Company Culture

One Medical Group's Christine Morehead: Mission-Driven DNA

George Dickson
August 24, 2015
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Christine Morehead

Christine Morehead is the Vice President of Human Resources at One Medical Group and has been instrumental in developing the department from the ground-up, selecting a talented team of HR and recruitment professionals. She has experience with rapid-growth companies and brings innovative HR solutions to meet the needs of quickly growing organizations. Prior to One Medical, Christine served as a founding member of the Virgin America team that brought the company from incubation to an award-winning airline.

An interview on mission-driven teams

We sat down with Christine to learn about One Medical's mission-driven culture and how that impacts employee engagement.

Bonusly: In a business sector normally plagued by employee burnout and high turnover rates, One Medical Group has built a strong, dedicated team. What are some of the keys to that success?

Christine Morehead: At One Medical, all our team members share a vision for offering affordable, accessible high-quality health care. We have a uniquely mission-driven culture, and we select the right individuals who truly believe in that mission. From our administrative professionals to our health care providers, our employees have the time and tools they need to make the right decisions.

Our team members truly believe in what they are doing and that connection to the higher mission is what drives us to provide the best care possible for our patients. Everyone works in teams, so they feel supported and can focus on caring for our members. Moreover, we offer continual opportunities for our team members to engage with each other and with the leadership.

It’s this balance of autonomy and support that makes for a strong, effective team.

Bonusly: One Medical Group is disrupting the healthcare industry with its people-centric approach to medicine. How has that approach translated into people operations?

Christine Morehead: A major strand in our DNA is being “human-centered.” This is the driving force behind our business, and we carry it into all of our people operations. Whenever we’re considering a new program, we consider how it will affect our team members.

We take care of the needs of our teams so that they can take great care of the needs of our patients. It has to start there.

Our employees have to feel like they’re well-cared for, so they can then focus their energies on caring for others.

Bonusly: Sense of purpose plays a crucial role in motivation. How does purposeful work motivate employees at One Medical Group?

Christine Morehead: At One Medical, we’re so fortunate to have a strong mission, and it is important that we find people who are aligned with that mission. We then take the time to celebrate and nurture the great work that is being done here every day. One way we do this is through storytelling—highlighting the work others have done and how it supports our goals. We talk a lot about what we do, and we provide people with the opportunity to reflect on how what their roles impact the mission.

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Bonusly: One Medical Group has experienced sustained, rapid growth, which can often strain company culture. What are some of the biggest challenges that growth posed, and how did you solve them?

Christine Morehead: Culture will always change and evolve, especially at organizations experiencing rapid growth.

Either it will happen organically or thoughtfully. We want to be mindful of our growth and how we can maintain a healthy, engaged culture. Thus, we want to influence it thoughtfully.

At a recent all-company meeting, we chose to use the power of storytelling to share our DNA instead of just presenting a PowerPoint deck of company values. We had some of our most tenured team members speak about times they felt we best demonstrated our DNA. By sharing those stories, we demonstrated our culture for our newest teammates, so they could better understand it. This is how we ensure that our strong culture lives on and evolves during our rapid growth.


Bonusly: One Medical Group has employees all across the country. What are some ways the team stays connected and cohesive?

Christine Morehead: We offer frequent opportunities for team members to engage, and we find it often happens organically through internal social media and spontaneous gatherings. We also have quarterly all-company town halls where employees can hear from leadership and peers and learn about what other team members are doing across the business—and across the country. In addition to our town hall meetings, we also host events quarterly where the teams can interact, share ideas, and build relationships with one another.

At One Medical, we have a strong preference for employees to hear from our leadership versus an intranet or company newsletter. Our leaders understand it is an integral part of their job to communicate often to their teams, so that everyone stays connected.

Bonusly: What is your favorite thing about working with the team at One Medical Group?

Christine Morehead: This is the most highly-engaged team and passionate group of people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Because people here feel so passionate about what they’re doing, it makes coming to work so exciting. Everyone is going at top speed and doing great work. It motivates you to put forth your best effort because you don’t want to let your team down. I am so proud of the work that is being done here.

Bonusly: If you could give one piece of advice to a leader working to build an extraordinary, people-centric work culture in a fast-paced environment, what would it be?

Christine Morehead: Don’t get so busy that you lose sight of the personal connection with people.

Find the time and resources to make those connections happen. When businesses grow at a rapid pace, it’s easy to forget to take the time to nurture the people that make the business run. Make time to reflect on the mission of the business and celebrate success.

Want more great insights? Read 13 interviews with industry experts, HR Leaders, and CEOs, that touch on crucial company culture topics.

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