Designing Perks for Everyone Supports Diversity
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse stories with the mission to inspire kids and youth around the world to become entrepreneurs with empathy. This series features interviews of LGBT founders by a character named Spiffy to help young readers observe Pride Month with a renewed commitment to building a more equitable world for all.
Howdy Earthlings, I’m Spiffy, The Interplanetary Journalist. Today I’m talking to Amy Spurling as a continuation of my interviews with leaders you should know about.
SPIFFY: Hi Amy! Thanks for talking to me today :) I’m all about supporting people, no matter their planet or background. Could you tell me about how you support people?
Amy: Hi Spiffy. I’m sure you’ve supported many people on your travels! Our mission is to create an environment of balance and belonging so that everyone can live their best lives. We do this by addressing compensation inequality within organizations. Companies frequently offer perks based on what current employees prefer. This has the unintended consequence where some people have access to this additional compensation and others don’t. Compt aims to be the solution to this problem by allowing each employee to completely personalize their employee perks. In this way, companies can support the needs of their entire team, rather than just the news of a few.
SPIFFY: You’re smart! Sometimes the fairest way is to treat people is to treat them how they want to be treated, not to treat everyone the same. What prompted you to start this?
Amy: As a former CFO and COO, I was frustrated by my limited options to support my entire team. No matter what perk I brought in, <10% of the team would use it. This was incredibly expensive for the company - and ultimately didn’t meet the needs of our teams. I wanted software that allowed me to say "yes" to my entire team whether they wanted childcare, or surf lessons, or meals for their aging parents.
The result of the existing solutions was a vicious cycle of only being able to recruit more talent like the folks we had on the team. And our teams were far too homogeneous.
That drove me to Co-Found Compt.
SPIFFY: How does Compt work to create a more equitable world?
Amy: We believe that when people have equal access to perks within their organizations and are equally supported - they can achieve more than otherwise possible. Innovative companies that seek to support the individual needs of their team are able to attract the most diverse (and best!) talent - this leads to companies building solutions for a more diverse population. We want to be the system enabling companies to support each of their employees on their individual career and life journey.
SPIFFY: I’ve heard a bunch about designing for everyone in the past month :) Could you tell me about a milestone you’ve reached recently?
Amy: We recently passed $2M in funds that we’re managing for companies. This is an exciting milestone because it shows that companies are actively supporting the individualized needs of their employees. Even more inspiring to us - we’re seeing that employees are using those funds to support their communities. Since the beginning of COVID19 - we’ve seen a 2400% spike in funds donated to charitable causes through Compt.
SPIFFY: You help people stand up for what they believe. What failures did you learn from while on this journey?
Amy: Raising money for Compt was hard. Our initial strategy of targeting my VC contacts fell flat. We realized that they were too far removed from the problem we were solving. What I learned was that it was more productive to speak with people who really understood the problem we’re solving through personal experience. By switching strategies, we were able to attract a diverse slate of investors which has helped support diverse customers and build a diverse team. When your mission is to make compensation more equitable for everyone, this is a priceless lesson to learn!
The Compt team brings a little perspective to social distancing [Image courtesy of Amy Spurling].
SPIFFY: What’s something unexpected you’ve learned recently?
Amy: I’ve learned so much from our customers’ employees about how to support their communities through the challenges we’ve faced this year: one employee bought food gift cards and handed them out to the homeless; another prepaid for chiropractic services; so many others donated to bail funds. These are companies that support their employees through perks, and those employees, in turn, have decided not to use those funds on themselves but rather to support their communities. Truly inspiring!
SPIFFY: I think everything you do is inspiring. Thanks a bunch!
Amy: Thank you Spiffy :)
Amy Spurling is the Cofounder/CEO of Compt. As a serial entrepreneur, she believes that companies and employees can achieve so much more when employees are fully supported. A former “CFO of the Year” for Boston, she has previously closed more than $200M in funding, and managed two acquisitions to close. (Nominated by Impellent Ventures)
© 2020 Ladderworks LLC. Follow Spiffy’s stories of founders building a more equitable world at www.ladderworks.co/blogs/spiffys-blog
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.