How Brex Gives Employees a White Glove Leave Experience

play icon false

Sparrow x Brex

Before they began scaling, Brex partnered with Sparrow for full-service employee leave management.

Financial service and technology company Brex changes the way companies manage their money. Brex is the first fully unified global spend platform — with corporate cards, expense management, reimbursements, payables, and travel all in one place. Brex serves some of the most well-known tech companies including DoorDash, Coinbase, Indeed, SeatGeek, and more.

Brex makes it easy for finance teams and founders to manage every aspect of global spend at scale by empowering their employees anywhere to make better financial decisions. Brex proudly serves tens of thousands of businesses, from enterprises to startups.

A remote-first company, Brex has roughly 1,300 employees based in the United States, Canada, Israel, and Brazil. To support them, Brex uses Sparrow for end-to-end employee leave management.

Customized employee benefits

Brex knows their employees’ success is key to their company’s success. That’s why they focus not just on hiring excellent people, but on helping those people reach their potential in and out of work.

“We try to take really good care of our employees holistically,” said Pearl Lee, Head of People Operations at Brex. In addition to generous vacation time, parental leave, and comprehensive health insurance, the company also offers monthly work-from-home stipends and programs designed to foster employee growth and development.

Along with employee resource groups (ERGs) that cater to a variety of employees, Brex offers manager training resources, leadership training, mentoring programs, learning workshops, and more.

“We also create and roll out new programs customized to our employees’ needs,” Lee said. “We know we can’t offer everything, so we aim to offer the benefits and opportunities that will be most impactful for our diverse employee population.”

To do that, Brex’s People Operations team regularly reassesses their offerings and considers where employees are at in their lives. “We want employees to feel like the People team has their backs, especially in their personal lives,” said Ivy Luong, Benefits Specialist at Brex. “That way employees can be their true and authentic selves at work, and they don’t have to worry about anything going on in the background.”

"Sparrow is the only leave vendor on the market that actually completes paperwork for employers and employees, resulting in a better experience for HR and the employees on leave."

Pearl Lee Headshot Pearl Lee
Global Head of People Operations

Streamlined employee leave management

Brex came to Sparrow early in their growth trajectory, when they had only about 100 employees. “Our former Head of People Operations knew we needed somebody to manage leave correctly and efficiently as we began to scale,” Lee said. To streamline the leave process and set the company up for success, Brex’s People Operations team chose Sparrow.

“We’ve examined other leave vendors before, but Sparrow always stood out because of their white glove, high-touch service,” explained Lee. Sparrow’s service extends to every aspect of the leave process—from the backend administrative work and payroll processing to employee communications.

“Sparrow is the only leave vendor on the market that actually completes paperwork for employers and employees, resulting in a better experience for HR and the employees on leave,” Lee added. In addition to completing and submitting paperwork, Sparrow Leave Specialists navigate changing leave laws, ensure company compliance, and break up lengthy back-and-forth exchanges between employees and the People Operations team.

As a result, Brex’s People Operations team saves significant time and day-to-day stress. “At my previous company, we had a third-party vendor, but they weren’t providing the level of support or service we needed. So 75% of my job became managing leaves, while also trying to manage all our other benefit programs. It was a huge lift,” Luong explained. “Now, I find that I can be less involved in administering leaves at Brex because of Sparrow.”

Sparrow gives Brex the peace of mind to know that leave administration is covered. “It’s a great feeling to be able to add a leave to the dashboard, send an email to Sparrow, and trust Sparrow to take care of it and make sure everything is handled on both the employer and employee side,” added Luong.

“With Sparrow, I have confidence that everything should be correct from a payroll calculations standpoint, that communications are being sent out, and that I’m receiving updates along the way,” she said. “It’s incredibly important that our leaves are administered correctly by state, province, or country.”

That’s the reason Brex tasked Sparrow with managing employee leaves in Canada. “We have a really mighty but lean People Operations team, and we didn’t have the bandwidth to sort through all of the statutory rules and eligibility criteria for each province in Canada, so it was a no-brainer to ask Sparrow to take over those leaves,” Lee said.

People Operations isn’t the only department that benefits from Sparrow’s services—Brex’s Payroll team saves countless hours and headaches thanks to Sparrow’s help. “Our Payroll team loves using Sparrow. They often tell us how easy and clear the payroll spreadsheets are,” Lee said.

Specifically, Brex’s Payroll team loves the direct calculations Sparrow provides, as well as the way the payments are consolidated in the dashboard. “Our Payroll lead has told us that Sparrow is the only vendor she’s worked with who sends the payroll sheet broken down into exact payment categories,” added Lee.

As Brex continues growing and the number of employee leaves across the company increases, Sparrow’s services have become even more essential. “I pulled the numbers recently and we had a 79% increase in parental leaves alone from this timeframe last year,” Lee said. “It would be very challenging to manage that in-house with our small People team.”

Stress-free employee leave

Sparrow’s hands-on employee support is well aligned with Brex’s goal of giving employees a stress-free leave experience.

“When you’re on leave, for any reason, the last thing you’re thinking about is ‘How do I get paid? What forms do I need to complete? Who do I need to submit them to?’ The last thing you want to do when you have five minutes to spare is to wait on hold for hours or fill out a complex government form,” Lee said.

With Sparrow, Brex employees don’t have to. Instead of scrambling to understand their state laws and file the correct forms on time, Brex employees rely on Sparrow to guide them through the documentation and submission process step by step. “Sparrow’s white glove service is a huge differentiator from other vendors in the space, and also what makes it a no-brainer to work with them,” said Lee.

Brex employees also appreciate the way Sparrow calculates and presents their pay: Sparrow calculates the exact benefit amount, state benefit amount, and insurance benefit amount employees will receive so they know what to expect. “Sparrow gives our employees visibility into what they can expect for pay while on leave, and if they ever have any questions, their Sparrow rep is always happy to help,” Lee explained.

The minimal effort it takes to organize their leave means Brex employees can focus on their time off instead of stressing or following up with forms. “The white glove hands-on experience with our employees is just so critical,” added Lee. “Sparrow’s ability to have conversations with our employees makes a huge difference.”

"Our Payroll team loves using Sparrow. They often tell us how easy and clear the payroll spreadsheets are."

Pearl Lee Headshot Pearl Lee
Global Head of People Operations

Making employee benefits even better

Sparrow’s full-service leave management has had an incredible impact on Brex’s People Operations and Payroll teams, as well as their hundreds of employees taking leave. “The service on both the employee and employer side is where Sparrow takes it to the next level compared to other leave vendors,” Luong said.

With extra time and mental space, Brex’s People Operations team can dedicate more time to enhancing their benefits and finding ways to improve the employee experience. “This year, for the first time ever, we were able to launch a global, company-wide benefits and employee experience survey to ask our employees, ‘Where do you find value?’” Lee said.

“We asked employees if they felt our leave policies were sufficient and if they felt supported by our leave vendor during the process. And it was a very positive response, which was amazing,” she added.

Sparrow takes the stress and complication out of leave management, while giving employees a smoother, more enjoyable leave experience. Want to learn more? Check out our offerings or book a demo today.