By Erin M. Faverty

The constant challenges employers face to obtain, retain and motivate talent have reached new heights in recent years, trends that are increasing right alongside the growing number of Millennials entering the workforce and actively climbing their respective professional ladders.

As employers make difficult choices about what benefits and programs to offer their workforces, many employees are making very personal decisions about their future plans — including whether and when to start a family.

Finding a balancing between supporting the diverse needs of existing talent and enticing new candidates in tight markets takes careful consideration and often creative solutions. As new benefits are continuously emerging, many offerings focused on supporting new parents and growing families are becoming common and even standard.

Fertility benefits are one such offering that is gaining traction across industries. As SHRM reported earlier this year there is “a clear trend in industries such as finance, consulting and technology toward offering fertility benefits and expanding existing coverage.”

Carrot has raised $3.6 million in seed money to bring fertility coverage to modern companies. With a unique program designed to support fertility care regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status, Carrot is helping employers bring options to employees in new and much needed ways.

PeopleTech Partners sat down with Tammy Sun, co-founder and CEO of Carrot, to learn her story and what makes her so passionate about fertility and Carrot’s mission.

What gave you the idea to start Carrot?

When I was working at Evernote, I froze my eggs. It tooks me 3 cycles and $35,000 to preserve 12 eggs that will give me more options in the future, if I need it.

It never dawned on me that this would be outside of my health coverage at work. Of course, reality hit me — and my savings account — hard.

The demographic trends and data tell us that the future can be different. Millennials and those just entering the workforce increasingly expect fertility as a standard part of benefits at work. When it comes to the future of work, fertility is equal to medical, dental, and vision coverage.

What types of fertility benefits does Carrot enable companies to offer?

Carrot offers deep customization so that any company can design the right plan for their stage of growth, team size, and business goals. Carrot’s magic is in its simplicity — for both HR leaders and employees. Carrot is flexible, inclusive, and global in reach. As your fertility partner, Carrot scales with you as you grow.

Who is eligible for these benefits?

Carrot is proud to offer the most inclusive fertility program in the world. We leave absolutely no one behind. Whether you’re an individual female looking to preserve future fertility options through egg freezing; a male-male couple looking to have a genetically related child through donor eggs and surrogacy; or a female-male couple seeking in vitro fertilization as a way to conceive — Carrot is your fertility home. We offer end-to-end, uninterrupted coverage and care — to everyone, regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Why is this so important?

It’s simple: employees want it. Millennials — and soon, Gen Z graduates who will enter the workforce — are redefining the future of work and the future of fertility and how they intersect. Millennials want choice, simplicity, and flexibility when it comes to so many aspects of work. Moreover, they want products that make them feel human, especially in healthcare. Carrot serves all of those needs.

What are some examples of companies leading the drive to make fertility benefits more accessible?

Gusto was the first company in the state of California to take the important step of eliminating barriers to fertility coverage for LGBTQ+ employees. It was a stunningly bold and important move from a company as fast-growing and high-profile as Gusto.

The ripple effect of their continued work is ongoing. Companies are operating in what The Wall Street Journal recently called “the tightest talent market in 20 years.” When they see Gusto taking this step, it forces everyone else to stop and consider it too.

As a female CEO, what advice do you have for other working women who want kids later in life?

I think women can be CEOs and have kids whenever they want. Or, they can be CEOs and not have kids at all. Or, they can have kids and focus on their role as primary care worker at home. My advice to women is: be ruthlessly yourself. I hope other women leaders will be lighthouses and guideposts but in the end, move confidently knowing that there is no formula for how to be the best version of you during your time on this planet.

Demand pay parity, comprehensive benefits that include fertility coverage, and call out injustices — large and small — wherever you see them. Not just for yourself, but for others, too. One of the most interesting findings from a 2018 nationwide Carrot survey is what I call the ‘halo effect.’ More than 50% of millennial males and females said they’d feel more loyal to their employer if they observed LGBTQ+ friends at work using Carrot — even if they themselves never used it.

The idea of the ‘modern mom’ seems to change constantly. We’ve recently seen a movement driven by the hashtag ‘#momstoo’, capturing examples of an anti-mom bias in the workplace that seems to be furthering the wage gap problem. What can companies and leaders do to fix this issue?

What’s next for you and Carrot?

I’m focused on continuing to build the world’s best team in order to deliver on our promise to customers: a simple, customizable, and flexible product that scales as your company grows. That’s our focus, and I invite anyone who wants to join forces — as a customer, provider partner, or team member — to reach out. We would love to hear from you.

Erin M. Faverty is Operating Partner for PeopleTech Partners.

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Hear more from Tammy Sun and top People Leaders and Innovators at an upcoming event series in the Bay Area! Join PeopleTech Partners community of leaders for an evening of networking and thought leadership focused on Next Generation Support for New Parents and Parental Inclusion in the Workforce in August. PTP will co-host two evenings: one at Reddit Headquarters in San Francisco on August 14th and one at Netflix Headquarters in Los Gatos on August 15th! Register today and join the conversation!

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