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Meet Lona Alia, Head of Revenue at SafetyWing:
Lona Alia, Head of Revenue at SafetyWing, is a passionate advocate for remote work and global teams. Originally from Albania, she moved to the US at 15 and later founded a Silicon Valley startup. When COVID hit, she joined SafetyWing, drawn to their mission. Embracing a nomadic lifestyle with her family, Lona has explored new places while building remote teams worldwide. With her expertise in employment compliance and contracting, she offers valuable insights into the evolving landscape of remote work and tech leadership.
Lona Alia, Head of Revenue at SafetyWing, Interview Highlights
How important is health insurance in the context of attracting and retaining talent, especially for international hires?
Lona Alia emphasizes the importance of health insurance as a baseline benefit when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. She mentions that in the competitive global talent market, even though it may be tighter, the best individuals always have options. By providing essential protections like health insurance, companies can demonstrate that they care for their employees’ well-being and offer them peace of mind. Lona states, “If you do not give them some of the base protections, it’s much easier for them to be swayed and go to another, whether it’s a competitor or another company.” She highlights the high cost of attrition for startups, with the need to replace around 30% of the workforce every three to four years. Therefore, offering comprehensive and useful benefits like health insurance is crucial to ensure employees feel taken care of and supported, leading to higher retention rates and cost savings for the company.
“You want to make sure that you have really cool, not only cool benefits, but really useful benefits that people feel taken care of and they don’t have to miss work. Or if something were to come up in their health and there’s an issue, they know that they will be taken care of and they don’t have to go into debt.”
Can you provide insights into your approach to hiring and building a diverse global team? Do you have specific criteria or strategies for hiring from different countries?
Lona Alia explains that SafetyWing is intentional and value-driven when it comes to hiring and building their global team. They set clear values, a mission, and a way of doing things at SafetyWing, which attracts individuals who align with their mission and values. As a result, they receive numerous job applications from people who have witnessed how their team is treated, the freedom and flexibility they enjoy, and the trust given to them. Lona emphasizes that they don’t have specific strategies or criteria based on location, competition, or employee type. They welcome applications from anywhere in the world, focusing more on cultural fit and alignment with their values rather than specific geographic criteria.
“We tend to attract people that first really align with our mission and values. Therefore, I believe it’s easier for us to be able to get the best talent because we don’t have to have certain strategies… We get a lot of people that apply for the jobs that we put out there because they have seen how our team gets treated, how they’re able to work from anywhere, the freedom and flexibility that we give them, the trust that is given to them.”
Are there any limitations or restrictions in terms of local employment law or regulations when hiring from different countries?
Lona Alia mentions that SafetyWing is generally open to hiring from any country without imposing limitations based on local employment law or regulations. However, she notes that they discourage individuals in Asian time zones from applying due to the challenges of scheduling meetings that fall outside of their regular working hours. Apart from this consideration, SafetyWing actively utilizes platforms like D.O., Oyster, Rippling, and Gusto to hire individuals from different countries. They believe in the freedom to hire talent from anywhere without unnecessary restrictions.
“We do use platforms to hire people in different countries… We do believe that you should be able to hire anyone, anywhere without having any restrictions.”