On this episode of The RecruitingDaily Podcast, we welcome Paul O’Reilly-Hyland, founder and CEO of Zeamo, to talk about the current state of competitive perks.
Paul is an entrepreneur who has founded and grown companies in the financial services and corporate wellness industries and is passionate about health and wellness with a particular focus on fitness.
He created Zeamo, a digital platform that makes it simple and affordable for businesses to engage all employees to live a healthy lifestyle. The application provides choice in the best brands and workouts, both digitally and physically. Zeamo offers on-demand routines, allowing employees to stream classes and workouts from the top fitness brands and instructors all over the world, as well as offering a reward system for motivation.
The big questions we answer today: How can Zeamo determine which clients need what program? In terms of wellness and fitness, what are people asking for? How does Zeamo support mental health, and has Paul seen an impact in that area?
There’s more, of course! You have to listen to find out. Make sure to drop your thoughts in the comments.
Listening Time: 22 minutes
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An entrepreneur who has founded and grown companies in the financial services and corporate wellness industries. Passionate about health and wellness with a particular focus on fitness. CEO/Founder of Zeamo, a data-driven digital platform that makes it easy and affordable for companies and insurers to engage, motivate and reward all employees and members to live an active and healthy lifestyle by providing choice in the best brands and workouts both digitally and physically.Follow Follow
This is Recruiting Daily’s recruiting live podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three-year-old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
Ladies and gentlemen. This is William Tincup. You are listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast. Today we have Paul on from Zeamo and [inaudible 00:00:41] talking about the current state of competitive perks. It’s a very important discussion because in America, there’s 10 million open jobs, or at least 10 million plus open jobs. And you got to attract that talent and perks are one of those things that you can use as a lever to bring that talent in. So Paul, do us, the audience and myself a favor and introduce both yourself and Zeamo.
Yeah. Hi, William. Great to be with you today. So my name is Paul O’Reilly-Hyland and I founded Zeamo a few years ago, really with the idea of bringing fitness and healthy living into the workplace into today’s workplace because today’s workplace is very different to what it was 20, 30 years ago. So as you could probably tell by my accent, I’m not from the states, I’m originally from Ireland, but when I first came to the states, I was offered by my company a membership to the local gym.
It seemed fine. Didn’t always go there. Paper, locked in for a year. Flash forward 20 odd years later and a lot of people were offering the same. So my sort of view was that didn’t really work. Certainly didn’t work for me because I did a lot of travel, like to sometimes work out from home or near home, on the road. So I went about actually changing the way and making it much more flexible and easier, really for a company itself, to be able to offer the benefit of fitness to their employees.
So that’s really how it started. It started very much as a passion and has grown into a business today, which is the exciting part of it because we’ve seen over COVID, things have changed tremendously from people now working from home, for people demanding all sorts of different things. This industry, the fitness industry has exploded in terms of choice. We make that easy for a company to offer their employees that choice.
So I love that. Now… and again, there’s a number of different things I want to unpack. One is, within an employee population, so one of your clients let’s say, how do you know who needs what?
That’s a great question. I mean, sort of it’s the idea that you can give Peloton to all your employees is kind of crazy. It’s just crazy.
Back to the same analogy of just giving them a local gym or even several. So we’ve come across companies who had just contracts with everything in sight. Now you could imagine if you’re a company with a thousand, even 5,000 employees, the HR offices is just inundated with this spaghetti junction. It’s so hard to do. So what we do is we basically bring together all the top fitness and wellness activities in both physical and digital format. What that means on digital, it is basically at home, video-on-demand workouts, thousands of them from over 75 top brands.
On the physical side, we bring again, gyms and studios across the country all into the same ecosystem. So that if you even have only got 50 employees, not all 50 employees, never mind even 20 employees will want the same thing. So it is all about choice. The analogy, go into an airport 20 years ago, you got airport food. Today, loads of different choice. Very similar to what we’re doing within the wellness and fitness industry is we’re trying to make it easier for a company to offer all of that choice, but also bring it into a situation where that company can have the days you can know and can hopefully engage those employees and help them to live a healthier, active life.
And so I love that because again, it’s highly personalized, which means that you have a chance of people using it, a perks not a perk unless there’s consumption.
Which is your gym membership from 20 years ago, is a great example of that. You might have used that, but once you got busy or whatever with life or whatever, traveling, then you didn’t use it so it wasn’t a perk. What are people asking, especially as it relates to fitness and wellbeing, what are they asking for these days? What are you seeing from just the market in general? Even some specific examples of things that program, either programmatically, things that are important to them, or just requests that are being made of companies.
I think the real thing is really choice and inclusion. So, go back to the 20 years ago, it was you gave it to the head office, to management. Today, you know you’ve got… it should be to really from the minimum wage, all the way up to the CEO, everybody should be up to, to [inaudible 00:06:03] . So the problem there is, it is so many things people want, but they want it to be easy. Most of all, it’s got to be easy and we all pack in a busy lifestyle.
So if I, you know, people can do a 20 minute stretch class in the morning at home, I go to the gym later on, make it very flexible and easy. COVID really sort of obviously brought out the demand for digital, we’ve all seen the situation with Peloton. It’s gone through the roof in terms of share price and [inaudible 00:06:40] , but there are so many behind that, of different types of brands and different types of workouts, and they keep evolving almost by the week. So it’s a tough question to answer, to be honest with you, because everybody wants something slightly different. So to your point, personalized, making it easier for people to actually find something they want. And the other thing I suppose I’d say is a lot of people actually got out of the habit of exercising over COVID and may not want to rush back into a gym. So, there’s this so much flexibility in choice is really the key.
So on the wellbeing side, one of the, silver linings of COVID, if you will, is that we’re talking about mental health more frequently from a corporate perspective than we ever have. Very taboo pre COVID, not as taboo now, what are you seeing in terms of a perk that works for an employee population, what are you seeing kind of on that spectrum, the wellness wellbeing, et cetera.
Well, it’s, I mean, you’ve hit it. Absolutely. I mean, well- the mental wellness is becoming much more important.
And so, it could start, some people will say, well, that actually you can offer them mindfulness, which is everything from yoga to meditation. So very, very popular. And so that’s the thing to even get into, to sessions with therapists, all of those are coming into it. So the demand really for mental solutions have become really important. I mean, at least 40% of employees now, I say they are struggling with burnout through the pandemic. And that’s a pretty serious thing. Already, mental health was actually a challenge as were. So I think COVID is in many ways it’s obviously, it’s been really tough, but in terms of actually raising awareness, it’s actually been quite good in a sense, because we now talk about this. We may not have talked about it so easily pre COVID.
Right. Right. And then some of the treatments were kind of EAP based. It was like, okay, you want to see a therapist? You know, there’s taboo just for bringing it up. Then you’ve got to go through this process then. Well, everyone in the company know about what’s going on. And so there is all these fears and anxieties around, something that is personal. I want to get your take. When you mentioned burnout, it really kind of flagged a couple things because physical, the fitness side of perks, is doing kind of with a physical, the wellbeing or mindfulness et cetera. You’re dealing with the more of the mental. The upside for employers, I’m assuming is retention of talent and the attraction of talent. Have you… Is there other things that are not on the two… Is there other things of perks that you’ve seen that people are using that kind of help that we should, that we should explore?
Well, obviously giving them the choice and access to very physical and mental mindfulness is really important, but it’s another thing actually to engage them. How do you actually get people engaged?
Oh, that’s interesting.
So, what we do is we have a pretty comprehensive rewards and challenges. So we’re basically giving employees the ability to get rewarded for their activities. That’s whether they actually do an online mindfulness class, whether they actually do go to the gym or whether they actually just go for run in the park, they get rewards and they get entered into challenges. So we announce those winners or those challenges. And there’s some meaningful, I mean, these are things like holidays in Mexico, merchandise, discounts into all sorts of merchandise and vacations. So they all add up and lot of life is really the journey. And you kind of, you set yourself on a goal, but actually you’ve got to make it fun. So if you can think of actually god, I’ve actually, I look at it and say, God, I’ve actually met. I’ve been rewarded for doing this. That actually I think is really key. That engagement.
What I love about that is it’s not just about, I mean you started with choice and access, right? Which is kind of the basics table stakes, if you will. But after that, if you don’t have a plan as a practitioner, if you don’t have a plan to then get folks engaged, then they won’t, then there’s not the consumption and usage. You won’t see the real benefits of the perks that you’re providing for your folks. So the engagement part is, again, different programs are going to work for different employees and the leader board and different perks and not perks, but different rewards are going to work for different employees.
You kind of have to personalize that too, Starbucks gift cards versus a trip to Hawaii whatever that is. But again, it’s like they have to… What I want to make sure that the audience understands is that, choice, access, great. First of all, let’s make sure that you… There’s a multitude of things that is available to them, it’s personalized. They have access to any and all of it, et cetera. But then there’s a kind of a concerted effort to make sure that they actually use those things.
So, I mean, if I was to summarize in those three words, which I use is engage, motivate, and reward. You keep going around that. And if you… Unfortunately the old method, as I mentioned in the beginning of the podcast. When people joined a gym, it all happened in January. And by the time you got to March, they’d all fallen off. And so, for an employer and employee, obviously the goal is really to be consistent, not to just have that [inaudible 00:13:23] in January, but be consistent through it. And to do that, you do need to have those engagements, those motivational aspects to it, to get people being consistent throughout the year.
I love that. So tell me, if you don’t mind, give me one of your favorite kind of stories of companies that might have had some reluctance for whatever reasons when it comes to this and kind of how you kind of got them over the reluctance part.
Yeah, totally. And initially it was one company basically [inaudible 00:14:00] the rewards are gimmicky. And we just want to give them just access to gems. And funny enough that was pre COVID. And the last four or five months, we’ve seen the engagement come through on the activities. They are digital, but also more so of actually just getting out and doing step challenges, people walking. And so the penetration of people actually looking at their app and going, God, I’ve just been out for a walk or a run. That actually has really spread on. But the challenges, really drove that further because it became a word of mouth. When one particular employee won a prize, up to Mexico, told everybody else. And they were like, well, I’m going to just, I’ll just sync up, sync our apps.
Why didn’t we all do it? But you had people who were getting rewards for doing different things, because previously you did just a challenge. And only people who did that particular activity could participate in that what we wanted to do was it doesn’t matter what you do, whether you go to the gym, whether you do an at home workout or whether you go for run of the park, it’s all standardized. And that brought them all together. So that was where the employer came around and said, wow, this is actually, this is working. Let’s start throwing some money behind it. So- [crosstalk 00:15:21]
I love that because then again, you’re not, pigeoning, hewing people into like, some people like to run and some people that’s not their bid. They would much rather do something else, but if it’s normalized and just said, okay, now if you don’t want to run, you can do something else. Just do something. I love that. I want to make sure that we do just kind of touch briefly on the reward side, because one of the things that when we think about this, when we budget for these things, we need to budget for the software that helps run all of these things, but the rewards themselves, we also need to… There’s also a budget there in terms of what we’re trying to incentivize where we want them to be programmatically.
The things that challenge is I think that you’re thinking about all the different challenges and I wanted to ask you how many challenges that you all have? But how do they think about like how much they should set aside for rewards or incentives?
Well, it’s a great question. And it’s something which is unique to us. We’re actually, our companies and our clients don’t actually pay for any of the rewards, it’s included. So, and our rewards are heavy discounts. In other words, the employee doesn’t have a tax bill [inaudible 00:16:46] the headache of it, but they are getting, we’re talking 70, 80% discounts to whether it be vacations, whether it be merchandise. So the tax implication isn’t in there because they’re not actually physically giving them anything.
Oh, that’s nice.
So, but it is quite fun though when you’re looking at this and you’re going, like I’m visiting Boston in a couple of weeks and I’ll check into a hotel and I’ll use our, our rewards facility and I’ll use my points and I’m getting in there at a, I think 60 to 60% discount into that hotel.
So those are types of things which are very cool as we develop further, obviously AI be begins to learn that-
William actually… William likes to go to concerts or whatever the case may be and motivate people towards what they like to do to sink into actually their activities.
Oh, I love that.
And that’s where it’s going. I mean, AI is going to be a real driver in it. So yeah, it’s the reward side of things, its early-ish days. I think for a lot of people, when you think about it 25%, at least of the population now have got a, have got a wearable, right. And most of them do not use it for anything else by actually looking at, I haven’t done enough sleep, actually I should walk more. But actually now if you’re getting actually rewards for… There’s a motivation. Cause I know when I first got my apple watch the first few weeks, I just… It was great. And then after the novelty of looking at the data of what I did sort of disappeared, but if you’re actually open it up every day and finding that, actually hold on a second, I’m on my way to getting something that’s cool. And that’s a motivation.
The challenges, can a company, do they create their own challenges or do you have a library of challenges?
We do them ourselves across our network. So it’s across all our companies. So we’ll announce it could be one particular company, an employee at [inaudible 00:18:58] Morgan Stanley has a won a prize. And that, obviously we’ll ask them, is it okay to mention your name? And if it is, they won a prize, whatever. So it can be specified to companies and we do, but we automatically do across our whole employee network anyway. So, and we’re doing this in the summer. We do them every week.
All right. Last thing before we roll out, what’s your favorite challenge?
Well, my favorite challenge was just based on how much we had… How much a participant had improved over a period of time. So it wasn’t actually because we’ve done rewards and challenges where it’s like the person who’s actually done the most activities is basically the most- It’s based on points, and that’s how we standardize it. The best one to my mind is who improved the most over the last week. So that means that actually you could be somebody who’s really, hasn’t really done all of activity, but you really stepped it up. And that I think was the most fun one because wow, actually hold on second. I only did exit, I needed 2000 steps a day, but I actually went up to 4,000. That person beats the person who’s been doing 15 or 20, because they’re actually shown that improvement.
What’s interesting is, in the future again with AI is tying this back to performance, right?
I mean, that’s really kind of the one of the holy grails is that we want to do all these things to both to attract and retain talent and make, get the best version of them while they’re with us. But we also want to be able to then show that Dot-to-Dot relationship with how they perform at work and that’s a pursuit that.. I, again… that’s all of our pursuit. That’s the employee pursuit as well. So Paul, this [crosstalk 00:21:01] go ahead.
You know, if you look back a few years ago and you look at places where everybody really wanted to work was apple and Google.
The reason being it was their benefits and they had teams of wellness, coaches, wellness managers, benefit managers. But if you’re a company which is only got two or 3000, nevermind, 50, how do you compete? And that’s where we came in, we are basically bringing what only very large companies could do in the benefit space and making it available now to companies of any size.
I love it. Thank you so much for your time today, Paul, this has been fantastic and I just appreciate you carving out time for us and our audience.
Thank you William. Much appreciate it. Very much enjoy talking with you.
Absolutely and thanks for everyone listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast until next time.
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William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.