Meet an Abarcan: Mercibel Gonzalez, Chief People Officer

Oct 31, 2023

Moving forward, together.

At Abarca, we consider our people to be our greatest asset. We spoke to Mercibel Gonzalez, our Chief People Officer, about our approach to culture, feedback, and fostering a team that’s dedicated to delivering seamless and personalized healthcare.

How are Abarcans making healthcare more seamless and personalized for everyone?
As an organization, we believe that a seamless and personalized healthcare experience begins with one Abarcan at a time. So, we ensure that every member of our team has access to the support and resources that they need to thrive–both personally and professionally.

While some healthcare organizations may consider this going above and beyond, we believe it’s the only way to operate. This mentality has become a critical part of our culture, and it radiates through everything we do and helps attract the team members, clients, and partners we love working with. For example, we recently interviewed a prospective Abarcan who applied because his wife–a member we serve–was able to access important medication through our programs.

No matter how small the action may seem–be it tailoring UI/UX to make our platform more user-friendly or a personal phone call to a pharmacy to ensure a patient has access to his or her medication–every personalized touchpoint contributes to creating a better healthcare experience.

Abarca is known for its powerfully positive corporate culture and distinct core values. As the company grows, how are you maintaining these aspects of Abarca’s DNA and introducing it to new team members?
Honestly, we don’t think about corporate culture in a static way. In order for us to ensure that we’re always the best version of ourselves, our culture needs to be able to evolve.

Over the last few years, our team has matured quickly and intentionally. We’re now more than 650 Abarcans, 35%+ of whom work fully remotely. We’ve had to find new ways to connect, build relationships, and ensure all Abarcans live and experience our culture and values.

As we continue that steady growth, we want to make sure that we’re always looking at our organization holistically. How do we create space for people to share their feedback and experiences? What are some ways we can continuously improve our execution? What changes need to be made to empower our team members to continue to grow and evolve?

What role does feedback play at Abarca?
Feedback is an essential part of growth.

We solicit insights from every stakeholder we can–providers, clients, employees, etc.–to ensure that the services we’re providing are actually generating benefits for our end users.

If they aren’t, we tap into our Humble Competence to make the necessary adjustments. And, if they are, we keep looking for ways to make them even better.

For example, based on employee feedback, we’re currently rethinking how we manage our onboarding process from their first day through the first couple of months. In particular, we’re focused on ensuring that the Abarcan experience begins as soon as someone looks at our website or job postings on LinkedIn, as well as providing more mentorship and support along every employee’s journey.

What qualities do you look for in prospective Abarcans?
For us, curiosity is one of the most important traits because it manifests itself in key ways–like problem-solving, resourcefulness, willingness to go Off-Road, and passion for finding a better way.

We are also looking for teammates who put people first, which enables them to be more self-aware and supportive of colleagues, partners, clients, and members.

And, of course, we want to hire professionals who are All In, with Fire in the Belly, and a continuous improvement mindset.

Going into 2024, what are the top priorities for the Talent Strategy team?
Training and development are big areas of focus for our team next year.

In particular, we’re looking for opportunities to foster growth for managers. And we want to be sure we’re providing resources tailored not only to their job titles but the journey they took to get there. For example, someone who was promoted but has never managed a team would have different knowledge gaps than a new hire who is unfamiliar with how Abarca operates.

We’re also always looking for ways to improve the overall employee experience. For example, once we’ve gotten feedback, can we better engage teams in developing solutions to the opportunities they raised? Do we have the best possible career development resources in place? Is there anything that is getting lost for hybrid or remote workers?

So, to sum it up, next year we are continuing our pursuit of finding a better way.