Ahead of the Curve

Zendesk

“Navigating health benefits typically feels like being stuck and frustrated at the airport. Collective Health feels like a free upgrade to First Class.”
Industry Software # of Employees 1,500 H.Q. Location San Francisco, CA

What happens when a group of talented, charming people set out to build software to support better customer relationships? The industry finds a little bit of zen. With a fresh approach and beautifully simple software, Zendesk’s customer support platform helps more than 87,000 organizations worldwide.

It’s not surprising that a team laser-focused on helping companies take care of their customers is dedicated to taking care of its people. In 2015, Zendesk made headlines for joining an impressive line-up of Silicon Valley companies with generous and equal parental leave benefits. According to Zendesk Benefits Manager Kirk Gasparian, “We put great emphasis on the well-being of our employees and their families here.”

Like many successful technology companies, Zendesk experienced incredible growth over a short period of time, and seven years after its founding, was a publicly traded company with more than a 1,500 employees. “We were growing up and it was time for our benefits to grow up, too,” said Kirk. “A big part of that was rethinking our approach to health insurance. We needed to get better control over our investment, while continuing to keep our employees happy with competitive coverage and hands-on support.”

With years of experience as both a broker and a benefits leader, Kirk knew Zendesk was ready to make the move to self-funding.

We put great emphasis on the well-being of our employees and their families here.

Collective Health, the right way to self-fund

With a lean team, Kirk and his broker worked together closely to evaluate Zendesk’s options. They were looking for a self-funding partner that could:

  • Make the transition to self-funding seamless for the company
  • Set the benefits and finance teams up for success
  • Elevate the benefits experience for Zendesk’s people

“When I met Collective Health, I thought to myself, ‘This is something truly special these guys are doing,’” said Kirk. “Collective Health not only had the industry expertise and operational support our team needed to help us transition to self-funding with ease, they had a people-first approach that would finally enable the kind of benefits experience I’ve always wanted to offer my people.”

In Kirk’s view, “For hyper-growth companies looking to put their people first, Collective Health is top of the list as a self-funding partner that delivers on its promises.”

For hyper-growth companies looking to put their people first, Collective Health is the self-funding partner that delivers on its promises.

The beginning of a beautiful relationship

Zendesk introduced Collective Health during Open Enrollment in the fall of 2015, with the new plans going live January 1, 2016. For Kirk, the explanation for why his team chose Collective Health was easy. He told Zendesk employees, “Navigating health benefits typically feels like being stuck and frustrated at the airport. Collective Health feels like a free upgrade to First Class.”

Streamlined self-funding operations

“There’s a marked difference between working with Collective and going the traditional route,” said Kirk. With a solution specifically designed for self-funded companies, Collective Health has the right ingredients to set benefits and finance teams up for success. “Collective Health effectively partners with us here at Zendesk and with our broker to help build our benefits strategy and execute the day-to-day operations of our self-funded plan,” said Kirk. “Everything from plan design to eligibility management to plan accounting—the level of service that Collective Health provides our HR and finance teams is undoubtedly a cut above anything I’ve ever seen.”

Everything from plan design to eligibility management to plan accounting—the level of service that Collective Health provides our HR and finance teams is undoubtedly a cut above anything I’ve ever seen.

“Member Advocates = Rockstars”

With Collective Health’s dedicated Member Advocate team, Zendesk members have a single point of contact for all questions across medical, pharmacy, dental, and vision benefits. Member Advocates are also specifically trained in all of Zendesk’s plans, making it easier for them to resolve any kind of issue. “I used to personally answer all of my employees’ benefits questions, because I was trying to save them from the frustration that came with bad customer service. Now, I confidently direct my people to call a Collective Health Member Advocate and I know they’ll be well taken care of,” said Kirk.

For many younger Zendesk employees, this is their first experience getting health benefits from their employer. “When these employees get the white glove treatment from Collective Health, they ask me if this is the way all health benefits work. I laugh and say, ‘Unfortunately no, most people find health benefits extremely frustrating.’ It makes me really proud that we’ve been able to upgrade them to the first class experience they deserve,” said Kirk.

I confidently direct my people to call a Collective Health Member Advocate and I know that they will be taken care of.

A trusted partnership

Collective Health partners with Zendesk and its broker to help the company achieve its strategic business goals. “Our Collective Health Client Success Manager, along with the ongoing actuarial and operational support, makes Collective feel like an extension of our team,” said Kirk. “Their expertise combined with my strong broker partnership is invaluable in helping me shape my short-and long-term benefits strategy.”

In Kirk’s view, “This is the dream situation—our Zendesk team values getting benefits right, we trust our broker, and we have Collective Health. I’m really excited about what the three of us can achieve together.”

Collective feels like an extension of our team.

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