Creating an Intentional, People-First Workplace

Angela Briggs-Paige, Chief People Officer

Our company’s mission to lead the effort to reimagine how healthcare is delivered guides every decision we make. As Chief People Officer at PopHealthCare, I have the great privilege of leading a team dedicated to reimagining how we empower and develop our colleagues as they embark on this ambitious goal. We believe that healthcare should be personal, and we are building a culture that recognizes the importance of taking care of our people so that they can take care of their families, our clients, and our patients. As we work to reimagine the way healthcare is delivered, we have also reimagined how to manage a distributed workforce.

Rather than letting the physical distance and remote working environment make colleagues feel isolated, we used our work from home mandate to allow us to connect more deeply. Rambunctious children doing online school, excitable pets, impromptu offices set up in closets or patios were not frowned upon. Instead, we chose to embrace these moments as part of our humanity and find the sympathy and empathy with one another. Weekly emails and company updates allowed us to reinforce this sense of culture and shared experience while also providing valuable health and safety resources. Leadership in our regional markets delivered masks, sourced PPE, and ensured our frontline workers felt supported.

Rather than letting the physical distance and remote working environment make colleagues feel isolated, we used our work from home mandate to allow us to connect more deeply.

The PopHealthCare medical leadership team not only provided clinical guidance from a management perspective, but they were also in the field with our teams. We harnessed the power of people who deliver care to care for our own. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Chris Dodd, has a background in public health and as a community health worker, and our Senior Medical Director, Dr. Karen Vloedman, is a practicing hospitalist who has been on the front lines of the pandemic. They, along with our dedicated care team members, utilized every resource available to build new care for our members, including using technology to connect vulnerable members in long-term care with loved ones who couldn’t visit; piloting telehealth and telephonic versions of our service to prevent gaps in care; and providing medically sound self-care advice for colleagues throughout the company. As Chief People Officer, I had a wealth of knowledge and information, and a leadership team willing to come along with me on this journey to unite and support our teams all across the country so that we are stronger together.

When racial tension exploded over the summer, leading to protests and cries for racial justice, we did not shy away from difficult conversations. Instead, we faced these challenges head on, focusing on listening and understanding, offering webinars through our parent company, Guidewell, and reaffirming our commitment to inclusivity, belonging, equity, and courage. This was more than lip service for a moment. We have also intentionally mandated unconscious bias training for all colleagues and continue to offer education and resources to our colleagues on racial justice. Most importantly, we continued our mission to provide quality care to the most vulnerable populations, even incorporating social determinants of health research to better understand and meet their unique needs.

It’s easy for corporate culture and the concern for colleagues to get lost during times of economic and social crisis. But at PopHealthCare, addressing social determinants of health and caring for the most vulnerable is the lifeblood of our company, and we would be remiss if we did not take care of our people the same way we take care of our patients. By putting people first, by creating a space for the less than ideal circumstances, the tragedy, the confusion, and the pain, we end up growing stronger together and being a source of healthcare that is both holistic, modern, and absolutely necessary in these troubled times.