Case studies

How Tripadvisor launched an expansive flexible benefits plan for 2000+ worldwide

Get the takeaways from the HR.com talk to learn how Tripadvisor launched a flexible benefits plan and expansive LSA for thousands with Forma.

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Creating a flexible benefits plan for a global workforce

With more than 1 billion reviews and counting, it’s no surprise that travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, and discover nearby attractions. Behind the scenes, thousands of Tripadvisor employees are making this all happen. With a workforce in over 20 countries and a constant state of growth, the company leverages modern ways to scale its wellness benefits.

HR.com hosted Patti Petrella, Sr. Director of Global Benefits at Tripadvisor, and Ellie Guyol, Senior Success Manager at Forma, who sat down to discuss how Lifestyle Spending Accounts (LSA) maximize employee choice and alleviate many of the headaches HR administrators face today. From scaling a flexible benefits program for a global workforce to solving point solution fatigue, this blog provides key takeaways from the discussion.

Addressing the need for a scalable, flexible benefits solution at cost 

With a growing worldwide workforce, Tripadvisor delivers purposeful, integrated benefits experience at scale. Staying ahead of trends and remaining flexible is a must–especially for a global tech company. While the company had a lifestyle benefits program in place, it had its shortcomings. “Internally, we had patched things together.  We administered what we thought was a pretty impressive wellness reimbursement plan and a little bit of a separate wellness travel stipend and let’s just say it wasn’t a really well-oiled machine,” Petrella explained. 

The Tripadvisor HR team was faced with a familiar challenge: the need to support employees' diverse needs on a global scale, while also managing costs and easing administrative burdens placed on an already busy HR team.  Tripadvisor set out to look for a solution. “Our goal was to always solve for that intense administration, but also broaden the program so it met more people where they were in their lives. So we mapped out all of our requirements. We are an employer who strongly believes in high tech, high touch solutions, and strong customer service. We needed the ability to design our own programs, including payroll integration. And that's where Forma was the clear winner.”

Winning support for a flexible benefits plan at scale 

The HR team needed management buy-in and budget. As a starting point, they met with recruiting and office management for support. Petrella notes, “All of HR was advocating for this because we knew it would excite and really engage our employees more than just giving them a lump sum in their paycheck.”

The concept quickly gained support. Petrella explained, “We went through and we were really surprised at the number of hours that our payroll was spending on processing. Local HR people were also answering questions that they shouldn’t have to be answering about our wellness benefit. So adding up all those hours and then being able to say on average would be saving the internal teams this amount helped make our case.” 

While funding could be a barrier, the Tripadvisor team proved it doesn’t have to be. “I leveraged our medical carrier to see if they had any wellness benefits that I could tap into and used it to fund the Forma platform expenses.” Petrella shared as a pro tip, “You really should be doing your homework and talking to various functions. We were able to get some of the real estate budget into this lifestyle budget.” 

Designing an expansive LSA program for thousands

After discussing internally, Tripadvisor opted for one expansive Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA). Petrella offered details about the LSA, saying, “It includes everything with the exception of home renovations. We also offer the opportunity that while the employee has to actually make the purchase, it can be for somebody else in their family. If they want to purchase a gym membership for somebody, as long as they do the purchase, the membership can be in somebody else’s name.”

The team embedded strategy behind funding and the program rollout. “We did as a company decided on a tier-based approach. If you have X number of years of service, your lifestyle allowance amount goes up in your wallet. It sort of incentives with length of service. Forma does have the integrations available in most every country and the store’s expanding. Some countries have certain benefits that aren't suitable for other countries, and so we've created separate wallets for those countries.”

Experiencing the ROI of an expanding LSA program

The results speak for themselves with a 72% utilization rate and a 98% CSAT score.“I actually have to commend Forma's customer service. My team is perfectionist and I feel like we successfully implemented this program. We feel really proud of what we did together,” Petrella said. 

Petrella went on to note, “We had all of our ducks in a row about why and how this would provide ROI. And it has proved out. We leveraged time. Time is valuable and can be translated into dollars. And listening to our employees and really anticipating what they don't even ask for. We are constantly delighting them and I have to say we delighted them the most with our lifestyle benefit.”

“I can't emphasize enough. We've been so pleased with our relationship with Forma and how they've filled all those boxes for us. It’s really part of our Total Rewards package in the end because it’s cash you can spend in so many different ways. We have received so many accolades for our lifestyle benefit. I think because it’s so expansive and it just suits everybody. It’s, ‘I’m able to use that benefit how I want to use that benefit.’ People have also commended us on how easy it is to use the Forma platform, which again, you don’t hear that about medical platforms, right?” 

-Patti Petrella, Sr. Director of Global Benefits at Tripadvisor

Watch the full talk here.