at a glance
Launched in 2018, Maze is a continuous product discovery platform that empowers product teams to collect customer insights so they can make better product decisions.
Maze teamed up with Oyster because they needed a trusted EOR partner to hire and reward their global team. Thanks to Oyster, Maze has been able to successfully transition their global teammates from Deel in order to ensure a better employment experience and offer total rewards, including equity and healthcare options.
Being a remote-first company from day one has enabled Maze to hire the best global talent, and today the Maze team is proudly distributed across 29 countries. However, building a global team was complicated, involving a combination of their own entities, local payroll providers, and an EOR.
For Catherine Wilkinson, being the Total Rewards and Payroll Lead at Maze is a rewarding job because she gets to ensure that everyone has a positive experience and feels taken care of. For their global teammates, this means ensuring compliance with local laws, a good employee experience, and a total rewards package that includes benefits and equity. But Catherine didn’t feel confident in their previous EOR provider. There were issues with service quality and when she asked questions, she couldn’t get reliable information from their customer support.
“Prior to Oyster, we were using Deel as our employer of record service. But we were having issues with service quality and being able to get answers to our questions quickly, as well as getting quality answers. We often couldn’t necessarily trust the answers we were getting. Just working with some of those representatives, you could tell they weren’t trained and they didn't have the knowledge resources available to them.”
Given the importance of maintaining legal compliance in every jurisdiction and the depth of local knowledge it requires, not being able to get reliable answers was frustrating for Catherine’s team. What’s more, offering equity was also challenging with their previous EOR service. But granting equity to their team is something Maze cares about, and they wanted to be able to do it compliantly as well.
“Our old provider didn’t really do much with equity and it became a big hassle if somebody were to exercise their options because they weren’t really involved in the process.”
These were some of the challenges Maze needed to overcome in order to continue growing confidently as a globally distributed organization.
Even before they chose Oyster as their global employment partner in August 2022, Catherine was impressed by the Oyster team’s willingness to answer all of Maze’s questions and provide quality information about every scenario they could think of.
“The sales manager was amazing. Before we’d even signed any paperwork or made the decision to switch to Oyster, my team, myself, and other stakeholders on the People team came up with a list of at least 50 questions asking about different specific situations and how it would be handled at Oyster. Our sales manager took it and said, ‘This is the longest list I’ve ever gotten, but I’m going to get you the answers.’ They provided me with quality responses in a good turnaround time. It was definitely a good experience and one of the reasons why we chose to go with Oyster.”
Good information and fast service has continued to underpin Maze's experience with Oyster—in contrast to their previous EOR. For Catherine’s team, it’s been a huge relief to work with a trustworthy partner.
“When we switched to Oyster, a huge difference we noticed immediately is that every time we contacted our customer support manager or account manager, or just the regular customer support team, it was amazing. The quality of service, the speed of responses, as well as my ability to trust the response because it was backed up with data and information.”
When switching EOR providers, the ability to grant and manage equity wasn’t necessarily high on Maze’s priority list. But once they started learning about Oyster’s Total Rewards and compared it to other services they were considering, it ended up being “a really big plus,” says Catherine.
“The fact that Oyster has an equity management part of their platform was really exciting to me because it means that they understand that, especially in startups, equity is a huge piece of the total rewards package and EOR providers need to be able to service that.”
As for the Oyster platform, Catherine finds it intuitive and user-friendly. “It has a really nice user interface, so it’s easy to figure out what I need to do and where,” she explains. Even more important is the breadth of self-serve resources and tools she can consult anytime for specific information or guidance. These resources are particularly helpful given that Maze operates in dozens of countries.
“There’s a lot of really great resources available to me through the Oyster platform. Like the country hiring guides, which give me basic information about what’s required in those countries, or the equity tool, where it tells me which countries I should avoid giving equity to, and which countries are safe to give equity to. There’s the cost calculator that helps me decide, okay, if we were to hire someone in this country versus this country, how much more would that cost us?”
For Catherine, the greatest benefit of switching to Oyster has been the relief of knowing she’ll always get accurate and trustworthy information, and that her needs will be taken care of.
“The biggest impact since starting with Oyster is not feeling a sense of dread every time we need to ask a question. I feel confident in the responses I’m going to get. I’m not worried about when I’m going to get a response or a solution—I know they’re going to take care of me. That was one of the biggest things that we were experiencing at our previous EOR—that we couldn’t trust the service.”
Since Oyster provides reliable information and guidance on the intricacies of compliance, payroll, total rewards, and more, People leaders at Maze are able to confidently make decisions on their global people strategy, safe in the knowledge that they’re maintaining compliance across jurisdictions.
“When it comes to global employment, Oyster makes sure things are done compliantly. I’m not an expert on these countries, but I feel like I’m able to make good decisions and lead the company effectively in regards to payroll and total rewards. Having Oyster as our employer record helps me feel confident that we’re compliant in these countries, that our people are going to be paid on time, that they’re going to be happy.”
In terms of day-to-day operations and workflows, Catherine finds that managing their global team is easier thanks to the Oyster platform, which means they can save time and effort on admin tasks.
“It’s easier to figure out the finances, it’s easier to navigate the platform and look at PTO or expenses or whatever. Things are just easier. So there’s a lot less time commitment when it comes to managing team members on Oyster.”
As a globally distributed company, Maze cares deeply about building a strong culture. First impressions matter and how a new joiner is welcomed and integrated into the team is likely to have an outsized impact on their employee experience. That’s why Catherine appreciates the warm and welcoming onboarding experience that Oyster provides.
“During the onboarding process, our team members said that it really felt like they were being welcomed and that they enjoyed the experience. It was super easy. They had a point of contact, so it’s personable—it wasn’t some machine taking them through it. The whole experience overall has been really good.”
Equally important to Catherine is treating people fairly and equitably across geographies. Thanks to Oyster’s Total Rewards, Maze is now able to offer equivalent benefits to all their global teammates—the ones hired through their own entities as well as those hired through Oyster.
“When we switched to Oyster, we started offering benefits through the employer of record service, which we didn’t do when we were at Deel. That’s because the benefits that Oyster offers is on par with what we offer to team members where we have entities. It’s really important to make sure we have equity between our entity team members and our EOR team members, and Oyster’s benefits are really top-notch. I’ve heard really good feedback from people who’ve used it.”
Looking ahead, the Maze team is excited about continuing to build a globally diverse team and becoming the best global employer they can be—with a little help from Oyster.
“I’m excited about making sure we stay compliant in these countries and stay up-to-date on any changes in the laws. I’m really excited about the tools that Oyster is putting out to make different things available to us as customers. It opens up an opportunity for us to make sure we’re doing things right around the world and for our team members. And if we couldn’t trust Oyster, it would make it a lot harder for us to want to employ team members in some of these harder-to-employ countries, or even consider it.”
Having experienced the benefits of partnering with Oyster to employ and take care of a global team, Catherine is happy to recommend Oyster to other companies. She especially appreciates how Oyster is constantly working to improve the platform and service.
“I would recommend Oyster to anyone who asked me. They’ve made things really easy. Their support resources are really great and easy to use. Their support team is on top of it, always providing accurate and quick answers. The other thing I really like about Oyster is that they’ve continuously improved their platform. I can see the development even in just the past 8 or 10 months that we’ve been with them. They’ve put a lot of effort and work into their platform as well to make sure they’re providing legally compliant services, which is ultimately the most important thing.”
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