US online grocery delivery firm Instacart added genetic testing to its benefits offering in October 2015 when it signed up to the Color Genomics Breast Cancer Pledge to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month. The organisation subsidises 50% of the cost of the test, which analyses 19 genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2, that are linked to increased breast and ovarian cancer risk. The programme, provided by Color, includes access to support from certified genetic counsellors.
While the scheme is available to all of Instacart’s 325 employees, its introduction was partially driven by a desire to provide a unique proposition for the organisation’s female staff, which make up around 47% of its workforce.
Mat Caldwell, head of talent at Instacart, says: “This is something that we felt was particularly good for our female employees, and which shows that they are extremely important to the organisation and to the community. On top of that, it is an expensive test normally, so we figured that this would be very valuable benefit for our employees.”
The programme was communicated to staff using online and offline communication channels, and Color visited Instacart’s head office in San Francisco to provide educational information about cancer risk and the benefits and limitations of genetic testing. Employees across the organisation’s 17 locations, including those based in its head office, also had access to information sessions offsite should they prefer.
While general information about what is available through the scheme is delivered to all staff, the testing and counselling process is conducted on an individual basis directly through Color to ensure complete confidentiality; no personal data is shared with the employer.
The feedback Instacart has received about the scheme has been positive, and the organisation will continue to offer the programme as part of its commitment to offer a best-in-class benefits programme that supports its employees’ health and enables them to enjoy their life and work. “We’re constantly looking at broadening our benefits plans for our employees,” says Caldwell.
“One of the things that we are very proud of is that we do take care of our employees, and that is something that has been part of the fabric of this organisation since it was founded.”
The firm’s comprehensive health and wellbeing offering includes healthcare, dental, vision, life and disability cover. Instacart also provides healthy snacks and meals for staff, supports employee intramural groups and their involvement in sports leagues such as football and ping pong, as well as operating an unlimited paid time-off policy to give staff flexibility and the time to recharge when they need it.