Welcome to Episode 1 of SyncUp with SwagUp!
In this episode, SwagUp CMO Helen Rankin and Fringe co-founder and CEO, Jordan Peace, talk about disrupting employee benefits in the modern workplace. Learn how Fringe is helping companies offer benefits that can be enjoyed today (not post-retirement), build strong employee culture, and leverage personalization in the future of work.
Interested in learning about how to best support your team - especially in the ways that matter to them? Then this episode is for you. Let’s go #tothemoon!
💡 The Big Ideas
- Why traditional benefits have become table stakes in developing employer brand
- How Fringe is helping HR take back up to 60% of their work week
- The importance of hiring people that are smarter than you
- How offering personalized benefits attracts top talent, and helps you stand out
- Why culture and employee experience will have more weight than even sales and marketing on company success in the coming decades
Jordan Peace is the co-founder and CEO of Fringe, an innovative company on the brink of disrupting employee benefits for the modern workplace. Jordan started his career in financial planning, then pivoted to creating Fringe after discovering a gap in the market. An ideas man, Jordan thrives on enthusiasm (+1 Fringe point if you can name the move reference)!
- Listen to this episode on SyncUp with SwagUp
- Connect with Jordan on LinkedIn!
- Connect with Helen on LinkedIn!
- Learn more about getting Fringe for your workplace.
🚀 Get Started With SwagUp
Keep reading for a sneak preview of everything discussed in this podcast episode!
Employee benefits that make sense
Like a lot of truly great companies, Fringe started with a problem. “I worked as a financial planner for a number of years alongside one of our other co-founders,” says Jordan Peace.
Jordan and Jason had their own firm serving mostly high-earning millennials that were “just trying to figure out their career and what to do with money.” It was this experience that allowed them to notice a frustrating issue.
“We’d spend our time routinely explaining traditional benefits to our clients,” says Jordan, “And it's not because we had unintelligent clients. It's because traditional benefits are written in a foreign language. A CFO I talked to recently [...] said that insurance is intentionally confusing. It's just one of those things.”
Confusion around insurance was one thing. Mismatched expectations were another, and that was what struck Jordan: the imbalance between expectations and results.
“Companies are spending $10,000 plus a year per person on these benefits. And yet, the perceived value of those benefits was about this big, right?” Jordan says. It was a lose-lose situation reeking of inefficiency — and where there’s inefficiency, there’s room for disruption.Jordan says, “It just felt like there needed to be a shift to benefits [people] could actually benefit from without being sick or dead or disabled, or 65 years old, like where are the benefits I can benefit from now? And that was the precipice of the idea.”
Culture as a competitive advantage
Perhaps one of the biggest characteristics of the modern workplace is the importance of employee culture. “More than ever, people identify with their work, they identify with their company, right? It's not just something transactional, it's a relationship,” Jordan says. “Employers have been, to be honest, a little slow to realize that, but they're, they're coming around to the idea that if somebody works for your company, it's part of their identity.”
At Fringe, the team recognizes that employees - and especially top talent - place a premium on companies with a mission aligned to their own personal values. “[It’s like] part of how I see myself is reflected in how I view my company and even maybe more importantly, how I feel my company views me,” Jordan says, “Do I feel appreciated and so forth.”
This understanding has led Jordan to believe that “for one, it's the right thing to do, [b]ecause it's not a transaction, it's a relationship. And secondly, because your employer brand [...] is what's going to win the day, the next decade or two. Even more than sales, even more than marketing.”
Part of that employer brand is how the company treats their employees. “From a consumer standpoint, if I hear that a company treats their people well, [...] I feel like I'm spending my money in the right place. I'm giving my money to good people, right, but if I hear a company treats their people poorly, I'm like questioning, Do I really need that product or service? I'm not a big fan of that company anymore. So your employer brand is your consumer brand. And people are just starting to realize that.”
“We're out there talking about employees feeling the love and like employer brand and building culture and identity. If you can't see past traditional benefits, [...] we're just not a cultural fit anyway. Most people that get on a demo with us, they're [already] excited about it, and then they realize the breadth of what we offer. And they're like, oh, wow, I was already doing student loan repayment, I was doing childcare, so you're telling me I just need you?”
— JORDAN PEACE, FRINGE CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
Fringe is just getting started
At not quite 18 months old, Fringe has already made huge strides and earned a lot of love on their journey. “The feedback [from one of our clients] was just, I've never gotten more thank you's, you know, I'll take people out to dinner. I'll send them on dates. I'll pay them bonuses, and I don't get thanked as much as I did for $100/month in fringe benefits,” Jordan says, “That was more meaningful than anything. It was really affirming to do that.”
In their early days of testing for product-market fit, the Fringe team also discovered an unexpected win for HR. “We didn't know how much time we would save HR and benefits folks,” Jordan says.
“[They know] that people want perks and other other lifestyle benefits that meet needs now. The problem is, if I have 1000 employees or even 100 employees, there's 100 opinions on which perks and lifestyle benefits that I should offer.”
This is a big enough problem that “HR people are spending three days a week in some cases, doing demos,” Jordan says. “And that's probably not why they got into HR in the first place.”
But with Fringe, that’s no longer necessary. “Any new perk that comes out in the marketplace, we're going to know about it. [W]e're gonna vet them, we're gonna decide whether or not they belong on the platform, contract with them, get them on the platform, and then their employees can just select it,” Jordan says. “There's a certain amount of future proofing that we're doing on behalf of HR that I don't think we fully realized the value of before.”
“The feedback [from one of our clients] was just, I've never gotten more thank-you’s, you know, I'll take people out to dinner, [I'll] pay them bonuses, and I don't get thanked as much as I did for $100/month in fringe benefits. That was more meaningful than anything. It was really affirming to do that.”
— JORDAN PEACE, FRINGE CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
Interested in setting up your company with Fringe? “We're all very active on LinkedIn. So anybody in the company you could reach out to you're going to get a response,” Jordan says.
“If you go to our website, we have Intercom. [I]t's not a bot. It's us. And so you'll end up chatting with somebody, maybe even me, because we take shifts on the Intercom. So yeah, feel free to reach out that way as well. And you should get a very quick response from us.”To get the full story of how Fringe is disrupting employee benefits, check out the rest of this episode on SyncUp with SwagUp.
🚀 Get more SyncUp with SwagUp
In this new live podcast series, the SwagUp leadership team meets with some of the most innovative and creative minds we know in HR, Marketing, Sales, Leadership, and more, to discuss topics from scaling smarter to building community. Each episode offers a glimpse into impactful companies at work today, so you can take your own work to the next level.