How Strive Is Creating an Incredible Place to WorkAuthor : Nicole Leatherman
By Nicole Leatherman, Communications Manager
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, Strive’s Manager of Strategy and 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 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.
“We now have clinicians on our team,” Turner said. “We see patients every day in several states. We change lives. We’ve achieved a lot of the goals that we set out to accomplish in the early days.”
Strive aims to fix a broken kidney care delivery system that’s fragmented, continues to emphasize dialysis care and fails to mitigate unsustainable cost trends. To reverse this, Strive works with payors and providers to put chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients first, improve outcomes and lower cost of care. The company’s tech-enabled care solution 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.
“Just as our care solution is value-based, so is the culture that Strivers have created,” said Chris Riopelle, Strive’s Co-Founder and CEO. “Ultimately, we intend to make an indelible impact on our patients, partners and Strivers. Many companies hang core values on a wall and that’s where it ends. Strivers work hard to breathe life into our core values in so many ways — how they show up, who and how we hire and, most importantly, how we care for our patients.”
Care for Others First is among Strive’s five core values. The others are Innovation, Resilience, Tenacity and Fun. Recently, the company went a layer deeper to define five cultural pillars: Social Responsibility, Diversity of Thought, Wellbeing, Development and Connectivity. The pillars are intended to reinforce and further embed the core values into the Strive culture.
“We are intentional about putting programs into place that help Strivers get access to quality benefits to aid in their wellness, help their communities in a meaningful way and receive professional development that will lead to long-term fulfillment,” said Dave Thornton, Strive’s Chief People Officer. “We know we cannot be successful without diversity, equity and inclusion. DEI is a high priority for Strive. And although connectivity is important any time, it’s been a huge focus for us during the times of Covid.”
With a largely remote workforce, Strive, like many companies during the pandemic, turned to virtual connection points to bring together corporate and clinician Strivers. 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 Slack channels where they not only keep up to date on projects, but also give public praise to one another, tell funny stories or share photos of their pets. Some Strivers 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. Riopelle and Strive 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 anything during the “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) section of the meeting.
“Chris is unscripted, approachable and authentic and he will answer any question,” Thornton said. “He always gets a range of questions during AMA, everything from ‘What’s your favorite mountain biking trail?’ to ‘What are some of the biggest challenges Strive faces?’”
With regards to the latter, Thornton said some Strivers have noted in engagement surveys that ensuring clear project ownership is one opportunity for improvement.
“We have a lot of tenacious people working at Strive who are willing to pitch in and help with whatever is needed,” Thornton said. “As we continue to grow, we see clear areas where we can create more structure while also remaining nimble and innovative. There’s always room for improvement and we recognize that. We have big aspirations, and we appreciate that Strivers are both ambitious and patient. They understand that fixing a broken kidney care system and creating an incredible place to work take consistent efforts in order to see results.”
Recently, Strive announced a joint development agreement with the largest independent nephrology group in the nation, Nephrology Associates of Northern Illinois and Northern Indiana (NANI), to reinvent kidney care delivery. In July 2021, Strive’s CareMultiplier™ platform earned certified status for information security by HITRUST, demonstrating that the platform has met industry-defined requirements and is appropriately managing risk. During the same month, Riopelle was named an Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 Mountain Desert Region Award winner, an honor that he said acknowledges the work of the entire Strive team.
As Turner approaches his three-year anniversary with the company, he reflected on the efforts and milestones that got Strive to where it is today and what’s driving Strive toward the future.
“Every day we have stories and successes that reinforce the notion that our fierce commitment to changing lives, to building a business and to solving a massive problem has paid off,” Turner said. “And even though we’ve hit a lot of our goals, no one on the team is sitting back and calling it a day. We’re pushing ourselves relentlessly to keep finding opportunities to change more lives, improve our business and deliver even better kidney care.”
Interested in joining our team? Explore career opportunities at Strive.