At HealthJoy, Employees Don’t Fit Into The Culture — They Help Shape It

Three leaders share how the company “walks the walk” when it comes to culture by giving everyone the chance to connect and grow.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Jun. 22, 2023
At HealthJoy, Employees Don’t Fit Into The Culture — They Help Shape It
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When HealthJoy COO Brad Aaron isn’t overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations, you may find him sending marketing emails to clients or buying lunch for team members. 

That’s because the healthtech company doesn’t believe in hierarchy or ego. According to Implementation Lead Connor Shefte, it offers a space where “no task is too big or small” — a belief that is embraced by all team members, including executives. 

“Not only does hard work start at the top, but so does culture,” Shefte said. 

Yet that doesn’t mean culture is cultivated solely by the company’s leaders. Rather, it’s shaped by those who make the entire operation possible — its people. 

To establish a well-rounded culture, the company aims to bring in individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. “This offers an even better experience to bring your authentic self to do your best work,” Chief People Officer Michelle Byrd said. 

From the moment future team members begin the application process to the time they decide to move on to their next adventure, the company’s leaders strive to deliver the best employee experience possible. Byrd believes these efforts, which are fostered by strong, empathetic leaders and meaningful cultural initiatives, reflect how much the company cherishes its people. 

“We don’t take for granted that our people can work anywhere, and yet they continue to choose to be a part of HealthJoy,” she said. 



HealthJoy is on a mission to “remove the complexity from being healthy and well.” The company does this through its platform, which connects people with all of their employers’ health and wellness benefits in one place.


HealthJoy team members sit at a long conference table looking at camera and smiling


‘Walking the Walk’

HealthJoy’s leaders and employees alike are dedicated to “walking the walk” when it comes to embracing the culture. 

VP of People Operations Courtney Wilson’s favorite memory that reflects this commitment took place when CEO Justin Holland brought employees together during the pandemic to take part in mental health first aid training; a testament to his ongoing passion for mental health awareness. 

“It was a really powerful course that left a lasting impact on everyone who was a part of it,” Wilson said. 

While Holland’s virtual initiative had a significant influence on employees, the company acknowledges that in-person connections are critical to build a balanced culture. Byrd said her team has designed an intentional employee engagement calendar to maintain a steady cadence of various events, from in-person holiday parties to virtual yoga classes. 

Wilson added that team members have cultivated community amongst themselves through Slack channels and monthly meetups, which are dedicated to specific cohorts of people, such as working parents and women in business. 

“These groups were started by employees who understand the power of connecting with others and the good that can happen when you have a place to share those parts of yourself, laugh, brainstorm and simply feel understood,” Wilson said. 

“These groups were started by employees who understand the good that can happen when you have a place to share those parts of yourself, laugh, brainstorm and simply feel understood.” 


HealthJoy’s people-first mindset isn’t just reflected in how team members connect outside of working hours. Shefte said managers often encourage team members to take breaks throughout the day and block their calendars to minimize an overabundance of meetings. 

“Putting little measures in place really makes a difference,” he said.


HealthJoy’s culture is anchored in the company’s core values: “care,” “accountability,” “no ego,” “deliver joy” and “open in heart and mind.” 

“These values are at the forefront of how we design, deliver and measure the effectiveness of all of our people strategies and programs,” Byrd said. Not only do these principles bolster the company’s mission, but they empower employees to deliver their best work while supporting the success of others.



Group photo of HealthJoy team members out at a bar


Putting Words Into Action 

Wilson believes building a people-first culture requires more than saying the right thing or doing good work behind the scenes. 

“We’re working hard to make sure people understand how they’re rewarded for the work they do and how it fits into the bigger picture,” she said.  


“We’re working hard to make sure people understand how they’re rewarded for the work they do and how it fits into the bigger picture.”


This current focus on transparent communication goes hand in hand with a renewed approach to professional development. According to Byrd, the company is concentrated on maintaining fair and proactive growth opportunities through internal mobility programs. To drive this progress, the company redesigned its performance feedback and development program, which included the creation of functional career tracks to encourage exploration of new career paths. 

“This launch has been wildly successful and is urging us to think about new ways to add tremendous value in different roles across our company,” Byrd said. “It’s exciting to see our managers and team members really embracing these conversations.” 

When Wilson joined HealthJoy four years ago, she never expected the magnitude of positive experiences she would have. Not only has she grown significantly during her time at the company, but she’s felt supported as a human being, making her feel grateful to call herself a “HealthJoyer.” 

“We have an incredible team of people who I am proud to be surrounded by every day,” Wilson said. 



Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by HealthJoy.

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