Conversation with Evangeline Mendiola
Head of Global Benefits at Zendesk
What’s interesting about managing benefits at Zendesk?
At Zendesk, our core product focus is on providing businesses with the tools and technology they need to take care of their customers. That theme is carried over into how we think about benefits.
My team’s focus is on taking care of our employees and providing them with the tools and technology they need to confidently navigate their benefits. I think that leads to us having a slightly different view on benefits.
Benefits can sometimes be viewed as dry and standard from company to company, but we try to put a twist on that. We aim to deliver beautiful products, useful programs, and streamlined experiences to our people globally. Even our benefits communications and regular newsletters have big design elements. We’re really proud of the thoughtfulness we put into evaluating and designing our benefits and love showcasing them to our employees.
I think our employees recognize that enthusiasm and, in turn, are more engaged in their benefits than the average employee.
Before you made the move to Collective Health, what was keeping you up at night?
We hold ourselves to a high bar. We’re always pushing ourselves to make sure that our benefits package is evolving with the needs of our people while also balancing affordability to ensure our benefits costs are sustainable. I don’t want our team to get too comfortable or complacent—then we might start losing our competitive edge!
As a result, we spend a lot of time doing surveys to gather employee input, looking at what’s new and interesting out in the market, and looking for ways to manage our costs.
Zendesk has been a Collective Health customer since 2016. How has the relationship influenced your work?
Collective Health is a core part of our U.S. strategy in so many different ways.
First, they’ve been a huge part of helping Zendesk scale. Right now, we have about 1,500 U.S. employees but, believe it or not, we only have two people on our benefits team. That’s because of all the leverage we get from Collective. Whether it’s operational elements like processing the lion’s share of our eligibility and file feeds or managing the bulk of our member questions, Collective takes so much work off our plate that we’d otherwise have to hire up to support ourselves.
Next, our U.S. employees love Collective Health. We see that in all of our employee surveys and whenever we asked for feedback. Whether it’s the great mobile app, the online portal, or the incredibly helpful Member Advocates, it’s clear that Collective is a huge asset to our people as they navigate the U.S. healthcare system and try to get the most out of all the benefits Zendesk provides.
Whether it’s the great mobile app, the online portal, or the incredibly helpful Member Advocates, it’s clear that Collective is a huge asset to our people as they navigate the U.S. healthcare system and try to get the most out of all the benefits Zendesk provides.
Has Collective Health helped your team be more innovative?
That all comes down to the data. Collective delivers business intelligence around our claims, cost drivers, and member engagement. They give us interesting trend and utilization data that you typically don’t get from traditional carriers. That information really forms the backbone for our strategy around what we should do next and why.
We’ve used these insights to make real changes in a number of places but notably with our behavioral health benefits. When we saw an uptick in behavioral health claims, we were able to add other partners to our benefits offering to make sure our employees were getting the care they needed. We were also able to work with Collective Health on which solutions might work best for our people and be sustainable for Zendesk.
Collective Health also makes it so much easier to roll out these innovative programs. I think we’re all used to learning about an interesting new program but being intimidated by the work required to implement it. The technology and operational support that Collective Health delivers makes it pretty seamless to turn on new programs. It’s such a relief knowing that we aren’t going to have a huge team lift to implement and configure the programs ourselves. Instead, we just get to focus on finding the programs and then trusting Collective Health to make them a reality.
I really believe that our partnership with Collective Health on our U.S. health benefits strategy has provided a competitive advantage that our people and their families benefit from every day.
What is it like to work with the Collective Health Client Success team?
After a few years of being with Collective Health, our account executives have almost become an extension of our team. Yes, they bring all the cool experiences and tools that our members love, but they are also delivering all the data we need to drive our strategy. We have our year-in-review meeting coming up and, honestly, I want every executive possible in that meeting. It’s a great showcase of the state of our business.
At the end of the day, I really believe that our partnership with Collective Health on
our U.S. health benefits strategy has provided a competitive advantage that our people and their families benefit from every day.