Diversity

As Labor Market Tightens, Benefits Transparency Startup Work180 Raises $1M For U.S. Launch

Tech companies are well-known for offering some of the best corporate benefits in America. And in a booming economy, those same tech companies are even extending the same benefits to the contractors they hire.

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But even the promoters of excellent benefits will often require a candidate to accept a job offer before workplace policies are fully disclosed. The trend of secret benefits is terrible enough that Silicon Valley-based headhunter Nick Corcodilos wrote for PBS that it is ”one of the most perturbing and ludicrous practices of many companies.”

Work180 wants to change that dynamic. Based in Australia, Founder and Co-CEO Valeria Ignatieva, alongside Co-CEO Gemma Lloyd, have partnered with companies like Microsoft, Atlassian, and Mercy Health in Australia and the UK. With the help of a survey, Work180 fastidiously documents workplace policies that promote equal pay, parental leave, and the increased presence of women in leadership, among a number of other qualifications.

In describing the company’s goal, Ignatieva told Crunchbase News in an interview that “as a parent myself, I often struggled through job interviews and then having to disclose the fact that I need flexible working because my son had a disability.” So instead of working through a series of awkward questions during the interview, Valeria, along with her co-founder, thought, “Why not flip the model?”

“Instead of you presenting credentials to the company, they present their [credentials],” Ignatieva elaborated.

She explained that this transparency has helped push companies to improve their benefits as a result. One company reportedly changed its HR policies three times after discussions with Work180, leading to the introduction of a domestic violence leave policy and other benefits.

Gemma Lloyd (Co-CEO), Kim Jackson (Skip Capital, Lead Investor), Valeria Ignatieva (Co-CEO and Founder)

So far, its efforts to add transparency to candidates appears to be successful. With $1 million in seed-stage funding raised in April 2018, Ignatieva told Crunchbase News that Work180 is profitable. And it has confirmed another $1 million from its prior investors to enter the United States market.

And it’s likely a good time to get companies in the U.S. to review their benefits. As the labor market tightens, the competition for talent is growing. Americans are job hopping now more than ever. To attract in-demand professionals, U.S.-based employers need to differentiate themselves now more than ever. Work180 could help facilitate that process.

Work180 also plans to introduce a tool that will allow employers to compare and contrast their benefits. Right now, helping companies navigate and compare policies is done manually, which means a lot of conversing and friendly consulting. But Ignatieva noted that the progress her team has made with companies means you never “feel like a broken record.”

Overall, Work180 is one of the only startups Crunchbase News could find working to improve actual HR policies, rather than simply managing the paperwork behind those policies. It’s so ambitious that it is curious the company has only raised $2 million.

For the U.S. market especially, the company’s new tranche of funding feels like light ammo in one of the only developed countries to not guarantee paid maternity leave. And the private sector isn’t closing the gap. Only 13 percent of private-sector employees receive any form of paid parental leave, according to Bloomberg, and there is little data on other benefits such as work-from-home policies.

However, Work180 has demonstrated its ability to turn a profit in changing and disclosing workplace policies. That’s no easy feat for a startup, possibly giving it the grit needed to be successful in a market generally hostile to such initiatives.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias