Cultivating an empowering work culture: Insights from UnitedHealth Group team members
Our healthy work culture begins with great people
To pursue our mission to help people live healthier lives and help make the health system work better for everyone, it takes a diverse, dedicated team working in an environment that empowers each individual to be at their best. What does a work culture that lifts people up look like from the inside? We sat down with two of our team members, Jasmin and Ricky, to get their impressions and learn more about what it’s like to work in a uniquely supportive environment at Optum.
Senior Software Engineer
What does an inclusive culture mean to you?
It’s something I see every day here. Having an inclusive culture means that everyone — no matter their age group, nationality or experience — has their voice heard.
Have you experienced this yourself? How would you say your voice has been heard?
I think what helps are consistent listening sessions with leadership. And those sessions are meaningful — we all see that these conversations lead to action.
How do you think Optum does at supporting individuals?
I appreciate that Optum creates opportunities and systems that are flexible for any person. One of my favorite recent examples is the ability to change your name on our company system, so in team-facing applications, preferred names are given priority over legal names.
Why do you think it’s important to encourage diverse perspectives?
To make sure we’re covering as much ground as possible when making decisions. We have to ask questions like: Who are we affecting? How is our action affecting them? How can we do better by everyone who is involved in this decision?
What are your responsibilities at work?
My role involves providing clinical and strategic support. What I do enhances the performance of the health system to improve the overall health and well-being of the people we look after so they can get the care they need at an affordable price.
How would you describe an inclusive culture?
I think it’s having an environment where everyone feels welcome, like they can bring their true self to work. An inclusive culture is what allows us to learn and grow without having to worry about whether you will be accepted.
When you consider the workplace culture at Optum, what’s the first thing you think of?
One word that comes to mind is compassion. I experienced this recently when my dog passed away. I was encouraged to take as much time off as I needed, and everyone was very kind to offer their condolences. It was a difficult time for me, but I felt grateful to have not only a team that supports me, but a company that promotes this kind of behavior.
Tied to this is the importance of relationships. Even though my team is spread out across the world, it doesn’t feel like it. The emphasis on relationships is what allows us to work well and have good communication and cohesiveness.
How do you see Optum empowering diverse team members in their careers?
Optum supports individuals by promoting internal mobility. With so many growth opportunities within the company, it gives everyone the ability to advance their career in whichever direction they would like to go. When you have freedom like that, you’re never stuck in a specific bucket that you won’t be able to move away from in the future.
What about on an individual level? Do you feel like your voice is heard here?
My team is very open to suggestions, comments and any concerns we might have. So I feel like I can open myself up to asking questions or providing feedback at any time. Though I may not always be the expert in a subject, I don’t feel discouraged to speak up when I want clarification. And in the areas where people would consider me more of an expert, my opinion is actively sought out.
Do you experience a diversity of thought and perspective on a day-to-day basis?
In the closest teams I work with, we have team members in Puerto Rico, England, India, the Philippines and scattered throughout the U.S. Even though we’re geographically diverse, involving so many different time zones, our connections are strong and we make working together work.