Here at BenchSci, we are passionate about improving health care by exponentially improving the quality and speed of life-saving research. It’s why we come into work every day. As our organization continues to grow, we want to continue to offer perks and benefits that not only reflect our mission and values but also meet the needs of our most important resource, our team.
When we first started thinking about adding new perks, we reflected on our company values: Focused Advancement with Speed, Tenacity, and Transparency (FASTT). Operating in the start-up space, we knew that our perks needed to be focused on where they would drive the greatest value. We also felt strongly that they needed to support the growth and development of the team. We value the input of our employees, so we conducted a company-wide survey on what perks would make the biggest impact on their lives. The overwhelming majority of the responses were focused around added support for physical and mental wellness. So, we began researching these two areas and built a plan on how our organization could deliver meaningful physical and mental wellness initiatives.
Executive health benefits for everyone—not just executives
For physical wellness, having a generous employee group benefits plan has always been table stakes. We wanted to do more. We wanted to shift how we think about health care from being reactive to proactive. So, we partnered up with Medcan – a corporate wellness & executive health clinic here in Toronto to provide every single employee an Executive Annual Health Assessment. This assessment is an annual 5-hour session, that includes up to 15 diagnostic tests tailored to our specific employee needs. Test results are shared with employees on the same day as the assessment through a consultation with a Medcan physician. This consultation provides employees with information on how their current lifestyle decisions are impacting their health, and recommendations on how they can start making proactive life adjustments to support their health journey.
Personal genomic insights for more informed health decisions
With our company roots deeply embedded in science and health care, we wanted to also make available analyses of our team’s DNA, health traits, and ancestry. Thus we made the Health & Ancestry DNA analysis package form 23 and Me available for all employees. Using this offering, employees will be able to see whether they may be predisposed or a carrier for certain conditions, understand the genetic makeup of their ancestry and learn more about how their lifestyle choices influence their well-being.
Flexible work hours and onsite massage for stress reduction
We understand at BenchSci how busy life can get and seek to reduce stress where we can by creating a flexible work environment and bringing health services to the team. Under normal circumstances, our flexible work policy allows employees to work from home one day a week. However, due to the current COVID-19 situation, we have implemented a full work-from-home policy to keep our employees safe during this uncertain time. We are also partnered with For Health’s Sake, an organization dedicated to providing on-site health services, and once it is appropriate to return to the office, we will once again have a registered massage therapist (RMT) come in on a monthly basis to provide massage therapy for any employees in need.
Mindfulness and effectiveness coaching for better leadership
To support mental wellness, we partnered with Dr. Kari Sulenes, an in-house leadership and mindfulness coach who specializes in working with fast-paced start-ups. She meets with all of our people leaders once a month to increase self-awareness, mindfulness, and managerial effectiveness. Furthermore, she runs company-wide mindfulness training sessions that help increase focus, reduce stress, and improve empathy and concentration. In addition to Dr. Sulenes, we offer all employees access to our employee assistance program, LifeWorks. Lifeworks enables our team to have access to a network of clinical counselors and certified coaches via phone, chat, video, or in-person to support our team through life’s work and personal challenges 24/7, 365 days a year. Finally, we partnered with Headspace to provide all our employees with free accounts for their science-based meditation app.
Expanded time off to restore and refresh
We also made a number of changes to our time-off policies. Every employee starts BenchSci with three weeks’ vacation, and for each additional year of service, we offer one additional day a year. We’re big on birthdays, so we made the decision to give all employees their birthday off. Recently, we implemented a new annual BenchSci summer holiday, giving everyone an extra day off for the July long weekend in order to recharge for the second half of the year. Finally, we’ve committed to closing the office over the winter holidays to give our team more time to spend with their friends and family.
We reflected on our values, we listened to our employees, and we launched impactful initiatives that won’t be found at most organizations. We invest in meaningful perks and benefits for our people because they invest in us.