How Atomicwork built a benchmark-worthy employee benefits program with Plum
In March 2023, Plum analysed 2598 employee benefit programs for the State of Employee Benefits report and identified a set of companies that had gone above and beyond. Atomicwork was a top contender on that list.
To understand Atomicwork’s philosophy behind employee benefits, Plum’s Ganapathi Ramanathan and Aishwarya Venkatesan sat down with Founding Team members and “chief negotiators” Ramesh Ganapathy and Prajeetha Prasad.
Who is Atomicwork
Founded by Kiran Darisi, Parsuram Vijayasankar, and Vijay Rayapati, Atomicwork is an employee experience platform being built by SaaS veterans who have played pivotal roles in Freshworks, Zoho, and Nutanix.
Series B-funded ($11M), Atomicwork is en route to making noise in the $20B+ market of employee solutions with 100M+ potential users.
What makes for great employee benefits as per Atomicwork
Atomicwork’s purpose is to enable leaders to provide great experiences to their employees, so employees can do more meaningful work.
What Atomicwork deems are 6 must-haves for an employee benefits program
Atomicwork decided to take things further and consider the global benchmark for employee benefits. Ramesh and Prajeetha referred to the Microsoft employee benefits webpage and browsed Plum case studies for inspiration to create the ideal employee benefits program.
Among the criteria prioritised were the following:
1. A truly great claims experience
To Ramesh, seamless claims processing was a primary selection factor.
Ramesh: “Traditionally, the in-hospital, post-hospital, and reimbursements experience have always been a nightmare. Good coverage is the bare minimum. The support experience during an emergency is what really matters.”
After signing up with Plum, Prajeetha was unfortunately faced with an emergency situation.
Prajeetha: “It was a super early stage claim before our account was active. You’d think that it might not be possible for the claim to be processed, but your support executive guided me through it.
"We had asked around about the Plum support experience and it turns out, what is promised in pre-purchase is what you actually get.”
With Plum Care, the same support person connects with an employee for all queries around a single claim, end-to-end. The support person has employee history and context when addressing claims issues.
The employee also gets a follow-up call if they don’t respond within 48 hours to ensure they are safe and have everything they need.
2. A fully digital, paperless experience
To Atomicwork, it was essential to offer employees an app-first insurance experience.
Ramesh: “Even though Plum is an intermediary, you really look at yourself as your product company and try to use tech as much as possible - that was factored into our decision.”
Using the Plum app, employees can add dependents, download the Health IDs, and initiate and follow up on claims.
The HR experience has also been built on a similar principle, to simplify HR processes. The goal was to move employee benefits management from sheets to a simple, one-view dashboard.
Prajeetha: “The good thing about the dashboard is that all info is available in one place. Who’s got covered, what’s in progress, what’s done. When you reach out to in-app support, you get an immediate response email or a call to ask what is needed.”
3. Comprehensive benefits, insurance, and beyond
The conversation with Atomicwork brought out how benefits have evolved from pre-covid times to today. The shift to remote and hybrid has surfaced new employee needs and elevated standards for employee care.
Ramesh: “It isn’t just about giving people health insurance, but making them feel comfortable even if they’re working from home. It’s really investing in employees themselves so they don’t have to worry about anything apart from work.”
As Prajeetha tells us, every employer aims to give their employees the best of benefits. The question becomes how your company can compete. Atomicwork’s approach to this problem is exemplary.
In addition to group medical insurance, Atomicwork has worked with Plum to also provide
- Term life insurance
- Personal accident insurance
- Wellness benefits
Prajeetha tells us that their Sales POC at Plum, Priyansh, curated relevant wellness sessions for Atomicwork, specific to their employee demographic.
Prajeetha: “The personalised wellness sessions you design, even for a small-sized company, play a role in personal development and employee wellbeing. Whatever they might think of, you are able to provide.”
4. Support to reduce HR involvement
Steve Wynn once said, “Human resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business”.
HR are responsible for so much more than employee benefits. At times, enabling employee insurance and benefits can be a hassle, especially when HR has to mediate services provided by the insurer.
Proactive management of employee insurance and claims queries
Prajeetha: “My own experience is that the HR becomes a middle-person for insurer asks. You pass on the knowledge you have, but sometimes the employee visits and returns from the hospital and there’s no progress. That process has to become seamless.
What I like about Plum is that a person from Plum is involved and understands things better. We would have numerous other things to do and at the end of the day, we wouldn’t want a delay for an employee just because we couldn’t do it on time.
With the insurance-specific support benefit you have, individuals can directly work with Plum and make things happen.”
Curated wellness sessions for employees
Insurance was critical for Atomicwork, but they always had wellness as a critical focus area.
Prajeetha: “Earlier, we had to sign-up with different companies for mental wellness, telehealth, and discounted medicines. Here we found that everything was covered.”
For wellness sessions, HR would have to keep a reminder, plan internally, and reach out to experts. With Plum, we are served complete and personalised wellness programs.”
5. Tailor-made employee benefits through a transparent, consultative approach
Chief negotiator Ramesh’s 4-pager questionnaire is legendary at Plum.
As a philosophy, Plum welcomes questions that can help construct a comprehensive and effective employee benefits program. The goal of a first conversation is to understand employee benefits from your company’s unique perspective.
Transparent and consultative conversations
When purchasing insurance, it is crucial to consider employee demographics. Traditional insurers often recommend popular insurance policies. However, offering a more personalised benefits program can make employees feel genuinely valued and protected.
Ramesh: “With traditional insurance providers and other insurance startups, a lot of frustration stemmed from the fact that our requirements were extensive, but they came back with only 40-60% of our requests. Plum was able to negotiate on our behalf to give us the experience we wanted.
We kept asking Priyansh, our Sales POC, the standard numbers for ambulance costs, maternity coverage, and different things.
He was honest with us and the transparency helped. We didn’t try to negotiate where things were not possible. We could see he was already pulling strings to give us really great benefits.”
Prajeetha: “We were particular about claims settlement ratios when choosing between ICICI and others. When you ask other vendors, you get a high number. Here we got real scenarios and numbers. We could make an informed decision.”
Priyansh: “Atomicwork came in seeking the best benefits possible. It was an amazing experience working with Ramesh and Prajeetha who went above and beyond to ensure we enabled the same for their team.”
An employee-focused approach to benefits
During the pandemic, Atomicwork turned fully remote, operating across several Indian cities.
Prajeetha: “Things had to be tailor-made to suit employees. Ours were located in various regions, so we needed different lists of network hospitals.
Certain places don’t have hospitals or you cannot cover a certain hospital, but with Plum, we were able to understand to what extent we would be able to get reimbursement cleared across locations.”
Plum promotes finding the right insurance and employee benefits to serve each team’s needs.
6. Balancing of tech and human interfaces
It is fulfilling when product philosophy translates as intended to a customer. Ramesh and Prajeetha shared with the team a delightful summary of their Plum experience.
Ramesh: “You have a very tech-first approach to solving a very human problem. But at the same time, you know when to leverage tech and when to be human. You want automation when purchasing a policy but a human experience when someone is in the hospital. And you have implemented that well.”
Prajeetha: “To me, Plum is a wellness partner - a custom platform for employee wellbeing. Customisation is an absolute necessity at present, and that is what you are working to provide.”
In summary, here is the philosophy behind Atomicwork’s top-notch employee benefits, along with their approach to raising the bar going forward.
Ramesh: “We have been lucky to hire really experienced and talented people. Part of the reason why we work so hard on employee benefits is because we want to show them that we really care.”