In April, DaVita received three national health awards from Business Group on Health: Excellence in Health and Well-being, Excellence in Mental Health and Excellence in Health Equity. This marks DaVita’s fourth year of recognition and the first with top honors in all three categories.
The awards distinguish DaVita as a leading employer for advancing well-being through comprehensive, innovative benefits and initiatives. DaVita is one of 44 large employers to receive honors for excellence in at least one of the three categories.
Now in their 17th year, the awards were reimagined in 2022 by Business Group on Health to reflect a global perspective and to integrate and honor the importance of health equity and the employee experience. The criteria continue to focus on leadership and culture; holistic well-being approaches, including mental health, financial security, physical health, social connectedness and job satisfaction; and metrics and evaluation.
“I’m inspired by the dedication and commitment of so many of our teammates (employees) to live a healthier life,” DaVita’s chief people officer Kenny Gardner said. “Our teammates give life to kidney patients each day, and as a company, we are committed to providing benefits and well-being programs that support teammates to reach their full potential.”
Business Group on Health’s awards underscore how the kidney care provider prioritizes teammate health and well-being, including a focus on mental health.
Mallory Bergen, a benefits manager at DaVita, believes the wellness space has flourished at DaVita in recent years, and for considerable reason.
“We have a strong culture, and it’s intentional,” Bergen says. “We do things at DaVita because it’s the right thing to do for our teammates.”
As part of DaVita’s commitment to being an “Employer of Choice”, DaVita has identified and launched wellness programs that intentionally promote purpose and fulfillment, as well as physical and mental health.
Introduced in 2021, the new Clinical Ladders program provides the latest professional development opportunities for clinical teammates at DaVita. This addition to trainings and roadmaps provides patient care technicians and nurses with clear paths for how to grow their careers at DaVita.
In addition to its medical incentive program, called Vitality Points, that encourages regular health check-ins and preventive care; DaVita collaborated with Included Health, a concierge-style program to support the LGBTQ+ community and make finding quality, queer-focused health care simpler. It also offers teammates memberships to the mental health and mindfulness app Headspace at no cost, providing individuals access to guided meditations, breathing exercises and tips for better sleep.
DaVita also held its first Mental Wellness Week in May 2021, focused on opening up the conversation about mental health and encouraging teammates to support one another through anti-stigma campaigns. This year’s Mental Wellness Week will be held May 23 – 28.
The weeklong event in 2021 marked the launch of Project Reignite, an internal initiative that promotes individuals to think about — and act on — their wellness needs. Through Project Reignite, DaVita teammates receive self-care tips, and have access to resources like trainings and podcasts that highlight how to make wellness a priority.
Project Reignite also serves as a reminder for the Teammate Assistance Program (TAP) as an access point to counseling sessions for not only teammates, but all household members regardless of their medical insurance coverage. This includes an added investment from five to 10 free counseling sessions per year, as well as 10 weeks of text therapy.
“Even before the pandemic we were thinking about how we’re supporting the whole person,” says Colleen Grandis, director of benefits at DaVita. “The pandemic has helped amplify more of the collective partnership across the organization.”
Bergen echoes Grandis that DaVita’s aim to be an Employer of Choice has helped lead and shape its wellness programs:
“We’re taking a real hard look at what we’re offering teammates – how do we envision supporting our teammates versus how are we in reality supporting them, and are these programs truly impacting their lives?” Bergen asks.
The concept of showing care for and supporting the physical, emotional and mental health of teammates continues to be one of DaVita’s core pillars. Nihar Shah, group vice president of People Services at DaVita, is proud of the progress but also believes it is critical that DaVita continues to innovate and continuously improve.
“We have to be relentless,” Shah says. “Well-being is rarely a linear process – our teammates’ needs are changing as is the environment around us. We will continue to listen to our teammates, learn, innovate and evolve so we can support our teammates in the best possible way.”