Executive Spotlight: David Simmons, Vice President, People and Culture

Posted by Navitus Health Solutions on 11/14/23 10:04 AM | 4 Minutes to Read

As Navitus Health Solutions celebrates its twenty-year legacy and looks ahead to the future, an area of focus is workplace culture. Our people are the foundation for the work we do each day to deliver toward our mission and goals. To this end, a strong commitment exists to ensure principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) guide culture-related initiatives and actions.

We sat down with David Simmons, Vice President of People and Culture, to discuss what makes Navitus such a special place to work and his vision for embedding DEI into our strategic and operational priorities. 

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Q: How would you describe the culture at Navitus?

A: From the beginning, Navitus enjoyed the benefit of attracting top regional talent, committed to the explicit purpose of helping human beings access affordable medication. We've maintained our commitment over the past 20 years, enlarging our capacity to help more people, employees, and customers. Through the years, I am happy to say we've built a solid organizational culture leveraging three core attributes - purpose, passion, and pride. 

First, our purpose is clear. It allows our workforce and the marketplace to be confident that we are committed to delivering on our mission. Mission alignment is one of the highest priorities, and it shows up in annual Employee Engagement scores. I'm proud to say our employees know that our organization exists to help human beings improve their quality of life, which galvanizes our culture. 

Second, our passion is strong. Our teams are resilient and ready to invest their discretionary effort to meet the needs of co-workers, clients, and members. Research shows that loyalty is a derivative outcome of a passionate workforce. Consequently, we historically see turnover rates at or below industry benchmarks. Passion gives meaning to daily work. That fuels collaboration and innovation which enables us to meet changing needs of employees and customers.    

Finally, our pride is well-earned. The past two decades are a testament to our organization's ability to find new and exciting ways to meet the complexities of the next level of service excellence. We are proud to serve 11 million member lives with the exact authenticity and respect for their human dignity as we did at our outset. This consistency entitles us to be a talent magnet, which adds capabilities as we embrace another period of growth. Every milestone reinforces our pride in delivering on our brand promise.

Q: How has the organization maintained and enhanced its culture over the last 20 years?

A: Historically, we celebrated subject matter expertise within our regional talent acquisition strategies. Today, while our talent profile still starts with individuals with pronounced technical skills and interest in service excellence, we are building upon that foundation with enterprise-wide core and leadership behavioral competencies for the future.

Our infusion of leadership competencies, such as Collaborating & Fostering Communication with Others, Agility, Leading Change, Inspiring Others, Exemplifying Integrity, and Fostering Learning and Development, will help set us apart. We believe in the insight of the People FirstTM axiom stated by its founder Jack Lannom, “Whatever you want your customers to experience, your employees must experience first.” Consequently, we added the focus of growing our internal culture to elevate our external service delivery culture.

Additionally, post-pandemic, we have begun recruiting beyond the Wisconsin region into 39 states for fully remote and hybrid roles. This provides a bevy of experienced, diverse talent to fill our leadership pipeline. 

Q: What makes Navitus a great place to work?

A: A key contributor to making Navitus a great workplace is our focus to ensure each employee feels a sense of belonging.  This is an outgrowth of designing employee experiences that make all feel included and respected. 

To that end, I’m proud to share that our most recent Employee Engagement survey boasted notable achievements in the following, related survey statements:  

•    My immediate manager cares about me as a person. (87%)
•    I feel accepted by my immediate coworkers. (86%)
•    The people I work with treat each other with respect. (85%)

Another critical attribute of our workplace is a commitment to setting employees up for career advancement. We concertedly provide career progression opportunities for those interested in focusing on high IQ and EQ development curricula.  Surrounding employees with a strong leadership team that is trustworthy and respected helps us lead by example, empower employees to reach their full potential, and contribute to Navitus’ success. We take pride in our senior leaders who exhibit collaborative behavior, share recognition, and inspire creativity and innovation. 

Q: Why did you first get involved in DEI work?

A: My DEI journey began with my career in hospitality. That is where I learned the core tenets of exceptional leadership, which leverage DEI principles. Great leaders look for diverse talent because it adds diversity of thought to their teams and organization. The research shows, and I witnessed it personally, that teams achieve greater creativity and innovation because they think differently. Diverse thinking is often a by-product of bringing diverse talent together to pursue a common goal. In my experience, great leaders get excited about providing equitable opportunity through stretch assignments for lateral growth and upskilling for vertical progression.  

DEI work is inherently organizational effectiveness and human resources work.  Great leaders strive for inclusivity because they acknowledge that each person has needs that deserve acknowledgment and strengths that should be shared within an employee-to-employer relationship.

It is in that that spirit that I joined Navitus to help build out organizational attributes that reflect a fully-integrated, DEI leadership-principled culture.

Q: What is your vision for the company over the next few years as it relates to growing culture and talent?

A: As we continue to grow and impact more customers, it is equally vital that we continue to enhance our people strategy.  
Over the next 3-5 years, we’re focusing on building upon our foundation of hiring bright and talented professionals who offer hard and soft skills. Like other progressive organizations, we want to leverage technical skills as threshold capabilities and add greater competency in the soft skills as multipliers. To that end, we will expand learning and development resources to facilitate skill-building at all levels.  Additionally, we will remain dedicated to employee success by linking behavioral competencies to performance. 
Enhancing our company culture and talent is critical to our growth strategy. Consequently, we are responding to the evolving needs of our multi-generational workforce as our demographics shift toward Generations X & Y. We understand that our younger workforce is looking for different touchpoints from their employer, and we are thinking about a culture of the future. That includes designing employee experiences that foster a human connection, such as empathy from leaders, not just professionalism.

Q: What final thoughts would you like to share?

A: It is a joy to join a growing organization committed to expanded impact in the pharmacy services industry. Throughout my career, I have had the good fortune to represent organizations with a profoundly vital mission to serve others; Navitus continues that legacy of service. 

Navitus has always been a regional talent magnet, but now we attract the best and brightest employees coast-to-coast. Any human resources or organizational development professional will attest that finding talent is only one part of the equation. Keeping and growing talent into increased individual and corporate capabilities is the ultimate goal.  I am very proud to work alongside dedicated people to that end.  

David Simmons_vF

David Simmons is the Vice President, People and Culture at Navitus Health Solutions. David develops and implements strategies to cultivate a diverse, equitable, capable and inclusive workforce that will achieve the organization’s strategic and operational priorities. He facilitates onboarding, change management, employee engagement, performance management, succession planning, and development programs and processes. David also serves as staff lead for the People and Culture Steering Committee and the People and Culture Leadership Council. To learn more about David, view his bio on Navitus.com here: https://www.navitus.com/about/who-we-are/david-simmons.

Topics: Employee Spotlight

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