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Atomic Benefits - The unexpected virtue of investing in your employees

Why and how we designed, built, and offered our employees a comprehensive benefits stack, covering insurance, and healthcare, with zero compromises.

Atomicwork is now seven months old, with 20+ employees. A startup this young is rarely expected to focus on its employee benefits program. And it’s a perfectly fair expectation.

With a product in its earliest conception stages, a small and nimble team, and a million other moving and evolving parts, it’s almost justifiable for employee benefits to occupy the lower part of the priority list.

But we begged to differ. We designed, built, and offered our employees a comprehensive benefits stack, covering insurance, healthcare, and wellness, with zero compromises.

As an added validation that we were heading in the right direction with this, Plum, our insurance and benefits provider, has recently recognized us as a company that offers one of the best employee benefits plans.

So what’s special about our employee benefits program and why should you know more?

We asked Ramesh Ganapathy and Prajeetha Prasad, who put together the entire plan from scratch, to give us the complete low-down, so every other startup can also benefit from our experience.

Making employee benefits a priority

Ramesh:

Being long-time employees ourselves, Prajeetha and I are used to enjoying good benefits in our previous companies.

We understood how these little things made employees feel comfortable at work - having good insurance coverage for elderly parents, taking sick leaves without any strings attached, setting up our home office the way we wanted, getting support for personal development, encouraging employees to stay fit, and more.

When it came down to putting something together for Atomicwork employees, we wanted to take things further, especially for early-stage startups.

The second, more important reason was Vijay, our co-founder and CEO. He always wanted to ensure we had a no-compromise employee benefits policy, even before the company was incorporated. So much so that he agreed to spend thousands of dollars every year per employee to do it right. He also wanted to make it hassle-free so that we don’t create any busy work for anybody involved.

Prajeetha:

Our founding team is a group of seasoned professionals who could have easily joined a much bigger company with all the bells and whistles, like free lunch, laundry, and gym facilities. But they decided to join Atomicwork despite that option; we even wrote an article about why they did it. They’re with us mainly because they are passionate about the problems we’re solving. And we want to show them we care too, as much as they do.

Ramesh:

Atomicwork is in the business of employee experience.

Right from the day we came together and started building our product, it was clear that we should do everything possible to enable employees, operators, leaders, partners, and vendors to work better together.

We know that unless we tried to solve this problem at an atomic level, we would not be able to redefine how things are done.

As we continue to work on our product, we want to solve a part of this problem by treating our employees like our customers.

Like our customers, we want our employees to be free to focus on meaningful work - that’s why we’ve tried to provide well-rounded benefits that make their life easier.

Picking a benefits and wellness partner

Prajeetha:

The most common advice you get about employee insurance is to play it safe and go with a market leader - their rates will be lower because they have a varied customer base and can price out most competitors.

We wanted to do something untraditional (just like with our mission) and pick an employee health and benefits partner, not just a third-party administrator.

Our criteria were pretty simple:

  1. Hassle-free reimbursements. We did not want employees to go through the pain of submitting hard copy bills, waiting to hear back from the insurers, and resubmitting claims, rinse, and repeat. We wanted our partner to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. If we wanted to offer no-approval OPD reimbursements, we should be able to do so.
  2. We wanted to provide a wide range of benefits, including non-traditional options like dental, vision, or coverage for live-in partners, so our provider had to support our non-traditional ideas.

Ramesh:

We did a lot of research and considered at least five different vendors to be our health insurance partners.

When we spoke to reference customers about Plum, it was clear they were the right partner for us to facilitate our health and wellness benefits.

Plum is known to be India's most startup-friendly and customer-centric health and benefits partner. We got glowing reviews from everyone we spoke to about them and how their operations team was reliable and offered quick turnarounds and resolutions. This was an important factor for us because we wanted employees to feel supported at the hospital and afterward when they were trying to get a reimbursement for treatments.

“Since Saurabh and I started Plum, our vision has always been to positively impact the health and financial well-being of every Indian through companies that care.

We're proud to be partnering with companies like Atomicwork. From the very first interaction to the final conversation, their desire and conviction to not settle for anything but the best employee benefits stood out. They're truly raising the bar with the health benefits they're offering their team.”

~ Abhishek Poddar, Co-Founder and CEO, Plum

Prajeetha:

We decided to choose Plum without considering the cost because they provided a great purchase. Plum’s representatives provided a lot of market information during the evaluation process so we could benchmark our benefits programs against others in our size cohort. Our post-purchase experience has also been good. They have made sure to check in on a timely basis and point out relevant wellness sessions and additional benefits even post-purchase.

Their curated wellness sessions with topics ranging from music therapy to financial literacy are available to everyone, including companies the size of Atomicwork which is usually not the norm.

A particular benefit of working with Plum is that they review the documents submitted to them before a document hits the insurer’s mailbox so they’re able to guide the employee, collect any additional documents required and share a tentative timeline on payout.


Ramesh:

The Plum team was also extremely flexible about accommodating our not-so-common requirements. Atomicwork is a first-time group health insurance buyer, and this means that we had no risk profile that will allow insurers to give us comprehensive benefits, but that didn’t stop Plum from negotiating on our behalf and getting us one of the best deals possible.

Plum worked with multiple insurers to get us benefits and quotes and we kept going back to them for more customization.

At one point during our evaluation, we shared the Notion document with some 50 requests and questions for Plum. Priyansh, the salesperson who worked with us patiently for several weeks on our needs, answered all of them and responded positively most of the time. This gave us the confidence that we were working with the right people. Here are some real-world examples of how we were able to move quickly!

Fun fact: About 70% of Plum’s customers are first time insurance buyers, which means they are moving the needle in solving accessibility and availability of insurance to erstwhile underserved segments.

Covering all the bases

Prajeetha:

We decided to go all in on as many benefits as possible - a no-strings-attached WFH setup policy, unlimited sick leave, group, life, and term insurance without any kind of copay, and insurance for not just immediate dependents but also parents and in-laws.

We wanted our employees not to have to sweat the small stuff that we could take care of, so they could focus on the hard problems.

A list of Atomicwork employee benefits

Taking health coverage up by multiple notches

Ramesh:

We wanted to make sure that our health insurance is one of the best in the country. And I think we achieved that goal. Let me show you a side-by-side comparison of our coverage and the industry benchmark from Plum’s The State of Employee Benefits 2023 Report.

A comparison of the industry benchmark in terms of employee benefits, versus the benefits Atomicwork offers to its employees.
A comparison of the industry benchmark in terms of employee benefits, versus the benefits Atomicwork offers to its employees.
A comparison of the industry benchmark in terms of employee benefits, versus the benefits Atomicwork offers to its employees.

And that’s not all. We provide additional benefits that include vision, dental, teleconsultation, mental wellness, health checkups, lab tests, and much more.

A list of additional employee benefits and perks offered by Atomicwork.

Paving a two-way street

Ramesh:

We believe we’re partnering with all our employees to build a world-class company and product. And we believe that taking care of our employees is a fundamental aspect of our mission to revolutionize the employee experience.

Like all startups with big dreams, we want to start by making sure all of us have everything we need at our disposal to do meaningful and impactful work - time, freedom, compensation, mentorship, tools, etc.

And we understand that success at work is not just about creating a good work environment but also about ensuring our employees' well-being outside of work. And that’s where our wellness and benefits program comes in.


Prajeetha:

Our employees are dedicating some of the best years of their lives to work on our vision and turn it into a reality. And we want to reciprocate that by trusting them completely and enabling them to put their best foot forward.

We think this is a two-way street and would like to pay it forward before expecting them to deliver results.

“I think for us employee experience starts with employee wellness. Providing great benefits and taking good care of them and their families is a big part of employee wellness. That's why we made employee benefits a priority.

While we are building software, tools, and solutions to help other companies improve their employee experience, for us, employee experience actually starts at home. So that way, our employee wellness and benefits are an integral part of our core mission as a company.”

~ Vijay Rayapati, Co-founder and CEO, Atomicwork

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