Creating Benefits That ‘Support the Whole Person’ — Reimagining Total Rewards at Guild

Sponsored by Guild Education

Guild education employees.

Photo courtesy of Guild Education.

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Fairygodboss
April 19, 2024 at 3:47AM UTC

Guild Education understands that the way we work is transforming, so they’re reimagining employee benefits to fit “the new normal”. 

We sat down with Guild’s woman-led Benefits team to talk about how they’re thinking about the big role Total Rewards plays in this evolution of working norms. Read on to learn more!

How Guild is supporting employees in our new world of work.

Libby Culpepper, Director of People Operations, told us how Guild has adopted new ways of supporting employees during the pandemic given the challenges this new way of working — and living — has presented for so many. 

“In 2021, we started to look at our total rewards programs, and we began by asking ourselves — do the programs we offer today support the whole person? Not just a Guilder’s professional self, but their personal self as well. We believe that bringing your whole self to work is an important part of Guild’s culture, and we wanted to make sure we offered benefits that reflected that philosophy.

Our company has grown significantly since the start of the pandemic. We went from 500 in March of 2020 to over 1,400 employees today. We went from having employees in one state to 26 states. We went from always being in an office together, to working in a hybrid model. So we asked ourselves, who are Guilders now, and how can we best support them? 

Looking at our workforce demographics, we know that Guild has a wide range of diversity in gender, age, race, and stage of career. By leveraging that data, we challenged ourselves to think about what our Guilders value in a total rewards program. 

You know how they always say, if you want to know, just ask? Well, we did exactly that. 

We held listening sessions with Guilders, and specifically with our Employee Resource Groups. We wanted to know what was working, what wasn’t working, and what was missing. Unsurprisingly, we found a variety of needs and circumstances among different employees. We found we have Guilders who are focused on buying a house, starting or growing a family, and also Guilders who are part of the sandwich generation taking care of aging parents alongside their other family responsibilities. We took the insights from our listening tour back to our virtual whiteboards.”  — Libby Culpepper

As part of better supporting employees, Guild has created a Total Rewards package that differentiates them from others in the industry. To learn more, we reached out to Dominique Schroeder, a Benefits Analyst at Guild, who told us that Guild is highly intentional in the benefits they offer.

“Each benefit was selected through a DEI lens, and is focused on supporting the whole employee. As a Benefits Analyst, it is amazing to come into work and feel empowered to think creatively about how we support our employees. Guild wants to elevate how we uphold our employee value proposition.”  — Dominique Schroeder

We also asked Guild what was going well before they started to reevaluate their benefits.

Libby Culpepper told us that Guild’s mental health benefits, specifically their partnership with Modern Health, got rave reviews. She said, “We provide every Guilder with therapy and coaching sessions, as well as access to group circles, and self-guided resources through Modern Health.” 

As far as what was missing, Libby observed that, “There were three themes that really stood out to us: financial well-being, caregiver support and family planning. In researching ways to support Guilders in these areas, we wanted to make sure any potential partnerships supported our mission to provide equitable, inclusive and innovative benefits to support Guilders.”

From this, the Guild team began by addressing well-being, which Libby provides more details about.

“We started with financial well-being because we understand that financial literacy not only supports our employees, but it also has a lasting impact in creating positive generational wealth practices. We chose to partner with Origin Financial because they provide one-on-one support with certified financial planners, with no investment minimums or barriers to entry. Together with their robust budgeting tools, investment center, and equity management center, employees are able to take a holistic view of their finances and create an actionable plan for their future. This partnership puts the tools and resources directly in the hands of Guilders so they can make the most informed decisions about their finances. 

We also partnered with Care.com to offer employees a fully paid premium membership, connecting them with background-checked care providers to assist with child care, elder care, pet care, and home care needs. Guild also covers 10 days of emergency backup care for times employees unexpectedly find themselves without a primary care provider. 

Statistics show that if there is a disruption to accessing a primary care provider, a woman is more than likely to be the one who will need to provide care. This can cause a disruption in their work and potentially lead to them leaving the workforce. We chose to partner with Care.com to help beat these statistics and help our employees find quality care when they need it most. 

We also wanted to help people better balance family, health, and work, including by fostering inclusive pathways to parenthood. Care.com was a big step in that direction, but we wanted to take it up a notch higher. We expanded the fertility benefits covered through our medical plans, created a $10,000 family 

planning fund to take care of costs that weren’t covered by the medical plans like adoption, surrogacy, and egg freezing expenses, we expanded our paid leave of absence programs and created a new ramp-up program for Guilders to ease back into work after an extended time away. We also partnered with Cleo to provide personalized 1:1 support for anyone on the parenthood journey. Through the support of a personal guide, Guilders get unlimited access to a network of clinicians, experts, and specialists, including birth and postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, sleep coaches, childcare psychologists, childhood development experts, and more. 

At Guild, we are on a continuous ground-breaking journey to adapt ourselves to the evolving ways of working. We truly believe that to deliver on our mission of unlocking opportunity through education, skilling, and career mobility for America’s workforce we must prepare leaders, teams, and processes for the future. We believe reimagining our total rewards package is an important path to success. We’re committed to reimagining the full employee experience and we hope we can encourage other employers to do the same.” — Libby Culpepper.


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