‘We Come As We Are’ — How Simple Truths Drive SimplePractice’s People-First Culture

Inspired by its core values, mission and customers, the healthtech company fosters a culture that empowers employees to support each other as both people and professionals.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Aug. 11, 2023
‘We Come As We Are’ — How Simple Truths Drive SimplePractice’s People-First Culture
SimplePractice
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When Compliance Analyst Tiffany Baker was applying for her position at SimplePractice, one of the biggest things that stood out to her about the company occurred not during the job interview, but right after it. 

She received a copy of the healthtech company’s culture deck, which summarized the most important aspects of the culture and the values that uphold it. From this deck, Baker knew that SimplePractice cared about job applicants — and current team members — as people, not just as professionals. 

Once she joined the company, she discovered that strong culture doesn’t come down to one single element, but many mixed together. So when the organization decided to revamp its guiding values, individuals from all different years of experience and backgrounds came together to create it themselves, reflecting the intentionality that has been there from the beginning. 

“If that doesn’t scream ‘deliberate,’ I don’t know what does,” Baker said. 

The end result was a set of newly reimagined values that accurately reflects the company’s identity and aspirations for its workplace. According to Senior Lifecycle Marketing Manager Olivia Palmer, the organization’s five cultural pillars are: ‘We Come As We Are,’ ‘We Think Big,’ ‘We Act With Humility,’ ‘We Take Simplicity Seriously’ and ‘We Are Built On Trust.’ 

Palmer noted that these principles foster alignment among team members. “Having a clear understanding of what we’re striving for as a team makes it easy for us to hold each other accountable, speak the same language and ensure we’re all rowing in the same direction,” she said. 

With employees speaking the same language in a cultural sense, it’s easy for them to have candid conversations that benefit the company as a whole. Customer Onboarding Lead Mike Schafer has seen the impact of this firsthand during his time at the company. Not only has open communication enabled him to have more difficult conversations, but it has allowed others on his team to share their voices. 

“The most critical thing for my team is to always look for something we can make better by creating a space where team members feel confident in speaking up with their ideas,” Schafer said. 

SimplePractice is both people-focused and mission-driven, guided by its people, who Baker believes share a mutual passion for carrying out the company’s purpose. 

“People are at the root of our mission, which is: ‘To improve access to quality care by equipping health and wellness practitioners with the tools they need to thrive,’” she said. “Any time we move forward with a new product feature, renew a cybersecurity certification, respond to a customer support request or do any seemingly small task in the context of our respective groups, we’re doing so with hopes of continuing to enable practitioners to give the best care and experience possible to their clients and patients.”

 

TRAITS THAT DEFINE TOP TALENT

SimplePractice’s culture wouldn’t be what it is without the people who work there, which is why it’s important to prioritize job applicants who would be good cultural additions. To identify people with a collaborative, determined personality, Baker asks applicants various questions, such as, “Would you rather work alone or with a team?” and “What motivates you or gets you excited about the work that you do?” Palmer added that she’ll often ask candidates about a time when they made a mistake and found a solution, honoring one of the company’s core values, ‘We Are Built On Trust.’

 

SimplePractice team members sit for a photo together.
SimplePractice

 

 

Putting Values Into Action

Serving healthcare providers primarily in the mental health space, SimplePractice must operate as a people-first organization from both an external and an internal perspective. 

“Ensuring we operate in ways that align with our end-user goals allows us to not only thrive as a business, but also as a group of people,” Palmer said. 

Palmer’s team accomplishes this by ensuring the company’s customers are “in the room” with them as they do their work. She noted that the organization’s creative team has conducted countless interviews with customers to understand their individual careers, goals, struggles and wins. 

“This reminds each of us why we’re doing this work and why it’s so important to remember the larger purpose — the people behind the work that we do day in and day out,” Palmer said. 

 

“[Interviewing customers] reminds each of us why we’re doing this work and why it’s so important to remember the larger purpose —the people behind the work we do.”

 

While team members operate with a customer-first mindset, that doesn’t mean their own well-being gets pushed aside. This is something Palmer knows well, having received immense support from her manager earlier this year. 

When Palmer was going through a personal struggle, her manager took notice and set aside time to chat with her about what was going on. They decided to redistribute some of her work and allowed her to take a couple of days off to recharge. In Palmer’s mind, this experience exemplified the company’s core values. 

“My manager saw that I was struggling but trusted my intentions and gave me the benefit of the doubt, which created the opportunity for me to share what was going on while responding with empathy, understanding and compassion,” she said. 

Leaders at SimplePractice, including the senior director on Baker’s team, truly “walk the walk” when it comes to embracing the company’s mission and values. In fact, Baker believes putting words into action doesn’t just define her senior director’s working style — it’s “ingrained into his DNA.” 

Baker explained that this leader demonstrates his  commitment in every way possible, from offering additional support and asking for feedback to showing vulnerability and encouraging team members to own their work. 

“He has fostered a work environment that has high standards yet isn’t rigid or inflexible,” she said. “It’s empowering, psychologically safe and just genuinely a good time.”

 

THE PERKS OF BEING PEOPLE-FIRST

Shafer understands the benefits of operating with a people-first approach. Due to his team’s unrelenting dedication to their customers, more than 75 percent of prospective customers who connect with them during their trial period decide to continue working with SimplePractice. Shafer attributes this to the way in which his team members highlight their platform and help customers determine if it’s the right fit for their business. 

But this success hasn’t made his team complacent. “We always want to improve and make the time to seriously consider every team member's suggestion on what we can do better,” Shafer said.

 

‘Fulfilled, Empowered and Happy People’

Supporting businesses can be challenging, especially when personal and professional responsibilities collide. To ensure team members have fun as they pursue different tasks and projects, SimplePractice promotes a workplace that prioritizes connection. 

Palmer noted that her team builds camaraderie by starting each weekly meeting with icebreaker questions, such as, “What is your favorite summertime activity?” and “What are your three most frequently used emojis?” Each team member then shares kudos for their colleagues, celebrating their achievements from the previous week. 

“Starting our meetings off like this reminds us all that while we may be working thousands of miles away from each other, we aren’t alone,” Palmer said. “We’re part of a team in which we appreciate one another as both coworkers and people.”

 

“We’re part of a team in which we appreciate one another as both coworkers and people.”

 

These small moments of connection are critical in a virtual environment, enabling team members to temporarily step away from the daily grind. That’s why Baker’s team schedules happy hours to share jokes and take part in fun activities. 

“I appreciate how, by scheduling this time during working hours, our leaders have shown that we prioritize people-to-people connection,” she said. “It has definitely helped build trust, strengthen relationships and maintain our high morale overall.”

For Baker, SimplePractice’s culture is rooted in a universal understanding that real people are the driving force behind the company’s success. With support from leaders and an overall focus on community, the company enables its people to be who they are — and make an impact. 

“Collectively, we recognize that fulfilled, empowered and happy people will show up and do their best work,” Baker said. “That has been reflected in the efforts we’ve made to ensure we’re creating a culture where team members can show up with a sense of safety, belonging and purpose to do just that.”

 

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

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