Key strategies and insights for building a world class company culture

Customer Stories Sep 18, 2020

Every company aspires to build an exceptional culture that drives performance - yet very few are able to achieve, let alone maintain an award winning culture. Definitive Healthcare’s (DHC) people-first approach has helped them earn recognition as one of the best places to work by several large publications over the last several years.

As a result of their unrelenting commitment and dedication, DHC recently achieved recognition among the top 5% of companies with high performing and effective cultures by Entromy. We virtually sat down with Tom Penque, Chief Talent Officer and Kurt Anderson, Director of Human Resources to understand the key strategies and core values that have enabled DHC to build and maintain a leading culture.

1) How does DHC’s leadership think about its priorities to build such a strong business? What key approaches do you use to fine tune and adapt as you've grown over the years?

We are driving and developing a world class talent management organization that is retaining the best folks. Creating an environment that is the best place to work is part of that. One of our milestones is to be able to grow the organization 20 percent each year, if not more.

We want to do right by our people and empower our employees. We delegate down, we listen, and while DHC is a fast moving organization, our leaders and managers are here to encourage people to grow in their careers. And, we're kind of humble. There are no big egos here, everyone is here to do a good job. People are the mandate more than anything else.

The work of creating a world class talent organization is a bit of rinse, wash and repeat.  The key is listening to our folks, acting on concerns and issues, engaging people in the business, and having people front and center in our decisions.  

2)  What is DHC’s ‘secret sauce’?

It’s DHC’s wonderful culture about people coming together, working together and collaborating.  With Covid-19, we were concerned about changing the dynamic by working remotely. We wanted to make sure that working remotely wasn’t going to upset the DHC ecosystem.

Our ‘secret sauce’ is always putting people first.  We believe that if we do right by our people, they will do right by the business. Our leadership has a track record of choosing people. When faced with the decision between making $x more per quarter at the expense of employees our leadership places goodwill towards their people first. And it breeds success. They've done it over and over.

3)  Definitive Healthcare has grown, to a degree, through acquisition, how do you assimilate new teams coming on board with DHC?

We’re generally acquiring smaller organizations. So, it's 10, 15 people at a time. Our mantra is if you do right by the people you do right by the business.  Some of our new hires say, we serve a delicious Kool-Aid here, and lots of it. We are proud to be a best place to work year after year through local surveys and even through our engagement surveys with Entromy. Acquisitions are notoriously hard culture wise. Our strategic decision makers deserve a lot of credit here - they don't just acquire any company. A core component in their vetting is not just the company's financials and products, it's also assessing fit of the company's culture and the people.

4)  How have things changed during Covid-19 and how has the leadership responded?

It's changed quickly. We went from zero to 60 in about three hours. We made the decision to go remote on a Thursday morning and by lunchtime, everyone was gone. Everyone packed up monitors and were able to transition about 450 people to work remote. Our leadership, notably our CEO, Jason Krantz, was overly committed to communicate during this time. He delivered a daily message to the team for over two months.

To expand on our return to the office, we have continued the communication on expectations and providing advance waring of changes or new considerations. Leadership drove how we responded to the difficulties of COVID, establishing an employee relief fund, creating matching programs for employee contributions towards COVID related causes, to shifting how we address employee recognition and reward when we were all distant. And now that we are phasing in going back to the to the office, personal safety is paramount.

5)  How do employees help shape the direction of the business?

Through everything we are doing with Entromy, we are gathering thoughts, guidance and feedback from the team on the future of the business. The CEO and leadership team is incredibly transparent and accessible and we reward innovation and new ideas. A great example is our community outreach program, Definitive Cares, which was started in 2015, came from a few employees who began volunteering with a local charity.  It is now a program where we have had 100 percent of the organization spend at least one day with one of our 41 different partner organizations. The driving factor is our employees.

It's completely consistent with our DNA, to give back and be part of a local community, impacting the world outside of our day to day. We also have employee resource groups and company clubs.  Our people are the ones who are stepping up to make these things happen. We also have focus groups between Jason, the CEO and the employees. He seeks their thoughts on improving the business, thoughts on earning more revenue. Some employee ideas that have materialized into improvements in the operations and products.

6)  How are you thinking about maintaining such a strong culture?

Much of it is the values of leaders and the values of the organization.  Leadership is a driving force in the organization, providing a level of integrity, honesty and transparency, providing balance between work and life, and having the humility to recognize that ideas can come from anywhere.

We also are investing heavily in our people and our managers.  Culture is top down and the further away one gets from the top, the more diluted culture can get, unless you reenergize the culture at a midway point with lower and middle management.  We are doubling down on training our managers, not just on how to be great people managers, but also how to embody the culture.

7)  How is Entromy helping you to build on your world class culture?

Entromy is providing a platform that enables everything we've talked about in terms of culture, understanding opinions and perspectives, beyond just the numbers.  We also get a sense of the broader corporate landscape that Entromy has with its other customers. And that provides perspective.  So when we get, say, a score of 57 we can understand if that’s good, bad or indifferent.

The process is largely listening and responding. And what I like about Entromy is that we're able to be both proactive and responsive.  We're proactively getting data and then responding to that data in an intelligent way. We recently did a pulse survey, which is proactive, and now because of that pulse, we're about to initiate some sub department surveys to respond.  Entromy provides us the tools to do both.  It’s a very powerful platform.

About Definitive Healthcare

Definitive Healthcare is the most comprehensive and accurate source for data insights and analytics on the healthcare provider market. Its product suite provides the most comprehensive and highest quality data available anywhere on 8,800 hospitals and IDNs; 135,000 physician groups; 1.7 million physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals; 11,000 ambulatory surgery centers; 15,800 imaging centers; 85,500 long-term care facilities; 40,000 clinics; 1,800 ACOs and HIEs; and 5.7 billion medical commercial claims covering 313 million patient lives. The company’s data provides its 2,500 clients with the analytics and insight needed to effectively segment and research the healthcare provider market. Definitive Healthcare is backed by 22C Capital, Advent International, and Spectrum Equity. For more information, or to trial the service, visit https://www.definitivehc.com/.

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