The Best Employee Benefits Stack for Web3

Jody Cruttenden
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June 16, 2022

Web3 might be the new kid on the block but the leaps it has made in changing the way the world works are immense. And this transformation isn't expected to slow any time soon with the Web3 ecosystem predicted to be valued at over $87B (USD) by 2030.

But this growth comes with a responsibility on founders and leaders in this space to set a better standard for contributors and their employment experience. This is a real opportunity to redefine the way of work and built a reflective and equitable structure for organizing the labor of the future. One critical part of that responsibility is getting employee benefits right to incentivize and support the next wave of talent entering Web3.

In this blog, we put together our vision for what the future of the Web3 employee benefits stack should look like. We’ve centered it around 3 key principles that are fundamental to the values of Web3:

  1. Loved by the community
  2. Tailored for fully remote & asynchronous teams
  3. Designed by decentralized teams, for decentralized teams 

Loved by the community

Web3 is ALL about community. It’s about collective ownership, common goals, and shared value. That’s why we think that an effective Web3 benefits stack needs to consider the community at its heart. That includes providing total well-being for employees and their families, financial stability, and stimulating growth within individuals, organizations, and the ecosystem as a whole. 

Local labor laws and regulations set the minimum requirements but we take the position that these should be seen as the floor, not the ceiling. Benefits like healthcare, paid leave, and pension contributions are typically included in “traditional” benefits stacks. But there is so much more we can be doing within these traditional benefits and beyond to set a new standard for contributor experience. 

Healthcare

Access to healthcare is a fundamental human right and shouldn’t be dependent on your employee’s domicile. The Web3 ecosystem is global and healthcare access can vary hugely from county to country making it difficult to put in place a comprehensive policy that can meet the needs of a global team. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. 

WorkDAO works with leading health insurers all across the globe to ensure that our partner organizations can provide full-stack health access to their contributors at a level that you can be proud of regardless of their country of residence. 

Mental health and wellbeing support

The world is waking up to the critical need of putting mental well-being at the heart of our employment infrastructure. Many of the benefits reflected here play a huge role in an organization being able to provide as much effective mental health support to their employees as possible. But that’s not enough.

Mental health awareness and support needs to be built from the foundation of your employee experience - especially in a Web3 ecosystem. Employee check-ins are usually virtual, the workload is heavy, and it’s a fast-paced, dynamic, and testing environment. All of these add stress and limit the ability of managers to assess the emotional health of their employees. By ensuring time is dedicated to checking in on employees to make sure they are dealing with these pressures and providing the tools or resources such as access to occupational health professionals organizations are not just showing they care, they are actually taking action to achieve it.

WorkDAO approach towards mental health is both preventive and reactive, the tools that we hand to our contributors help to keep a healthy mindset ona daily basis. But if a crisis comes we have the best specialist available for you to address your individual issue. 

Paid time off

Paid leave is a vital part of attracting and retaining the best talent. Studies show that vacations can increase employee performance by up to 80% as well as ensure your employees feel valued and supported at work. 

But these policies come in many shapes and sizes. A lot of the conversation has been dominated by the idea of unlimited PTO over the last few years as more organizations move to adopt what seems to be a progressive and meaningful stance on employees taking leave. The result is somewhat less clear, however. Recent reports suggest that unlimited PTO policies tend to lead to less time being taken away from work and an increase in employee resentment towards each other. These policies have failed because although they are poorly executed or not meaningfully communicated within organizations. 

This is more crucial than ever in the Web3 environment. It’s a fast-paced world that never sleeps and the temptation to be ‘always on’ is hard to resist. For Web3 organizations, it is key that paid leave policies are designed and communicated with intention, clarity, and (if need be) enforced to ensure employees are taking the time they deserve and need to recharge regularly.

Family/special leave

Life happens and sometimes you need to be able to switch off from work to deal with it. One of the challenges of working in Web3 is the thin veil between your personal and professional life. While it’s vital to have clear boundaries to give your employees time to switch off and recharge, sometimes this isn’t possible when the two worlds collide and often these situations can be difficult to explain to your manager.  

That’s why we advocate for special leave considerations such as “Me days”. Days where employees can be away from their computers to do whatever they need to be doing - no questions asked. Of course, organizations need to set some boundaries around this to avoid it being exploited but the benefits to employee morale, wellbeing, and overall job satisfaction are worth it.

Exercise and recreation programs

Physical activity and exercise away from your desk is something that needs to be encouraged in all fields but even more so for Web3. Web3 jobs are predominantly desk-based meaning contributors very rarely get an opportunity to get their bodies moving if they don’t make the effort. Research shows that exercise helps reduce stress, work fatigue, improve mental performance, and keeps the employee happy and healthy. Organizations supporting physical activity through subsidized gym memberships, allocating time off for exercise during the work day, supporting extracurricular recreation, and so many other means is an essential part of maintaining a healthy and motivated workforce.

Risk benefits

As Web3 grows and is adopted more widely it is inevitable that organizations will succeed and fail. It’s important to note that this problem isn’t unique to Web3 as seen with some of the largest and most established global businesses. That being said, to ensure we can encourage the talent into Web3 that will enable the sustainable growth of the whole ecosystem it’s important that we can put in place the right protections and insurances. This includes things like life insurance or income protection insurance that will protect contributors' pockets in the case of any hardship or layoffs that are out of their control. 

Pension contributions

Saving for retirement is a necessity for most working people. In a recent survey of 309 DAO contributors - over 71% said they were saving for retirement. This is a pretty high average compared to research by the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances - especially given that most of the participants in the survey were between the ages of 20 - 40. However, very little of this saving is supplemented by the organizations through which these contributors are employed. Web3 organizations should be supporting their employees through supplemental pension contributions out of necessity and as a means of incentivizing employee retention. 

Employee assistance

The world of Web3 can be tough. Human-to-human interaction can be limited, particularly when it comes to support, both in the workplace and elsewhere. The pressures and workload that contributors are under can become unhealthy and demotivating very quickly. That’s why we advocate for Web3 employees to have access to expert teams of global HR professionals who are able to provide advice and support for mentoring, conflict resolution, performance reviews, equipment, benefits, and much more. This ensures your contributors stay motivated, happy, and healthy in the workplace.

Education & training

Contributors aren’t given access to formal training programs. If they are keen on improving their skills they are left to seek the answers on their own or work with micro-communities of peers to solve problems. This creates siloed pockets of knowledge within the Web3 ecosystem and doesn’t encourage an environment of continuous learning. 

WorkDAO is building a framework of sharing and education to ensure that these vital skills aren't siloed, that contributors get access to the knowledge they need, and the whole Web3 ecosystem continues to flourish. From formal education programs to promoting information sharing across projects and communities.

Tailored for fully remote teams

Web3 organizations are fully remote and decentralized teams so we have taken the earnings from the most progressive existing benefits packages and paired this with the specific needs of Web3 teams here.

Real flexible working

Flexible working is a term that you will find attached to most job descriptions or working policies in 2022. But it is a nebulous phrase with so many possibilities that it is becoming almost redundant. Covering everything from being able to choose your starting time, to offering employees a day or two from home, to having complete autonomy of your location and work hours. Our view is that the world of Web3 requires the latter - complete flexibility. This is reflected in an Adobe study which shows that 51% of enterprise workers would prefer complete flexibility in their work. 

Web3 is meritocratic. Employees are rewarded based on outcomes, not appearances. There is no weight put into the fallacies of “the last one person to leave the office is the hardest worker” or “being at work 30 minutes before your workday begins makes you better than your peers”. We need to celebrate and reward results regardless of how they are produced. If you choose to work early, from a different location, sleep in until lunchtime - you can, because you are truly autonomous.

Web3 organizations need to have the infrastructure in place to support this asynchronous work style and clearly articulate employee expectations to ensure efficiency doesn’t reduce. Putting those policies in place is not difficult and the benefits are immeasurable. 

Home office allowance

If your team was centralized, working out of an office, you’d make sure they had a desk, a comfortable chair, and the necessary equipment to work. Why should this differ in a decentralized environment? Studies show that employees are 47% more productive working from home but this can drop off if the WFH environment is not adequately set up. 

The productivity and employee satisfaction gains of remote working plus the reduced cost of needing office space is a real opportunity for any organization to provide that offer remote working. That being said, it is so critical that that environment is set up correctly to ensure efficiency and longevity. By providing an allowance for home office costs (internet, electricity, office set up, equipment, etc) Web3 organizations can ensure that the working environment of their employees is set up for success and effective working.

Access to co-working locations

The value of a changing work environment for creativity and avoiding stagnation cannot be overlooked. When you’re working within the same four walls day after day - life can become repetitive. Why not provide an allocation to employees that allow them to spend a few days a month in a shared working environment to give them a change of scenery, access to other professional networks, and help keep them motivated and engaged in their work.

Designed for decentralized teams, by decentralized teams

Decentralized decision-making is fundamental to Web3. Any orgnaization that wants to pull together an employee benefits stack in Web3 needs to ensure it is designed by, and for, their team. No more hollow or valueless benefits schemes from “the top”.

Selection proposals & community feedback

Web3 organization structures such as DAOs, provide every member of the DAO to have a voting right in the governance process of the organization. This needs to be reflected in how an employee benefits stack is put together and decided upon - giving the employees the freedom to choose their own benefits. It also needs to encompass a feedback mechanism that allows benefits to be added, removed or revised as the governing members of any organization sees fit.

Income tax support

Crypto, tokens, fiat, NFTs, securities, equity… the list goes on. All of these are part of the compensation structure of Web3 teams and are exceedingly difficult to manage when it comes time to pay tax at the end of each financial year. Providing employees the tools to automatically calculate and pay their taxes without all of the fuss is such a value add that can ensure your team stays on the right side of increasing regulatory pressures across the globe. 

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It is so important that Web3 organizations stop viewing employee benefits as a cost center and realize they’re a critical component to a happy, motivated, and effective workforce. Sure, there is a cost attached but the benefits that these bring certainly outweigh any monetary value you can place on them for your employees.

Everything (and more) we’ve listed here is provided by WorkDAO to contributors on behalf of our DAO partners. If you’re thinking about implementing an employee benefits stack that is tailored for your Web3 team - we can help.