Bryan Brenner

Lessons from Entrepreneurial Leaders Featuring Phil Daniels

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Bryan Brenner

Phil Daniels is co-founder with Rod Reasen of the Healthiest Employers® (HE) awards program, started in Indianapolis in 2009. As the awards program scaled nationally to more than forty cities, the data gleaned from Healthiest Employers® applications revealed to Phil and Rod the need to empower employers to lower their healthcare costs by harnessing health data specific to their organization. The result was Springbuk®, a Health Intelligence Platform, which launched in 2015. Today, nearly 3,000 employers use Springbuk’s software to understand forecasted risks and opportunities, leading to actionable insights to improve their population’s health and cost of care.

BKB: You talk about your mission as “preventing disease with data.” How do you attract “right fit” people to your cause?

PD: In our daily work we’re quite literally preventing disease (through data) and tackling rising healthcare costs. Most everyone has a relatable story that has impacted friends or family, ranging from a frustrating or devastating experience to those with positive outcomes when a loved one was proactively diagnosed or treated. These human experiences and connections provide Springbuk the opportunity to align our team with a cause that is authentic.

BKB: What is important for candidates to understand?

PD: Our mission is the main thing. It’s at the heart of Springbuk®. It governs how we view the market and our product development efforts. Our R&D function is tirelessly pursuing innovation that align our platform with mission and vision. We want our candidates – both prospective team members and prospective customers – to know that our mission is real. We actively communicate that mission with all stakeholders. It’s not a tagline. “Preventing disease with data” is the driving tenet of our business.

BKB: Springbuk® is growing exponentially. You hired 72 people last year and expect to onboard another 50 this coming fiscal cycle. How do you contain chaos in the process?

PD: It’s a challenge, but we’ve learned some tips for onboarding people during times of massive growth.

Make “day one” exceptional. We go to great lengths to plan the first day, everything from having desk and technology preset, to an onboarding agenda, even favorite food items and swag. This communicates the importance we place on valuing our people.

Immediately schedule people for key meetings during the first few days.

Double down on internal training. We find Lessonly to be a great tool to provide a wide view of the business that is helpful to new employees.

Once a month we host our Breakfast Club; food provided to all, brief content in the form of each department reporting one win and one challenge to give everyone an overview of what’s happening, and the rest of the time aimed at conversation and relationship-building. 5. Using Slack, we match people up for a 30-minute coffee meeting to get to know others across the organization.

BKB: How do you communicate the importance of alignment?

PD: We’ve found the most important method is executive communication. We have a Friday CEO email to share learnings and happenings from the week just concluding, summarizing key wins and challenges. We talk often about core values, one of which is “win together.” This underscores the importance of working as a common unit.

Springbuk® and FirstPerson are partnering to bring Healthiest Employers® back to Indianapolis in October 2019. Read more here, and join me next time to meet Deborah Brunson, HR Director for Wheaton World Wide Moving.