People and Culture

Leigh

2020-09-23

Our New Normal - Even’s Transition to a Distributed Work Environment

our-new-normal-even-s-transition-to-a-distributed-work-environment

An HR Perspective:

 

If you would have told me a year ago, that I would be taking virtual team meetings from my small UWS apartment while scheduling team-wide online Yoga sessions, I would have laughed, said no way, and kept working away at my cozy desk in our open floor plan office. Boy, have the times changed.

 

I had only just started my career with Even in November of 2019. Being hired as their Director of Culture and Engagement was not only exciting personally from my career growth perspective, but because I was thrilled that a Series B start-up was already so focused on company culture that it invested in a resource completely dedicated to it. We were experiencing the typical start-up growth and onboarding large teams of new employees, what felt like weekly. It was exhilarating—I love building teams, programs, processes from the ground up, which is why I’ve always been drawn to start-ups. Here at Even, our constant challenge was always “where are we going to put people?” which is every start-up’s favorite problem to have. We added more desks, took over more space, and started to explore and visit new and larger office spaces to accommodate our booming growth. 

 

I’ve always been in favor of having a WFH policy as long as it was managed properly and that the manager and employee were committed to it succeeding. That being said, I must admit that I was also pretty “HR Old School” in my train of thought and felt that the majority of employees should be in an office. I bought into the data and research out there that showed in person collaboration was the key to a company’s success. I hadn’t seen anything to show me otherwise to be honest.

 

When we first made the decision to shut the office down and work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I 100% thought that we'd be back in the office in a couple of weeks. Computer accessories and personal items were left in the office (I didn’t even take home my dog’s treats and bed from the office). We quickly transitioned from in-person meetings to Google Meets….err...meets, and set up a lot of touchpoints throughout the day and week to give employees the opportunity to stay connected. It was actually fun to see the makeshift set-ups that people had orchestrated, whether in their small Manhattan apartments or homes where they were now sharing space with spouses and children (or vice versa!). I can’t speak for all, but I know I speak for many when I say that the first few weeks were tough—fears of the virus itself and trying to stay safe, compounded with fears of the failing economy and dire 24/7 news being broadcasted from every media outlet out there, as well as the normal work from home challenge of being unable to separate work from home. 

 

Over the next few weeks our team worked quickly to ensure that people had the resources/materials they needed to work from home successfully, as well as made sure that mentally, everyone was taking time for themselves. We also had to make sure employees were physically taking care of themselves as we were in the beginning throes of the pandemic. My old apartment was on West End Ave in the UWS and I can close my eyes and still hear all the ambulances going by during those early months of March/April. It became a familiar sound in my neighborhood and a constant reminder of what was going on outside of my protected walls. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our employees became our number one priority. 

 

As the weeks turned into months it became clear to all, that we weren’t going back to the office any time soon. Our Chief People Officer, Kyle Roberts, had built a “Roadmap to Return” and we started putting plans together, but with no vaccine in sight and a city still shut down, we started pushing timelines out. I attended more webinars on how to “return to the office” than I care to count! During this time though, we did notice something significant— despite being 100% dispersed, our overall productivity was affected very little. In fact, we found that most (not all) employees enjoyed being remote and were more productive as a result. That being said, we needed to ensure that people were being mindful of separating work from home and not burning out at both ends. We implemented a mandatory once-a-month mental health day for our employees to select at their own discretion (in addition to our unlimited PTO), instituted Summer Fridays, and connected to a Yoga Instructor for free once-a-week virtual classes for employees. Our managers were encouraged to make sure employees were taking breaks and utilizing these new perks to ensure they had the tools to keep their physical and mental wellbeing maintained.  

 

With the timing of a vaccine still uncertain and a timeline for the lives of our employees (as was as the world) being opaque at best, we’re just working to ensure our teammates and friends have what they require to be successful during these turbulent times. External stress factors are high, and it’s important to understand that each person is now dealing with their own variation of what a “work day” looks like. The old school HR rulebook has been thrown to the wayside and replaced by agile solutions to a variety of new situations, with it becoming more important than ever to listen to our teammates regarding what they’re feeling and thinking during all of this. That listening is what has kept our teams collaborative despite the distance between us, and has helped our team perpetuate the programs and perks that have made it still feel like we’re only a couple desks away from each other. The puppy playdates still happen, they’ve just been relocated to digital dog parks until further notice.  

Disclamer: The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the suitability of any Even Financial product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional. Any information or statistical data sourced by Even Financial through hyperlinks, from third-party websites, are provided for informational purposes only. Although we promote products and services form our partners, our opinions are our own.

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Press

Read all about it

Goldman Sachs-backed Even Financial, a digital matchmaker between banks and customers, just bought an insurance startup as life insurers are seeing policy applications boom

Even Financial has acquired LeapLife, a leading insurtech platform. The addition of LeapLife allows Even to immediately commence its insurance capabilities, aimed at simplifying and enhancing the way consumers search, compare, and get matched with insurance policies (LeapLife’s existing platform will continue to operate from leaplife.com). Business Insider wrote an article about it, interviewing our CEO and Founder Phill Rosen.

Even Financial Launches Insurance Offerings With Strategic Acquisition of LeapLife, a Leading Insurtech Platform

Pioneering B2B Fintech Expands its Industry-Leading Financial Services Monetization Platform to Help Insurance Carriers Find and Connect with Consumers New York, New York – April 22, 2020 – Even Financial (Even), the leading API for financial services search, acquisition, and monetization, announced today that it will be launching services for the insurance industry through the acquisition of LeapLife, an insurtech platform and digital life insurance agency.  The addition of LeapLife allows Even to immediately commence its insurance capabilities, aimed at simplifying and enhancing the way consumers search, compare, and get matched with insurance policies (LeapLife’s existing platform will continue to operate from leaplife.com). Even and LeapLife now offer the only full end-to-end, multi-carrier digital life insurance marketplace experience. Over the coming weeks, Even will further integrate LeapLife’s technology and insurance offering into its industry-leading API, making turnkey insurance marketplaces programmatically available to a vast network of channel partners — when and where their consumers are most in need — while also enabling the company to expand to other insurance sectors, including homeowners, renters and auto insurance. This adds to Even’s peerless breadth of real-time, personalized financial product offers — an expansive suite that already includes loans, savings, credit cards, and more.  “Even’s goal to evolve how financial institutions find and connect with consumers is not limited to loans or credit cards, but applicable to all financial products and services, including insurance,” said Phill Rosen, Even Founder and CEO. “Despite its importance, purchasing life insurance is often an overwhelming and inconvenient experience. With more than $600 billion in premiums paid each year, and only 6% of policies sold completely online, we see tremendous opportunities to help modernize the life insurance industry and offer solutions that solve challenges for consumers and carriers alike.”  LeapLife is an established insurtech platform and digital life insurance agency that utilizes data science, deep underwriting knowledge, and proprietary technology, enabling consumers to apply for instant-decision life insurance policies with real-time quotes. LeapLife works with many best-in-class insurance carriers to offer consumers a seamless experience from beginning to end. This approach made Even and Leaplife a perfect match. As a digital insurance broker, LeapLife offers personalized life insurance recommendations based on a consumer’s unique needs. Paired with the Even API, which enables customer acquisition for insurance to be native and programmatic, consumers benefit from a more streamlined, transparent, and highly personalized experience when shopping for life insurance.  Just as Even’s 2018 acquisition of Birch (the award-winning credit card rewards app) allowed the company to accelerate its expansion into credit cards, the addition of LeapLife will similarly put Even at the forefront of consumer insurance offerings.  Charles Svirk of MassMutual Ventures, an investor in Even, said “The Even and LeapLife teams share a vision that the future of insurance acquisition will rely on the power of data-driven, programmatic distribution. We are thrilled to support them as their industry experience, impressive technology, and trusted relationships will help scale Even’s insurance offering and build partnerships to provide these critical innovations in insurance acquisition.” The Even API and platform solve significant, long-standing pain points in financial services acquisition by seamlessly connecting supply and demand. Even has continued its rapid growth trajectory in 2020, surpassing over $1.5 billion in credit issued through its API and expanding its platform to over 400 partners. Even has secured over $55 million in funding from major financial institutions, venture capital firms, and fintechs to back its goal to evolve the financial services acquisition ecosystem.   About Even Financial Founded in 2015, Even Financial is a B2B fintech company that is transforming the way financial institutions find and connect with consumers. By seamlessly bridging financial institutions (including American Express, Goldman Sachs, and SoFi) and channel partners (such as TransUnion and The Penny Hoarder) via its industry-leading API, Even turns any consumer touchpoint into an ROI-driven, fully customizable, programmatic acquisition source for financial product offers with full compliance, security, and scale across loans, savings, credit cards, insurance, and more. Even is backed by leading financial services firms and VCs including American Express Ventures, Canaan Partners, Citi Ventures, F-Prime Capital (Fidelity), Greatpoint Ventures, Goldman Sachs, LendingClub, and MassMutual Ventures. Even is the leading search, comparison, and recommendation engine for financial services. Media Contact: media@evenfinancial.com

Even CEO/Founder Phill Rosen quoted in Protocol Braintrust Newsletter

Our CEO and Founder Phillip Rosen was included in the most recent Protocol Braintrust newsletter along with answers from some thought leaders from Plaid, Slack, and DuckDuckGo!