In this interview, we talk with Cathy Donahoe, Head of Human Resources at Domo.
Cathy offers one of the most progressive family benefits programs that we’ve seen and shares how she tailored her benefits program to be a true reflection of the needs of her employees, her people’s response to providing access to fertility coverage, and what benefit she would offer if she was legally able to do so.
What benefit are you most proud to offer?
There are two: personally, I am very proud of our family benefits package—our $1,000 cash bonus to new parents, $2,000 maternity wardrobe benefit for moms-to-be, and generous paid time off are a few aspects in particular that I’m thrilled to offer our team. It’s so inclusive of what a growing family needs and isn’t just uniquely comprehensive, but it’s also a true reflection of what our employees have asked for when it comes to family support.
I’m also really proud of our kitchen line-up: Domo provides breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks every day to our 700 Utah employees. Every month we have a rotating calendar with 30 different vendors that cater meals to our team. We regularly survey employees to find out which of these meals they like, and employees can also proactively make suggestions through Domo Buzz—our product’s chat feature. Not only are we also supporting local businesses, but this benefit saves each employee hundreds of dollars a month, and is as competitive as the offerings at top tech companies like Google and Netflix.
Who or what helps you be successful in driving your benefits strategy recommendations forward?
Domo’s CEO and founder, Josh James, has been the catalyst behind our progressive benefits since the beginning. I’ve been working with Josh for years, even prior to Domo’s founding, and from the start he has been extremely collaborative and supportive of developing an inclusive workplace culture. We’ll often meet to discuss ideas for new benefits, or ways to modify current procedures, and because Josh is also a father he has a very realistic understanding of what our employees want and need from their employer.
What would be your one piece of advice for your peers?
Although this advice isn’t new, the most important thing a company can do for its employees is speak up on their behalf. We need to make it a priority to focus on our employees’ needs and wants. In fact, that’s how we came up with the idea to give each new parent a cash baby bonus. It was during my tenure at Omniture, a tech startup Josh founded prior to Domo that he later sold to Adobe, when I noticed that the majority of our employees’ claims were for maternity costs. I spoke up, asking if we could modify our offerings to better accommodate these costs, and it was together that Josh and I brainstormed the idea of offering a cash benefit to new parents instead of changing our insurance policies, which would have raised prices for all employees. This has quickly become one of our most well-known and appreciated perks, and it all happened because of a candid conversation with the CEO.
If you could offer any one benefit, what would it be?
I would love to offer even more targeted benefits to our employees, but unfortunately, current government laws prohibit us from doing so. Many of our employees are strapped with thousands of dollars in student loans. If it were legally allowed, I would like to use a company match program similar to the ones used for 401(k)s to help employees pay off their student loans in place of donating to a retirement plan for the first 5 years out of college. Research has shown that the majority of millennials aren’t donating to their 401(k) accounts immediately after graduating anyways, and this would be a good alternative for employers to help support these employees in a way that matters to them and their circumstances.
Although this advice isn’t new, the most important thing a company can do for its employees is speak up on their behalf.
Tell us your favorite moment of taking care of your people
It has to be when we rolled out our latest family package benefit which was access to the family planning solution Progyny. I can’t tell you the number of emails with words of appreciation and gratitude that I received. I even heard from employees that aren’t planning on accessing Progyny, but thanked us for offering it because they know of families that couldn’t access or afford it on their own*. I love working at Domo because we take care of our employees in such a personal and meaningful way and it’s amazing how our decisions as benefits leaders really do make a difference in people’s lives.
*Cathy’s experiences are actually in line with our findings from a recent study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Collective Health: a majority of Americans don’t just want coverage after having kids—they want help before.