Segal Benz: Stripe Total Rewards Communication Case Study

“I think the benefits team just won the hackathon with their new website!” That was the Stripe benefit team’s favorite comment after launching a Global Total Rewards website. The employee feedback about the new website was overwhelmingly positive when it launched in the fall of 2022. A year later, Stripe measured meaningful increases in employees understanding of their compensation, and the Total Rewards website has been an important vehicle for that education. 

Among top talent, there’s been a significant increase in the number of people who say they understand the programs being offered and believe they are fair. 80% of Stripe employees found that the way they access information about and engage with Total Rewards programs has been helpful and over 50% say it is “very helpful” or “extremely helpful.” The website receives approximately 4,400 visits every month from Stripe’s 7,000 employees.

The data also shows that when people understand their compensation, they have a very strong positive perception around other important aspects of the employee experience: fairness, usefulness of information, recognition/appreciation, and incentivizing the right behaviors. 

Creating a solution

How did they get there? In the summer of 2021, Stripe was growing rapidly, similar to the general economy and other tech companies. Brad Kempf joined as head of Global Benefits to build out a global benefits team and scale the programs and operations. At that time, the People team was in the middle of migrating content from Stripe’s intranet to a CRM tool in the form of knowledge articles. This was a large-scale transition that involved managing and migrating massive amounts of content. There was also a significant amount of duplicate, and often contradictory, information available on different platforms.

At that time, feedback was that employees didn’t understand the programs—for example, how to use their benefits, how their compensation was set, and how equity works. Employees could not easily locate rewards (benefits, compensation, equity and talent mobility) content or navigate it once they found it.

The Stripe Total Rewards team collaborated with Segal Benz to create a Total Rewards website that replaced all internal rewards program content, including knowledge articles. The website acts as the single source of truth for rewards programs. It’s integrated into the Stripe intranet via search functionality, making sure content can be located quickly and easily. 

Stripe’s goal was to provide an experience for their employees where they can quickly find the right amount of information on their rewards programs. It was important to simplify complex content so people who are not benefits or compensation professionals can understand it quickly and easily. At the same time, it was important to align with corporate branding, style guidelines, and tone in the content and web design.

The employee site was created for a global audience, with consistent information on global compensation, equity, and talent mobility programs, along with targeted sections for country-specific benefits. A separate website for job candidates matches the look and feel of Stripe’s internal site but is available outside the firewall. That’s a valuable aid for recruiters to use with prospective employees.

Telling the Total Rewards story

Stripe was very intentional in showcasing their benefits, compensation, equity, and talent mobility programs together, and being transparent in their approach to program design. “It’s imperative that employees understand the investment their company makes in their rewards, how rewards programs fit into the overall company strategy, and that employees clearly see  how closely benefits, compensation, and equity investments are related. At Stripe, we wanted everyone to understand the story behind our rewards programs and the full extent of our rewards program,” Brad said. “Compensation and equity are too big a piece of the equation not to talk about them as frequently as benefits.” Stripe also strives to explain the “why” around programs by providing transparency in how programs are designed, while always looking for areas of improvement.

Gaining leadership buy in

“It was not difficult to get leaders on board with our new approach because we were able to tell a clear story of what we wanted to accomplish, how we were going to do it, and why we needed to do it,” Brad said. “If you’re able to show how you’re working to support the business strategy and solve a known problem, leadership will buy into the vision you’re creating and that’s what we were able to do at Stripe with the Total Rewards website.” The benefits team collaborated with many internal partners such as branding, internal communications, people operations, recruiting, IT, and legal. All played an important role in making the website a success.

Looking ahead

Stripe will continue to evolve their communications approach to keep up with business needs. And they’ll continue to use their Total Rewards websites as enablement tools that support an exceptional user experience and equip employees and their families with the information they need to be successful.

“The two main things that keep me excited and motivated is that both Stripe as an organization and the benefits industry are constantly evolving. A couple years ago the primary focus in the benefits space was on creative plan design and the role benefits play in competing for talent. Fast forward to today, and with changes in the economy, benefits teams have been required to shift their focus and still be creative with plan design, with more focus on cost containment and efficiency. I love the ever-changing dynamic of the benefits landscape and how those investments and tradeoffs tie to the strategy and financials of each organization,” Brad said.

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