was trying to help a particular German company grow in Sweden; a part of his role was to try and recruit talent to grow the local staff. He began wondering about the benefits aspects of the employment offer. He asked his current company’s payroll provider if they could help guide him, and soon he realised that richness of benefits is important but arranging them was a difficulty.
“From his own personal experience, he involved the rest of us and a few years later, we presented our business plan before soon launching Benify. We wanted to help companies solve this problem of compensation and benefits administration.”
Benify’s first client was an industrial enterprise comprising 1,200 employees, many of whom were completely unaware of the benefits they could enjoy; and it was this realisation that affirmed the Company’s belief that not only were benefits cumbersome to manage for HR, but there was a lack of knowledge among the employees about what was on offer. The founders uncovered a gap that smart technology could solve both in terms of benefit administration and communication.
“We started in our home market of Sweden, being one of the first start-ups to rise in the Stockholm technology scene. In 2010, we entered the global arena by opening an office in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands and have been expanding globally ever since. Now, in 2017 we operate worldwide with 10 offices including San Francisco in the West and Singapore in the East. We are proud to be able to continue bringing our high quality software as a service (SaaS) to employers and employees around the world.”
Showing love, thinking ahead and exceeding expectations, Benify has evolved as an entity that believes in not just hiring exceptional talent but then giving individuals the freedom to grow, to experience new things, and to be entrepreneurial in their own right.
“One smart HR director we were working with about 10 years ago advised us to only hire happy people,” Kullendorff continues. “Happiness is contagious and makes work fun for colleagues and for the clients, too. We now number 400 people across our 10 offices.
“We have created an energetic, entrepreneurial culture because of how we started and keeping it fun motivates both our talent and our customers, so we try to maintain this. Fresh perspective, energy, enthusiasm, and a can-do attitude have marked our culture, and these characteristics help us keep competitive.”
The most flexible compensation and benefits platform
In being a pioneer of such a new concept in the industry, there were inevitably difficulties in finding experienced personnel to join the Benify team, but in a way this enhanced the culture of the business; hiring talent with fresh perspectives and empowering them to take ownership and express their ideas.
In terms of how this translates into an effective client-based solution, Benify employees collaborate with each other and with customers to provide the best proposition. The Company aims to make it easier for employers to communicate with their employees and to reveal the true value of their investments into their workforce.
This is done via Benify’s portal which is available via an App so that employees have access – anytime and anywhere – to salient employee and benefits information. They can also see the value of their employment offer via the total rewards statement
Kullendorff explains: “Our offering encourages transparency, control and engagement and it involves running very customer-centric innovations.
“We have the most flexible compensation and benefits platform thanks to input and ideas from our customers. In this way, we modify and improve our offerings based on real needs, not just on trends or reaction to competitors. When we started the Company 14 years ago, none of us had a background in human resources. Instead, we observed and listened, and we still do. This is why we are leaders in this space.
“We focus on the end user – the employee – and have a 97 percent retention rate in serving clients which also include Volvo, Coca-Cola and L’Oréal,” Kullendorff adds. “We’re really good at making our solutions customer-specific. Adding the local benefits into the portal and ensuring the branding matches the employer identity is important; and ultimately, our aim is to make employees excited to be part of their organisation.”
Household name clients over the years that Benify has designed benefit approaches and employee portals for have included Scania (Scania Job Bus), Mercedes Benz (booking tool for carpooling), PEAB (eligibility for ordering of work clothes), and H&M (‘My commuter choice’). The success of each relationship is testament to the personalised, customised approach that Benify has to finding the optimum solution.
Anytime, anywhere access to the employment offer
Benify’s proposition equally gives a Company’s HR team a way to measure and report on its personnel strategies in order to calculate returns on investment for employees, before applying this data to potential new programmes, initiatives and hiring activities.
To cater for this ever-growing and diversifying list of variables, Benify has – in turn – expanded its reach, has become more technologically innovative, and expanded its knowledge base into areas of benefits, insurance, pensions, employee engagement, and employer branding.
A goal of adding 10 offices including expanding presence in the Asia-Pacific region is also testament to the Company’s ongoing global vision; thriving as the last-standing compensation and benefits portal not owned by an insurance carrier or benefits brokerage.
“This means that buying our portal does not come with strings attached. Each employer chooses their own benefits and group insurances, and we visualise those offers and their value to the employees through the portal,” Kullendorff details. “We do not take commissions on any enrolments by employees, nor do we force employers to populate the portal with recommended insurances and benefits. We are truly independent and are loyal only to our customers and their needs.
“We have stayed true to our mission of bringing real value to the employee while making HR’s job easier in terms of administration, oversight, and reporting.”
As a result, HR as a department can act more strategically with their policies, and can more easily explain and motivate their decisions in management meetings. With the Benify solution, they become fully aware of their employees’ participation in programmes, offers, and benefits around the world and can understand correlations between retention rates and attractiveness of employment offers. With integrated data, they gain the flexibility to fine-tune their Company’s approach to new initiatives, investments and can also optimise communication channels.
“Plus, with the exporting function, we empower the HR Director to report on strategies up to the executive team based on accurate data,” Kullendorff adds.
Perhaps even more significantly, such business agility also lends itself to multinational operations, as managing employees across borders brings additional communication challenges.
“A big problem for international companies is unifying their employees who work in different countries, time zones, and languages; and when employees come from different cultures, it adds another layer of difficulty in communicating what it means to work at the company,” the CEO concludes. “Presenting all employees the employer value proposition through an engaging interface like our portal – a place where employees want to click around and explore – solves this.
“Our interface is designed with the employee experience in mind: easy to engage, navigate, control, participate, and enrol in benefits and activities. Plus, with the App and because it is a cloud platform, employees do not need to be at a desktop to be in touch with their employment offer.
“The portal can be accessed anytime and anywhere, and this ‘anytime, anywhere’ access also gives HR the flexibility to push out messages and communication.”