Building Culture, One Shout-Out at a Time

Every Thursday afternoon at 4 pm, andros has a full-company all-hands meeting we call “Rounds.” Rounds typically starts with an awesome music video followed by a series of up-
dates about the company – information from board meetings, new sales or partnerships, product updates, new hires, promotions, and so forth.

Our CEO Mike Simmons along with the leadership team, conduct an AMA – Reddit-speak for “Ask Me Anything.” Questions can be submitted beforehand confidentially or asked in
the open forum of the meeting itself, which is typically attended by 100 or more members of the team. No topic is off-limits. Some weeks there are no questions, some weeks there
are several, but every week there’s an opportunity to ask leadership any question any team member would like to ask. It’s an act of radical transparency and a commitment to share everything that’s allowable with anyone at andros who is curious.

The meeting helps to keep the team informed of everything happening at andros, but it also serves the key function of reinforcing the collective spirit, and more importantly, shared values at andros. Most companies have values written up in their handbook. andros does. But Rounds is one example of how andros goes beyond the all-too-common phenomenon of talking about company culture into taking action to promote, recognize, and embody those values. But what are corporate values and how do they come into
play? How are they demonstrated?

Pretty much every company understands what it does. It’s fundamental. (If your company doesn’t, run away. Fast.) andros helps organizations build, run, and optimize their provider
networks, including credentialing. Most companies go beyond understanding what they
do to understanding why they do it. You’ll see organizations’ why in their mission and vision statements. Again, andros has a clearly defined why: we’re transforming healthcare administration to make sure that our healthcare system is efficient, effective, and equitable. It’s a big goal, a vision that inspires every one of us.

But organizational values and the operating culture that arise from them are the how. Values connect the what we do to the why we do it. If you want to transmit passion and
create a thriving culture, your organization needs to articulate its values, share them with all team members, and then actually go about living them, not just talking about them.

At andros, we explain our core values in the employee handbook, on our intranet and website. They’re short, simple, and easy to understand – key for both widespread adoption
by team members and for translating them into action. Our values include ones that are work-focused, culture-focused, and some that straddle the line between the two:

Take Ownership

Operate with Integrity and Courage

Prioritize Communication and Humility

Embrace Innovation and Generate Impact

Work with Passion and Selflessness

Embrace Diversity and Promote Inclusion

Organizations that get this far in defining their values are well on their way to creating a thriving culture. Many people will see these messages and values and be inspired to put them into action. But it helps to take another step and really dig into what these values look like. What are concrete actions team members can take? How can they personify the values in their daily roles? andros takes the time to spell it out.

On the andros intranet, each of these values gets further broken down into action-oriented descriptions. Let’s examine one of the more cultural ones as an example: Prioritize Communication and Humility. Under it, there are several examples:

You keep your ego in check, are curious, and listen so others know you hear them.

You seek different perspectives with humility, even if it makes you feel vulnerable.

You give direct feedback with empathy and praise when others do well and receive feedback with a growth mindset.

You are concise, articulate and timely in all communications.

See how clear that is? See how you’re giving your team the opportunity to put those values into action when you spell them out clearly?

The final step in creating a self-perpetuating culture is to create rituals that commemorate the values and promote them. This has been true since ancient times and no doubt into pre-history before that; you don’t have to be an anthropologist to see the unifying principle behind cultural ceremonies from religious rituals to weddings to funerals to voting, criminal or civil trials, and so on.

And that’s where we go back to the andros ritual of rounds. To wrap up the meeting on a high note, andros opens up the floor to anyone who wants to “shout out” any team member, ideally linking it to one of the andros company values. Shout-outs are ways to offer gratitude, recognize high performance, or call attention to an exceptional achievement. The shout-outs are usually, if not always, tied to one or more of those cultural values.

Sometimes there is a moment of silence before the first shout-out happens, but then it begins. Team members offer up Zoom-claps, +1s, and positive acknowledgment in the
chat room accompanying the meeting. Then more and more people step up and give their shout-outs. The organizations’ values are recognized, rewarded, and reinforced. And
a culture is built.

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