Maintaining an open environment that creates space for their employees to balance family and work life is among the key factors highlighted by Jason Borschow, President of Abarca, and Mercibel González, VP of Talent Strategy, as drivers of the company’s selection as one of the top ten Best Employers on the island for the second year in a row.
“I really feel that I, as the CEO, as well as the company’s executive team, work for our Abarcans—they don’t work for us. During this past year, the topic of work-life balance has been redefined to include integration and harmony between one’s personal and work life. Our main job is to create an environment for Abarcans to be successful within the company and in their [professional and personal] lives. These two elements have to harmonize in such a way that the company allows their workers to live their lives better, no matter what is happening; whether we’re going through good times or experiencing challenging times like the pandemic,” said Borschow.
According to Borschow, this environment has been achieved by staying aligned with the company’s purpose. In the case of Abarca, this purpose is founded in finding a better way of working, a better way of connecting with each other, and making healthcare awesome for everyone.
Abarca Health currently employs more than 500 employees on the Island and across 28 States. Today, the leading pharmacy benefits management (PBM) company currently serves approximately four million members in Puerto Rico and the United States.
“Many people think that the purpose of a company is to generate economic profit. Yes, companies must maintain sustainability and earn more than they spend so that they can achieve a return on capital—that is basic; however, that is not our purpose and why we exist. That is, simply, the measurement of how successful one is at living their purpose,” added the company’s President.
“It all begins with our purpose, which is to find a better way to work together, to connect with each other, and also to make healthcare awesome for everyone—these are our three pillars. The first two—to find a better way to work and to connect, are not things that we do just because they’re useful, but because they are essential parts of executing our business strategy and attracting and retaining the best talent,” Borschow emphasized.
Borschow added that he is aware that people are currently looking for workplaces where “they can feel alive,” since a large part of their time is spent on their work. To help their workforce live better and more fulfilled lives, the company heavily invests in each Abarcan (as they call their employees), through strong benefits programs called Abarcan Care and Abarcan Growth. These programs aim to give Abarcans the necessary tools to aid them in finding their purpose and do something every day that fulfills and inspires them, rather than wondering if they only work to generate enough income to pay their obligations.
“Many of the things we do to build an ideal work environment is to invest in each individual Abarcan, to help them understand who they are and what is important to them. We help our leaders and Abarcans communicate, and we recognize that each individual has their unique purpose and ability to contribute. And of course, we must connect this to the company’s strategy so that we can also achieve our strategic goals together. Finally, it is about creating a space for people to express themselves,” added Mercibel Gonzalez, VP of Talent Strategy.
Gonzalez highlighted that many of the dynamics developed in the company are due to a workforce made up of 92% millennials and Gen Z-ers, which in her opinion, are generally very vocal and value social aspects above all. Today, approximately 20% of the company’s employees are based in the mainland US while the other 80% are located in PR.
Faced with the challenges posed by business operations amidst the pandemic, the company is currently preparing to resume work in the office via a hybrid model. However, while many companies suffered during the pandemic, Abarca saw a 30% increase in growth due to the commitment of its people. According to Borschow, the main challenge presented by the pandemic was the need for social connection among Abarcans, something they worked hard to overcome.
“It hasn’t been an easy year for anyone, and our people felt the social and emotional impact, working throughout the pandemic, and literally the company has seen huge growth in the last year. Our workforce has grown by 30% and the business, even more! It was by no means easy for our teams to absorb all that growth in a very short and difficult time. I am extremely grateful,” said Borschow.
“This has been the biggest year in terms of growth for the company. In terms of the number of lives we are serving, we grew by more than 30%, mostly in the United States, but also in Puerto Rico. We also strengthened our relationships with clients and launched new products like Triple-S en Casa—a home delivery pharmacy application, during a time when it was needed the most. It has been a very busy and successful year for us,” he continued.
Borschow added that Abarcans have begun returning to work at their offices in Hato Rey and within approximately six months, the company expects to open a new urban campus on Ponce de Leon Avenue in the vibrant ecosystem of Santurce, an investment of more than $10 million.
*This translated English version was written by Abarca Health personnel.