How Compt became this year’s SHRMLabs Better Workplaces Challenge Cup Winner

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a fireside chat during the HR Tech Alliances Weekly Town Hall Meetup. Featured was Compt, this year’s SHRMLabs Better Workplaces Challenge Cup Winner. Following is a recap of the event and high-level analysis of Compt.

We find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a Great Resignation. What is it, exactly? Scores of the employed across myriad sectors of industry are reevaluating their work lives and opting to trade in their existing, possibly unsatisfying jobs for new work, elsewhere. It’s a not entirely unexpected outcome of pandemic-related lockdowns that have lasted longer than just about anyone would have wanted. Facing these market forces, how does an employer persuade a workforce to stay or potential staff to join? This is where innovation in the thinking behind total compensation comes into play. It’s not a panacea, but employers can simultaneously attract new hires and entice their current employees to stay by making tweaks to the parts of total compensation that are flexible—namely, employee perks. And those tweaks may include a shift in mindset and software….

On Friday, Oct. 22, Amy Spurling, chief executive officer and founder of Compt, joined Ward Christman, chief advisor for HR Tech Advisor and co-founder of the affiliated HR Tech Alliances, for a fireside chat during HR Tech Alliances’ weekly Town Hall, a one-hour forum where users, vendors and influencers gather to discuss current events in the HR industry. Spurling explained how Compt became this year’s SHRMLabs Better Workplaces Challenge Cup Winner. For their conversation, Spurling and Christman also focused on Compt’s solution. Spurling then fielded questions from attendees.

“In this intense employment market,” says Spurling, “companies are finding it critical to differentiate to attract and retain their talented teams. To do this, many are moving away from the traditional approach to employee perks because of their historically low utilization rates—and moving toward perk stipends. These allow every employee’s needs to be met in a personalized way. This is a powerful tool as companies seek to build and grow diverse and inclusive teams.”

The idea behind Compt is to personalize employee perks through the use of stipends. Spurling says the personalization that Compt enables bolsters employees’ engagement significantly with their perks at organizations that deploy the solution. The approach introduces additional regulatory complexity to employee perks, and it is notable not only that Compt’s software is IRS-compliant, but that the vendor handles all associated back-office tax compliance—thus alleviating what can be a significant administrative burden for HR departments. Spurling says payroll companies comprise most of Compt’s partnerships. Next are benefits brokers, whose goals intersect with Compt’s.

With major back-office concerns addressed in Compt’s model as well, readers of 3Sixty Insights’ blog and published reports this year will immediately recognize how Compt’s model, in solving for the employee experience and related back-office challenges, is an apt example of how vendors can address the concrete and abstract hemispheres of HCM.

According to one attendee’s observations, “with the current post-pandemic condition of the job market, I can see why there is a need for Compt. Employees want and need to feel valued. They want rewards and recognition. Employees are focusing on their wellbeing more than ever – they want to be happier, feel included, and part of a community at work. Employees want to be recognized on their work anniversaries or when it’s their birthday. Compt seems to help with this type of rewarding and recognition.”

“My big takeaway from the discussion was the importance of creating the 3-minute video that helped them win both the local and regional finals,” says Christman. When Christman asked Spurling about using the video instead of doing a live pitch, Amy said “after watching others who struggled to nail their pitch in under 3 minutes, I knew our use of a pre-recorded video was one of our best decisions”—indisputable advice, considering Amy beat out over 170 entrants to win the top spot in the Society of Human Resource Management‘s national challenge.

In assessing Compt’s ultimate potential impact, Larry Cummings, chief connector of HR Tech Advisor and co-founder of HR Tech Alliances, puts it thusly, “Hard cash spends, but the impact of benefit-personalization is an instant gratification multiplier.” In my opinion, Compt is a welcome, necessary evolution in the approach to employee perks, and I suspect that analytics providing visibility into resulting improvements cascading down to talent acquisition and employee retention would provide only more proof of concept in Compt’s value proposition. Programs originating in some third party’s guess as to a one-size-fits-all list of what most employees would appreciate in the form of perks are doomed to struggle in eliciting interest, however educated and well-meaning those guesses are. Because of this inherent limitation, the cleverness of their delivery doesn’t matter. But, as a stipend, employee perks suddenly capture the imagination of employees, who benefit from greater flexibility and enjoy greater potential satisfaction. No set-in-stone list, no matter how thoughtful, could hope to compete. Only employees themselves know what their personal must-have perks are, after all.

After the 30-minute fireside chat, attendees of the Town Hall continued to discuss the topic of Compt and employee perks for another 20 minutes before breaking to a few other industry news items. Anyone may view the Town Hall recording here:

Editor’s Note: Many thanks are due to all those quoted and others for their contributions to the development of this article.

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