Being at Coverflex, we already have the right tool to start increasing benefits and being able to better compensate our employees.
What if you could make the world speak the same language? SPEAK wants the planet to learn to speak “impact”. The idea is simple: to build bridges between migrants and refugees in the countries they now live in, using language as a tool for integration.
Founded in Leiria in 2014, SPEAK was born with the aim of promoting the social inclusion of migrants or refugees living in the same city. “We use language as a tool to connect people from different contexts, in an informal and safe environment in which, through our methodology of games and dynamics, we allow them not only to learn from each other but also to build informal support networks, make friends in the cities in which they are living, relationships that are fundamental for people to feel at home”, clarifies Rita Brito e Faro, CFO of SPEAK.
The social startup works on an “online to offline” model, which means that people sign up on the platform or via the app to learn or help others learn their language and culture, so that then these people can get together in groups. “They meet in 12 sessions of 90 minutes each” in a pre-pandemic context or through Skype, she adds. “In this offline model, we have groups in 23 cities, most of them in Europe, but also in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Lagos, Nigeria”, details Rita Brito and Faro.
With a growth model that works at a city level, SPEAK works to create inclusive communities, city by city. “And we do this by training individuals or organisations that want to replicate SPEAK in their city”, she explains.
With a team of 12 people - across the operations, marketing and product departments -, everyone contributes to everything. “SPEAK exists to create inclusive communities, so I would say that our own team also seeks to be inclusive. Inclusion works at all levels, not only in terms of valuing different cultures, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, but also in terms of accepting mistakes, mutual help, support and social progress and in groups, as a team".
With a rather “flat” structure and a sharp collaborative culture, SPEAK has long had a policy of benefits for employees, seen as a “way to compensate them beyond the financial aspect”. In this sense, there were two striking challenges, which led the team to use Coverflex, explains the startup's CFO. “First, the bureaucratic practice of managing expenses, reimbursements, reporting eligible expenses. For a team that is short, where there is no finance department, it was quite the workload. On the other hand, we wanted to increase the volume of benefits we were giving to employees, and that would not be possible without a solution like Coverflex, so we hadn't made any progress yet".
After almost six months of usage, Coverflex was a process simplification agent for SPEAK. “I had already seen other solutions but none of them seemed to provide enough value to be a 'go' for us, mainly because our annual budget is always built according to the items that can maximise the impact”, points out Rita Brito e Faro. The company started by using the area of benefits and discounts and is now migrating insurance to the platform. The next step, she adds, is to increase the balance of benefits for each employee. “Being at Coverflex, we already have the right tool to start increasing benefits and being able to better compensate our employees.
On the company's side, one of the most attractive things is having a fee per employee, because it does not discourage the use of benefits. On the user's side, the platform is very user friendly and intuitive”.
If first impressions count when you like or dislike a new solution, Hugo Menino Aguiar, co-founder and CEO of SPEAK, says that, at first, Coverflex immediately seemed “simple and useful”. “It is a tool that simplified processes that we had already implemented but that were handled manually and were difficult to manage”.
For Marc Castells, Finance Assistant & Partnership Manager at SPEAK, the benefit reimbursement process is the favoutite feature since, before using Coverflex, “it was all done manually”.
This story was first published on the Coverflex blog in September 2021.
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