Employer sponsored healthcare – for your pet?

Remote work and ping pong used to be limited to a handful of tech startups. Today, companies offer quirky benefits to stay competitive.

Hatch IT is a developer-friendly startup with a membership model that helps other startups scale engineering teams. We analyzed our clients’ benefits packages over 3 years and noticed some exciting trends: DC startups increasingly cover a higher percentage of healthcare costs, and there’s been a sharp increase in unique perks like pet healthcare plans.

Why are we seeing this shift in benefits? While there has always been a high demand for strong engineering talent amongst the Washington DC metro area startup community, the demand has only increased as the area has grown more prominent as a startup hub. Larger enterprises such as Capital One and the future Amazon Headquarters have added gas to the fire with inflated compensation packages as a means to attract talent. So what’s a smaller business to do to stand out in the crowd if they can’t afford to compete on compensation?

DC area startups have started to embrace some of the more creative perks that have already been popular on the West Coast for years. First, viewing compensation packages as more than  salaries and bonuses. Second, looking at how benefits that reflect company culture can attract talent and keep employees engaged in the long term. Below are a few examples of unique benefits that we have recently seen grow in popularity:


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Pet-Related Benefits for your Fur-Baby

Not only are we seeing companies embrace pet-friendly offices but there has been a push to offer pet insurance discounts and coverage. Especially as offices move towards remote-work, our furry friends are a big part of our lives. Many companies are making it clear that they understand the important roles that pets play in employees’ wellbeing.   


Total Wellness – A focus on not only physical but mental health

More than ever, companies are realizing the importance of offering benefits to keep their employees physically and mentally healthy. Creative wellness benefits we’ve seen have included: in-office healthy snack options, gym memberships, and monthly stipends for workout classes. They’ve also added access to meditation rooms, life coaches, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nutritionists.



Technology-supported remote healthcare was becoming popular even before COVID19. It saved time (and money) for doctors, patients, and employers. Why take hours off work for doctor’s appointments when you can get your questions answered from home. As several local startups like B.Well are demonstrating, mobile apps are sometimes better suited for updating and monitoring patients.


Plenty of Time Off

Many startups have already embraced flexible work hours and unlimited PTO. But, until recently, holidays remained the same as they had for years.. Now, many companies are taking it a step further by offering their employees additional holidays. These unique, extra holidays are a fun way to give your employees that crucial time off to rest and recharge. You can get creative and celebrate company culture, diversity and so much more.

While we’ve seen creative benefits develop as competition for local talent increased, we’re also now seeing benefits change in real-time as companies adjust to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. As companies switch to fully remote work environments, they are looking for ways to keep their employees engaged and keep a pulse on what other companies are offering. 

As candidates explore the job market, they are looking at how companies have responded to COVID19. Candidates want to know how companies are treating their employees during this time. In response, some companies are coming up with unique benefits, such as offering discounts to online programming for children of employees, providing monthly stipends for coffee and healthy lunches at home, hosting intra-office work-from-home fitness competitions, access to online workout classes and increasing work flexibility. 

The ability to be innovative and reactive will continue to help startups and small businesses navigate recruiting and employee engagement during these more disruptive times. To keep up with more DC tech trends, subscribe to the hatchpad or reach out to learn more about how hatch IT can keep you at the cutting edge of technical recruiting and community engagement for startups.

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