The drivers of employee engagement aren’t all that different from the drivers of community engagement: information, conversation, support, visibility. For Nextdoor, a hyper-local social media network for communities across the globe, that made the approach to employee benefits clear. Just as the app connects people directly to others in their communities, Nextdoor’s benefits aim to connect employees directly to category experts. The goal for both the app and the HR team is clear: “Build a kinder world where everyone has a neighborhood they can rely on.”
That goal didn’t, however, always extend to support for caregiving.
“We’re so used to thinking about parental leave support or medical leave, I don’t know that I’d thought about caregiving as its own type of support program,” says Bryan Power, head of people at Nextdoor.
When Power and his team first learned about Grayce, they started researching the emerging caregiving benefit space, comparing solutions to find one that matched the type of benefits Nextdoor already offered — high-quality, hands-on support, combined with a robust library of resources.
Grayce fits in with the health and wellbeing benefits Nextdoor already offers, but it also stands out. In a satisfaction survey, Nextdoor staff who use Grayce rated it 4.9 on a scale of 5.
After surveying the options, Nextdoor decided to give Grayce a trial run — testing both our program and the need for caregiving support across the company’s staff. What happened in the trial was proof of concept for Grayce as a tool employees will utilize – at a rate 5X faster than expected. It didn’t take long for Nextdoor to get all the proof it needed that caregiving benefits are crucial to a holistic employee support strategy.
Grayce trial drives engagement, faster than expected
With Power convinced holistic caregiving was worth trying, and that Grayce was the right partner to run with, he and the Nextdoor team approached the trial run eager to see if the data would support a broader launch.
Nextdoor started by offering 10 employees access to caregiving benefits through Grayce. Power figured it would take six months, maybe a full year, for employees to fill all of the spots. How much demand could there be for something the company had never offered before?
“Within two months we had all ten spots utilized by employees,” said Power. Not only was there demand, Grayce satisfied that demand. “Every single person came back to us and said how grateful they were with the support they were getting.”
Still, Power didn’t know how far the demand extended past the 10 people who were first to sign up. Seeing the success of the trial, he and his team decided to survey the company to see how many people total would use a caregiving benefit like Grayce.
The result was clear. Of those who answered the survey, 75% were responsible for providing some kind of care — looking after parents, kids, spouses, grandparents, siblings and more. Not only that, many of those with caregiving responsibilities were among Nextdoor’s most valuable employees, deep into their career and suddenly facing a situation where their professional competence and experience couldn’t help them. Offering access to expert advice and support in these moments could help navigate the complexities of being a caregiver so they could find their mooring and remain in the workforce as productive employees.
Grayce employee engagement benefits helped Nextdoor build an internal, global caregiving community
With all the evidence needed for a full rollout, Power and his HR team established Grayce as an employee benefit for the whole company — and immediately saw five times more sign-ups than they had initially predicted.
For the staff members who signed up, Grayce was a lifeline. People who had previously kept their caregiving responsibilities private started to open up to each other. Pretty soon, participating colleagues were sharing their struggles and stresses, instead of bottling them up. The outcome created a sense of relief for those going through it and awareness for everyone else. Few people know how to bring up caregiving at work. It’s often not a pleasant topic, and without tools in place to respond, it can be a lonely one.
In addition to support from the caregiving experts at Grayce, Nextdoor colleagues began to create a community of support, using internal messaging applications and employee resources groups to start discussing caregiving with each other. This has extended the caregiving community outside of the Grayce platform and into everyday lives in offices all over the world.
Grayce’s global availability was another of the big benefits setting it apart from competitors for Nextdoor. With Grayce, Nextdoor was able to offer one platform for all types of caregiving benefits, in all countries. It didn’t matter whether staff lived in Europe or Asia, whether they were managing cancer or a chronic condition — Grayce had the resources they needed.
An employee engagement program capable of driving retention at all levels
While the median age of caregivers at Nextdoor is 38 years old, the full cohort of caregivers ranges from 24 to 60. The truth is that caregiving can affect employees of all ages, and disproportionately affects women and people of color — especially earlier in their careers. While caregiving support may feel like a benefit only for senior staff members, the Nextdoor team found that it covered a surprisingly large portion of the staff — helping the team to attract and retain talent at any age and position.
Grayce fits in with the health and wellbeing benefits Nextdoor already offers, but it also stands out. In a satisfaction survey, staff who use Grayce rated it a 4.9 on a scale of 5. Among the comments, people said that Grayce makes them feel more included at work, and more than half said they are more likely to stay at Nextdoor because it offers Grayce as an employee benefit.
Caregiver support engaged Nextdoor employees by proving their problems matter
For a business that exists to foster community, none is more important than the one among its own people. Nextdoor’s HR team has to keep a global workforce engaged, and Grayce has helped to support a community that fosters the culture as well as grows the business.
“I’m grateful that I know that employees of Nextdoor are getting valuable support at a time when they really, really need it,” says Power. “That’s everything from a space where they can figure out what they need to do and talk to someone with tools and ideas for how to approach the situation. I know they are putting a lot into their heart and soul with this work and during this time we can be there for them.”
If you want to drive employee engagement with a benefit that touches most of your workforce, let’s talk about how Grayce can help.