Denver-based SonderMind matches people with the best therapists for their unique needs — and then taps the health insurance they already have to pay for it. To meet tremendous market need, in 2020 the company added video telehealth and messaging to their platform, tripled their staff and secured $ 27 Million in series B funding.
Founded in 2017, SonderMind tapped into a huge market need to connect people with licensed, experienced, and available mental health therapists. To get their business off the ground, the company initially decided to outsource all of its HR functions and processes to a PEO firm.
However, when the business began its fast growth in 2019, SonderMind recognized a need to have more control and insight into the impacts of its people operations.
Tori Soler, whose title at that time was Company Operations Ninja, articulated the need for the young company to build out a people operations team. “HR is often seen as administrative, we wanted to be strategic, and enable people’s success not just track them. So we wanted to reflect that ethos in the language we use.”
She also launched the search for a comprehensive software solution to support SonderMind’s team growth.
In November, 2019 SonderMind chose Zenefits.
We left a PEO for Zenefits’ people operations tool to support us as we scale from 30 to 200+.
Manager of People Operations
“We are doing exciting work, redefining access to behavioral health. Our mission has attracted healthcare partners, investors, customers and employees. With Zenefits, we are able to effectively engage our employees even before they start,” says Tori, who is now in the role of Manager of People Operations at SonderMind.
Becoming a Career-Defining Place to Work
The behavioral health industry continues to be challenged by long-wait times and access issues. Further, 80% of Americans can’t afford mental health therapy without help from insurance. SonderMind helps make therapy accessible by connecting regional therapists as in-network providers under major health insurance plans. Further, its cloud-based application, with just a few qualifying questions for the individual, uses a combination of software automation and personal human touch to match each client with a compatible therapist, removing another significant hurdle to the process.
This makes SonderMind an attractive company to join. Attracting great talent is part of a bigger goal CEO and Co-Founder, Mark Frank, has for his staff. He wants to make SonderMind a career-defining place to work. This focus lures most employees, including the last batch of new hires that accepted a job in the spring of 2020 not realizing they’d each be ramping into their new roles remotely due to COVID-19.
“We quickly moved into remote team management with Zenefits,” says Tori. “We’ve continued to grow during quarantine, so today we hire and onboard remotely, verify I-9’s remotely and have a wealth of detailed data at our fingertips about our team that we can access from anywhere.”
Indeed, data integrity was at the heart of the due diligence Tori did six months prior, when searching for a software tool to radically professionalize and modernize the antiquated process they’d had with their PEO. “It was really wild how backward the processes were,” adds Tori.
SonderMind’s software requirements:
- Single platform for people operations: ensure reliable data integrity
- Strong third party integrations (like Carta and Greenhouse): for additional functionality
- Easy user interface: so employees could make their own changes, own their own experience
- Streamline processes like onboarding and benefits selection
- Save money vs. a PEO
Within six months of selecting Zenefits, SonderMind saw big changes in efficiency and impact.
“We are saving time for onboarding from hours to 30 minutes,” says Tori. With 56 new hires already this year, we’ve saved 110 man hours and vastly improved the new employee experience. We use Zenefits onboarding tips for our programs and even pass along helpful articles from the Zenefits Wellbeing app to build conversations and intention.
“The ease of benefits enrollment with Zenefits has been huge for us. And the surprising ‘Ah-Ha’ for us is that performance management —which wasn’t the main factor in our search criteria— has become a major advantage. Now we’re looking to align our company goals in Zenefits and empower year-long performance conversations with the performance management tool to track and document discussions.”
Next, the company has plans to continue nation-wide growth from its current operations in Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Ohio. SonderMind plans to lean on Zenefits to ensure the company remains compliant with payroll, taxes and employment practices everywhere it hires distributed team members.
Tori also has specific experience goals in mind this year, including:
- Onboarding: not only for a seamless transaction but also to ensure a compelling, immersive experience to get team members productive as quickly as possible.
- Empowering managers: providing them with the technology and tools to ensure competitive total rewards packages, including compensation and promotions.
- Building remote rigor: given the company’s work in healthcare, the people ops team is working on secure remote practices and tools to ensure HIPAA compliance as well as practices to keep the overall team connected socially, emotionally and professionally.
“With Zenefits, we can effectively engage our employees even before they start. We’ve cut out unnecessary first-day paperwork, enabled managers to have greater ownership of employee information, and integrated several Zenefits calendars to track birthdays, new hires, and SonderVersaries to ensure all employee milestones are celebrated,” adds Tori.
“We recognize the role that a bad job experience can contribute to mental health challenges. So we want to lead by example, modeling great engagement practices and using our own tools to ensure more holistic wellbeing for our people.” In fact, this wellbeing business also taps the micro-step content ideas in Zenefits’ Wellbeing app to drive impactful self-care discussions with its teams.
Doing well by being well. Well done, SonderMind!