Pagoda (formerly Near Inc) is a platform that gives startups the tools to build and launch their Web3 business quickly and easily. Based in the US, Lauren Kosteroski heads up Pagoda’s People Ops team, and she’s responsible for the employee experience of 92 people across 22 countries.
The Pagoda team works 100% remotely from all over the world. Lauren’s challenge was to roll out mental health support that everybody could easily access and benefit from – over and above any country-specific insurance policies.
“Working at a remote startup,” she says, “it's really easy to blur the lines between work and home. It's easy to get burnt out, especially with the pandemic and the war and everything that's happened in the past two or three years. We knew it was important to offer some sort of mental health benefit that’s already paid for, and anybody can use.”
Pagoda is intentionally generous with their wellbeing benefits, extending them to every employee, whether they’re full time, part time or contractors. They offer unlimited paid time off and 2 paid wellness weeks, as well as a $2000 budget to get set up for home working and another $2000 for continued education.
“As well as taking care of people, we definitely use all our benefits as a recruitment tool,” Lauren says. “We are competing for talent against Web2, Web3, and FAANG companies, so we’re very competitive with our benefits, including our mental health support.”
Looking for an all-in-one mental health solution that would help attract top-tier talent and support a global team led Pagoda to Spill.
Where Spill comes in
Pagoda signed up to Spill in November 2021, rolling out access to 1-1 mental health support for the whole team. “It’s right there in Slack,” Lauren says, “so anybody anywhere in the world can use it.”
Lauren uses Spill’s Check-in feature twice a month to keep track of the mood of the wider business. She says that just knowing a mental health practitioner will reach out has been incredibly valuable. “People are trying 1-1 sessions who otherwise wouldn’t have. And I don’t need to act on the Check-in results personally, because I know that if someone’s struggling, a mental health professional will reach out to that person directly.”
I know that if someone's struggling, a professional will reach out to them
As well as ongoing support, Spill has already helped Pagoda to navigate the emotional impact of emergency situations, too. With 2 Ukrainian founders and several employees based in Ukraine and Russia, Pagoda and Spill have supported the team through relocations and upheavals under the most challenging circumstances.
“We get so much good feedback about Spill.” Lauren says. “And even if just one or two people are using it to improve their mental health, that’s more than worth it to us.”