When Boxed co-founder and CEO Chieh Huang first pitched his unconventional and highly generous benefits plan to investors a few years ago, some said, "What the hell are you doing?" His company, which takes on the likes of Costco to offer low-cost online bulk purchases with two-day delivery and no membership fees, employs not just engineers fine-tuning a profitable formula, but warehouse workers packing the shipments. And he wanted all of them to have the same awesome perks, like unlimited parental leave and free weddings and tuition, reports Bloomberg. As Huang puts it, why should the "people who move atoms" be treated worse than those who "move bits and bytes"?
Huang, who is 35, grew up watching his parents, both immigrants from China, work tirelessly at menial jobs that paid poorly and offered no perks. And while it remains to be seen whether his generous benefits package will pay off, he says he's invested in a positive company culture that keeps employees happy and keeps the turnover rate down. He even spends considerable time at his four fulfillment centers, helping clean up and saying thank you to some of the several hundred people he employs. If the typically younger, higher-skilled staff who work at Boxed's headquarters in Manhattan complain about the lack of certain perks (for example, Huang eschews the ping pong tables of Silicon Valley), he reminds them that "the best thing that can happen for us in the long term is for Boxed to be a success." (Read more startup stories.)