Oliver McKinstry Finds His Purpose at DaVita

After twenty-five years in the US Navy, Fred was ready for a new challenge. He took a job as an in-center hemodialysis nurse and found more than a second career—he found a home. DaVita, the dialysis and kidney care company, refers to its workforce as the DaVita Village. Its leaders like Oliver McKinstry are committed to ensuring Fred and each of his 60,000 colleagues has a place and a purpose within that community.

McKinstry is DaVita’s vice president and associate general counsel of labor, employment, and investigations. In that role, he leads DaVita’s labor and employment law function and its human resources compliance function, including employee relations, employment investigations, and more.

The unique, blended role gives McKinstry the chance to leverage his expertise in both legal and HR functions to influence business strategy and simultaneously improve the teammate experience. That combination brings an extra measure of fulfillment. “I don’t get to interact with patients very often, but I contribute by impacting the business and doing right by our teammates so they can provide the best care possible,” he says.

Equipping and empowering teammates to provide the best care possible is critical for a business that provides kidney care to patients in their greatest time of need, including those waiting for a transplant. The company’s name is taken from the Italian verb “dare” (to give) and the noun “vita” (life). McKinstry wants everyone in the village focused on giving lifesaving treatments. “The stakes are high here,” he says. “If my team is functioning well, our teammates can be present with their patients instead of worrying about compensation or how changing regulations might affect them.”

McKinstry studied law at the University of Pennsylvania and entered the workforce litigating commercial and employment disputes. He then spent nearly five years as a compliance investigator, ethics officer, and equal employment opportunity investigator at Lockheed Martin before joining DaVita in 2016.

From his first day in the company’s Colorado headquarters, McKinstry has been thinking about what he can do to ensure DaVita is streamlined and efficient. “I bring my legal knowledge to traditional HR functions, and the combination helps me make sure our processes are necessary and beneficial,” he says. McKinstry examines the “why” behind decisions and suggests alternatives to inefficient or outdated practices. He’s optimized job descriptions to ensure teammates operate at the top of their license and created an AI platform that teammates can use to report concerns or draft common documents.

In response to the mass exodus from healthcare in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, DaVita is focused on maintaining stable teams with strong leaders. “Most people leave a job because they have bad bosses, and we want to create the best leaders we can,” says McKinstry. His team studies intel from surveys and investigations before implementing new training modules and events that provide leaders with the resources they need to address deficiencies and develop new skills.

McKinstry’s teams also serve as a sounding board and support for teammates who encounter problems or raise concerns regarding their work. Thus, McKinstry and his direct reports maintain an open-door policy and commit to treating everyone they encounter with kindness and compassion. “People come and talk to us about their experience in the workplace, and we want to give them a reason to stay instead of a reason to leave,” he says.

McKinstry knows what it’s like to live through a painful era in the workplace. While working in a large restaurant during high school, he had a negative experience that caused him to leave the job. “I don’t want anyone to live through something like that at a company like DaVita,” McKinstry says. He keeps the ordeal in the back of his mind every time he talks to a colleague about their own experience.

Aside from offering teammates an open door with McKinstry’s teams, DaVita also offers its teammates a strong benefits and compensation package. In addition to standard medical, dental, and vision benefits, DaVita supports its teammates with college coaching, adoption assistance, child and elder care support, tuition reimbursement, breast milk delivery for traveling moms, and access to mental health services.

Additionally, Teammate Resource Groups advance diversity and belonging by helping each member of the Village connect around a common identity or experience. DaVita currently hosts groups for Asian and Pacific Islanders, working parents, Black teammates, Hispanic or Latino professionals, veterans, and members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. McKinstry is the chair of VillagePRIDE, DaVita’s group for members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

DaVita serves over 200,000 patients in the United States and is active in twelve other countries. In March of this year, the company announced plans to grow its Latin American presence by expanding existing service in Brazil and Columbia while entering Chile and Ecuador for the first time.

Jackson Lewis P.C. is a law firm with more than 950 attorneys in major cities nationwide. We represent more than 1,800 healthcare industry employers on the full range of labor and employment issues. To learn more, visit jacksonlewis.com/industry/healthcare.

The post Oliver McKinstry Finds His Purpose at DaVita appeared first on American Healthcare Leader.

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