January sale won't change company's commitment to being a great place to work, its founder says.
You don't have to tell Sara Santo she has it good at work. The executive chef at CoverMyMeds realizes that jobs like hers are a rarity.
She has an ample budget, freedom to decide her menu and a qualified staff to help her prepare tasty and healthy lunches that are served at no cost to employees. “This is a job that every chef dreams about,” she says.
Santo's praise of her employer is echoed by others throughout CoverMyMeds offices Downtown at 2 Miranova Place. Many also cite her efforts as one of the reasons they consider the health care IT company a Top Workplace.
For the second year in a row, CoverMyMeds has earned the No. 1 ranking for medium-sized companies in central Ohio. Founded in 2008, its technology facilitates electronic prior authorization for prescriptions and speeds the process for pharmacies to fill patients' orders. CoverMyMeds was purchased in January by San Francisco-based wholesale drug distributor McKesson for $1.1 billion.
The company has made its workplace culture a priority since its inception and remains committed to providing a quality work environment, says Matt Scantland, CEO of the Columbus-based company.
“To continue being successful and growing the company, we know we need to hire, retain and develop amazing people,” he says. “That means creating an environment where they can be themselves, embrace challenges and achieve amazing results. We put our employees at the center of everything we do because they're what makes us great.”
In a talk in March at a Columbus 2020 gathering, Scantland said the key to attracting good employees is to “be the best option.” And although CoverMyMeds offers free food and board games and other typical tech company perks, he defined “best option” as “more than pool tables and kegs.”
Employees are quick to praise the company for more than its perks as well. They say they enjoy an exciting and engaging workplace, but they also appreciate thoughtful leaders and great benefits.
The positive vibe of CoverMyMeds is apparent as soon as you walk in the door, Santo says. “Everyone is happy. Everyone is joking. It's very relaxed.”
But don't let the jovial mood fool you, Santo continues. Work—important work—gets done every day, she says. “Everyone here works very, very hard and they are very, very smart. The work they do is really important It helps people. When you help people, it makes you happy.”
“When people come to work every day they want to know they're contributing to a mission that matters,” Scantland says. “Our staff improve the lives of healthcare professionals and patients every day. Nearly all of them have a personal story about how PA impacted the life of someone they knew, or how they witnessed our service helping a provider, pharmacist or patient. They're passionate about our mission, and that is reflected in their work each day.”
Good will also stems from the sense of collaboration among employees, their bosses and top leaders, says Schlaine Hutchins, an information security specialist who joined the company about six months ago.
“The culture is more open,” she says. “Because the demographic of employees is younger, there is a lot of excitement and fresh ideas.”
The company encourages employees to make recommendations. Since it's a young company, no one is focused on how things were done in the past. If you have an idea to improve or change a process, everyone wants to hear it, Hutchins says.
“They're open to new things and new ideas,” she says. “If you have a viable new idea, the attitude is, let's see how far we can take it.”
That freedom to make suggestions extends beyond work processes, says Jay Bobo, a software developer and training manager for the company. Employees are encouraged to make suggestions about what role CoverMyMeds plays in the local community and how it gives back.
Bobo describes the company's philanthropic work as “extremely organic,” pointing out that projects and special events—two company priorities—change frequently as employees bring forward new ideas and interests.
“It morphs and shifts with the interests of its people and the leadership,” he says. “We are given the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, I think we could do this or that.' We're given the freedom and flexibility to grow and move the company in a different direction.”
Employees also are given the resources and the responsibility to get the job done, Bobo says. No one is looking over anyone's shoulder or monitoring their comings and goings. He says the expectation is that you understand what you need to do and get it done.
“We have trust and empathy for each other,” Bobo says. “We know we're in this together. Results matter to us. We trust you to handle the work in the way that works best for you and your team.”
Resources can include everything from specialized workspaces to fancy snacks. Lars Johansson spends his days trying to create the ideal space for every team. As facility manager, he also oversees renovations of another floor in the Miranova building and expansion of CoverMyMeds' Cleveland office.
Johansson helps team leaders tailor their spaces. Often that means replacing cubicles with collaborative spaces and creating quiet areas for people to work away from their desks. The idea is to make easy for people to do their work.
“We want people to be able show up and do what they need to do,” he says. “The culture of the company is to go above and beyond what anyone would expect.”
The company also devotes a lot of square footage to spaces designed for fun and relaxation. There's a nook for reading books and another for playing board games. The new floor has a coffee shop, which leaders hope will draw staffers from elsewhere in the company and make everyone feel connected.
The office also features a stage that's used for everything from live music to staff meetings. Employees can book the space for their own events, says Bobo, who routinely reserves the room for a nonprofit with which he is active. It's just another employee benefit, along with a 401(k) plan, the ability to work remotely and free parking.
CoverMyMeds also offers free health care, which is a marvel to Santo. “That's not a real-life thing unless you work for CoverMyMeds,” she says. “I know it's super sappy to say, but this place is magical.”
Melissa Kossler Dutton is a freelance writer.