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"Winning" with athenahealth Culture

by Jeremy Trelstad, Director of Recruiting

It’s been about two years since Charlie Sheen, clearly the anti-hero of HR departments everywhere, transformed the word “winning” into a mantra of success (and a bit of a joke, truth be told). But, I found myself thinking of Mr. Sheen’s unique sense of pride with a recent accolade we recently received here at athenahealth.

Last week, athenahealth was acknowledged by Workplace Dynamics, who named athenahealth as one of the 150 best places to work in the country! They selected more than 800 companies from their regional surveys (we participated in the Boston Globe’s) and re-ran the numbers. Turns out we’re listed at number 45. I saw that and thought: Winning! Take that Microsoft (number 46).

In those two years since “winning” became a catchphrase (catchword?), athenahealth has enjoyed quite a healthy amount of praise. Unlike Charlie, our winning ways are not the result of Adonis DNA, Tiger Blood or warlocks. We attribute our success to caring about what our clients do. Our mission matters: To be care givers’ most trusted service, helping them do well doing the right thing. So many of us athenistas are powerfully moved by the opportunity to change health care in this country. Just look at our co-founder Todd Park: His ambitions to help fix health care started here and that “eternal flame” still burns bright for many of us.

We also attribute our success to innovation and the way the athenahealth culture encourages it. Not just creative problem-solving, but a way of being. Here at athenahealth, we focus a lot of energy on providing our employees room to grow professionally through opportunities to learn and teach. Some of these situations are formal, others informal, and they add up over time.

Our work environment is not for everyone. And sure, we get it wrong from time to time. But what separates us from other organizations, and some on that new Top 150 list, is that we are willing to regularly look in the mirror and evaluate if we need to change—and we expect this from our employees, too. We feel this approach underscores the fact that we are all adults and capable of making tough decisions and managing difficult change. For me and many others, this is the reason we enjoy working at athenahealth. And it may just hint at why we’re regularly recognized as a superior place to be. When we hear it from our athenistas, that’s real winning.

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