Three questions with…
Chief People Officer
uMotif’s Chief People Officer, Rich Mortimer discusses what drives his approach towards managing people, particularly around employee well-being and mental health. Rich also provides insights into how he ensures uMotif’s patient-first mindset is fostered across the organization.
What are your guiding principles as a Chief People Officer?
I understand the pressures people face because I used to be there, as a consumer of HR. This vantage point drives how I approach the job for both people and the organization.
People thrive when they know their manager really cares about them. We’re very much focused on the individuals and the managers we support, rather than ticking off boxes for what we’ve done. Helping managers understand the career aspirations of their team members is so fundamental to ensuring people are happy and stay engaged.
For example, uMotif doesn’t have traditional performance reviews. We have career conversations, and we make the conversation suit the individual, who is the most important person in the process. That’s very different from the traditional view which focuses on what HR needs, what finance needs, what you need to do to get a pay increase, what boxes you need to check to impress your boss to get a promotion. We work with each individual to set aspirational objectives and goals, discuss where they want their career to go, and how we can help.
Every person who interviews with uMotif gets a briefing document that tells them about our company, our market and how we’re different. The briefing identifies four qualities that are vital for success at uMotif: self-awareness, versatility, focus on incremental improvement, and the desire to really support a commercial organization regardless of one’s job function. It’s a good way for the person who’s interviewing with us to understand our philosophy – and it helps both parties decide if it’s a good fit.
uMotif’s ethos is based on a patient first mindset. How do you foster that feeling?
I think you’ll find that most individuals who work in life sciences and healthcare generally feel a deep connection to the impact their work has on humanity. uMotif employees are no different in that sense. Our team comes to work each day with a feeling that we are making an important contribution. However, one of the ways we consistently foster a patient first mindset is continually referring to Cathy’s story, or Mick’s story. The point being that our focus is on the human behind the software – and being mindful that a real person with thoughts, feelings and often big health challenges will ultimately be using our software.
There’s been more of a focus on mental health in the workplace since the pandemic. What’s your advice for companies to ensure a healthy work environment?
Companies, in general, need to demonstrate more support for people throughout life and its challenges. We all have unique life circumstances, and when someone is going through a difficult time, we want to help.
uMotif has dedicated resources to bring employees’ mental health and day-to-day wellbeing to the forefront. While we are not mental health professionals, we can still help. To that end, we’ve built a mental health first aid network, so anyone at uMotif can volunteer to get trained and help their peers talk about their challenges. People get support anonymously, and no records are kept. We listen without prejudice and signpost people to professional help if they need it. And, for example, at our monthly all hands meetings the first item on the agenda is always to reiterate we have a mental health support network available to everyone.
We also have an individual who serves as a Wellbeing and Engagement Manager. Her primary role is to ensure we as a company do all we can to support our employees from a mental health perspective. She has instituted programs including a voluntary weekly meditation, and she continually shares articles on work-related wellbeing topics, from the importance of getting away from your desk, to handling Zoom fatigue, to managing stress levels at work.
Connect with Rich on LinkedIn to arrange a meeting, or to discuss more about how uMotif’s eCOA/ePRO platform can transform patient engagement in your next study.