For 25 years, Pushkin PR has been fortunate to work with exceptional clients who do incredible work. Today we take a look at Strive Health, the national leader in value-based kidney care. Strive aims to fix a broken kidney care delivery system by identifying patients earlier, prioritizing the right care at the right time, and driving better outcomes – all while lowering cost. In short, Strive’s goal is to rock the boat.
We asked our friends at Strive how the company managed to balance its rapid growth without losing the core values that resonate so strongly with its employees. How has Strive managed to maintain that balance in the midst of a global pandemic? Here’s what they told us.
How has your corporate culture changed after growing from a small startup to a 300+ employee success story?
Kearney Turner remembers the early days of Strive Health. He joined the company as the sixth employee in November 2018, one month after Strive was founded.
“In the beginning, people would ask me what the culture was like,” said Turner, now Strive’s Director of Market Development. “I always told people that we’re a start-up, but the thing that defined who we were collectively was a fierce, unwavering commitment to making Strive work in order to change lives.”
Today, that commitment hasn’t changed, but the company and culture has evolved as Strive has grown. In 2020, Strive grew its employee base by 600%. Now the Denver-based company employs more than 300 people — or “Strivers” — who align around a single mission: We are starting over because we must. We deliver compassionate kidney care the way it should be done.
How does Strive Health differentiate its brand from other kidney care companies?
Strivers have a passion and the tenacity to completely reinvent an industry that’s been largely stagnant for decades. The goal is to help patients preserve kidney function and delay the progression of kidney disease. Strive does that is several ways.
The company deploys compassionate care teams called Kidney HeroesTM that journey alongside patients and serve as an extension of Strive’s partner providers. The experience that their robust care team brings is unlike any other in the value-based kidney care space.
The company’s tech-enabled care solution, CareMultiplierTM, is designed for early kidney disease detection and total care for people with CKD and end stage kidney disease (ESKD) in a value-based setting. In other words, the focus is on quality, not quantity, of care services.
Strive’s tech platform aggregates and standardizes data from hundreds of sources, enabling a holistic patient view and world-class predictive analytics that are specific to each market and partner. By training their machine learning models on over 53 million patient records, they can deliver actionable insights like risk scores, end-stage predictions, and artificial intelligence algorithms that identify patients whose kidney disease is undiagnosed. This ensures that their care coordinators, physicians, and partners always have the latest insights for any given patient.
Recently, Strive Health partnered with 260 nephrology providers in five states to participate in Medicare’s newly launched Comprehensive Kidney Care Contracting (CKCC) model. The nephrologists representing approximately 8,200 patients assigned to the model and nearly $600 million in medical spend, which makes Strive the largest non-dialysis participant in the model.
How did you pivot from having everyone in the office to having everyone work remotely?
Strive, like many companies during the pandemic, turned to virtual connection points to bring together corporate and clinician Strivers, which has been a large success in a world where labor shortage is rampant and companies are desperate to keep their employees onboard.
When the world first shut down, Strive only had 48 Strivers and most were in Denver. The majority of their growth has been during the pandemic, which they attribute to the ability to hire outside of Denver and bring people in who were the best match for Strive. They learned to adapt to the new world of video conferencing platforms. They made sure each Striver was set up at home by providing an allowance to enable them to create their best at home working environment.
As the company continued to grow, they used technology to their advantage, from creating Slack channels to virtual All Striver meetings to fun virtual celebrations.
What are your plans to return to the office?
It turns out, working remotely has been a great fit for Strivers. There are no plans to bring Strivers back to the office full-time. The majority of the company’s employees were hired during the pandemic and work all over the country. Some are corporate Strivers and some are clinical Strivers who see patients. Although they are one team, different roles have different needs. As life gets back to normal, Strivers have the option to come in to the Denver office or work from satellite offices in other cities when they need to have an in-person meeting or a team building event. However, they are not mandating anyone be in an office full-time as hybrid working looks like it’s here to stay.
How does Strive use internal communications to keep a hybrid workforce engaged?
Strivers are invited to attend virtual all-Striver hangouts, book clubs, Employee Resource Group meet-ups and DEI fireside chats with Strive’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shika Pappoe. Strivers connect daily through robust Slack channels where they can keep up to date on projects, give public praise to one another through the channel #praise, tell funny stories or share photos of their pets. Some Strivers even use the Donut App to meet people they don’t normally work with for virtual coffee and doughnuts or peer learning.
On their first day, all new hires attend Striver 101, an introductory webinar on all things Strive. Strive CEO Chris Riopelle and Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Will Stokes attend every Striver 101 to share the story of the company’s history and to answer questions.
Monthly Striver Town Halls bring all Strivers together in one video meeting to hear company updates from the leadership team and to ask Riopelle, and other senior leaders, anything during the “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) section of the meeting.
Transparency is really what’s key here for leadership. Transparency in their communication. In how they align with their Strivers, and a united mission to change the way kidney care is delivered. The internal communication works because its driven by a commitment from the company’s leadership, and it has allowed Strive to not lose sight of its startup culture in spite of rapid growth and remote workforce.
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