About: Umbo is a social enterprise that was founded in 2018, when our three co-founders joined together to combat one of Australia’s biggest hidden problems: access to speech and occupational therapy in regional Australia.
Umbo makes it easier for people to see a speech or occupational therapist by connecting those in need with allied health professionals, via our online platform.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Compassion & Empathy: Umbo’s company culture as a social enterprise
Umbo’s culture is based on a passion to build a better world. As a social enterprise, we are more interested in purpose than profit, and have a clear goal of supporting all communities to grow, thrive and connect.
We take this approach at all levels of the organisation, including how we make strategic decisions, the way we hire, and how we invest profits back into the business to scale and deepen our social impact.
At the core of Umbo’s culture is a strong belief in the power of compassion and empathy. It’s important to us that patients and health care professionals feel heard, supported, and in control. We’re not interested in telling our customers what to do – they are the experts in their lives and we’re here to help.
Internally, we regularly talk about compassion and empathy, what this means for us and our customers and how we can be delivering our services consistently in line with these values. This forms what we call our people-centred practice, which underpins every interaction we have with partners, clinicians, patients, investors, and each other.
As a startup in the health-tech sector, it’s important to us that every idea is heard and that we’re constantly learning from each other. While we have a hard-working and dedicated team, it is also an informal and humble environment to work in. Whether you’re a volunteer, working part-time while studying, or one of the co-founders, everyone’s opinion is valued.
Work-life balance at Umbo
In many ways, Umbo’s entire business model is based on accessing and leveraging the significant benefits of work life balance. For us, work life balance isn’t just about our own staff’s productivity and flexibility. We believe that the right approach to work life balance with a people-centred practice can drastically change the way health care services are accessed and delivered across Australia.
For example, there are many speech and occupational therapists who experience difficulty in finding work because they cannot commit to a 9am-5pm working week, travelling long distances on a regular basis, or working in a traditional office environment.
When they join Umbo, not only can they choose when and where they work, but they also have control over how many hours they work each week and can change this as often as needed. We have therapists with medical conditions and disabilities, meaning working from home is the best environment for them.
There is a common misconception that people cannot receive speech and occupational therapy, particularly in rural and remote Australia, because there are not enough speech and occupational therapists. We believe this isn’t true and that there is an under-activated segment of the job market that can effectively address patient demand.
For these professionals to get back into the workforce and put their skills to use, many need a flexible work environment based on their needs, not the needs of their employer. This is what we aim to provide at Umbo.
Banding together & showing up: Working the Umbo way
In a word – passionate. We band together and show up because we truly believe we can make a difference to the inequality that many communities face, particularly those in rural and remote Australia.
As a team that believes compassion and empathy can change lives and the future of communities, we are always doing our utmost for our clinicians and patients so we can collaboratively reach these bigger goals.
For example, when the coronavirus pandemic forced many Australians into isolation and social distancing, clinicians were telling us they needed fast and comprehensive guidance on how to take their business online so they could continue operations.
We didn’t think about the costs, time or resources required, but focused on how we could best help the health care community during this critical time. Within a matter of days, we pulled together an online summit with step-by-step guidance and training for health care professionals, many of which let us know it played a key role in helping keep their business afloat. We’ll continue to deliver these online summits as long as they continue to add value.
We work hard, yet we support each other and create a sense of team, even when we’re working virtually. We celebrate our wins, problem solve together, and have friendly competitions as well. Our culture, grounded by a mindset of compassion and empathy, is the most important aspect of our business.
Umbo’s company values
These values live and breathe throughout every aspect of the business and every interaction with our stakeholders.
You’ll see this when our clinicians go above and beyond to understand customers’ needs. Instead of stock-standard assessment tests, our people-centred approach means we dig deeper – Do the parents have particular aspects of the therapy they don’t understand? Does the child have particular hobbies or interests that could make the therapy more impactful if they were incorporated into sessions?
We’re also always looking for ways to empower rural and remote communities with the skills and knowledge to address their own health care needs. This could mean a different video conferencing tool for certain regions due to internet accessibility, using phone-based methods where the internet is unreliable, or investing in developing an all-in-one platform for clinicians based on their feedback on what information and tools they need to deliver services.
Asking questions, walking alongside our customers, and never assuming what they need or dictating how they should behave are all part of our people-centred approach.
- Work from home – when are where you want!
- Help to improve access to health care for children in rural and regional Australia
- Ability to influence the direction of a new initiative with autonomy and the backing of a highly skilled team of professionals across multiple areas of expertise
- Quarterly goal setting, including professional development and clinical supervision
- Opportunities to participate in and facilitate internal training activities
- Be part of a passionate and dedicated team that values learning, collaboration, and people-centred practice
- Access to a global network of peers and mentors with expertise in speech pathology, occupational therapy, international development, project management, fundraising, communications, working with disability, and more
If you’d like to showcase your unique company culture on Balance the Grind, get in touch with us today!
Every company approaches culture and work-life balance in their own unique way. Company Cultures is a project by Balance the Grind to showcase different workplaces and cultures from around the world.