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Introduction

We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive culture and we celebrate authenticity. We created this not in anticipation of bad behavior but as we believe that articulating our values and obligations to one another reinforces the respect, trust, and safety (both physical and psychological) among the team. 

This Code of Conduct will help guide us whilst also providing clear avenues to correct our culture should it ever stray from course. The nature of this Code of Conduct is not meant to cover every situation that might arise but to provide a frame of reference against which to measure conduct and guide action.

We are committed to providing you with a safe and healthy workplace where you feel respected and appreciated, and commit to meeting all of your employment rights and entitlements. You can find out more about your employment and health and safety entitlements on the websites of Employment New Zealand and/or USAGov.

Scope

Our Code of Conduct applies to and governs all individuals employed or retained by Vital, whether on a full time, part time, temporary, contract or otherwise engaged basis.

The Code of Conduct applies to interactions in various areas of our shared professional lives including (but not limited to) the Vital hubs, off-site company events, our Slack and email exchanges, pull request feedback, and industry conferences or other events where we represent Vital.

It also applies to experiences that form a more personal basis such as shared walks to get lunch, meetups or conferences that are attended as a group but not as explicit representation of Vital, and communication across social media.

Harassing or unwelcoming behavior between colleagues has a profound impact, even when it occurs outside our walls. Everyone has a right to feel safe while working so if someone’s behavior outside of work compromises that, this Code of Conduct is designed to respond to such incidents.

Values

Health Centric 

We put the patient first in the decisions we make.

Mission Driven 

We care about serving the healthcare industry, and its stakeholders.

Intuitive & Easy 

Our products are pleasurable to interact with, as is our company.  

Constantly Improving

We strive to always be innovating, on our product and company.

Expected Behavior

Our culture is not opt-in. As members of the Vital team, everyone is expected to contribute towards nurturing a positive and collaborative environment in which we can all succeed, personally and collectively, taking measured risks to build a better company and product than our competition.

Work hard but look after yourself and others. Everyone is expected to find their own balance but sometimes we lose sight or we get it wrong. Individual and team wellbeing is important, so if you or someone you know needs help, reach out. We are committed to ensuring a safe, healthy, and supportive environment so that everyone can be their best, both inside and outside of the workplace.

Be human. We are all here to drive towards the company’s mission but we are all also people; we are more than our professional roles and life doesn’t always fit outside working hours. Be supportive, kind, and empathetic to your colleagues both inside and outside of the workplace. Treat their identities and cultures with respect; make an effort to say people's names correctly and refer to them by their chosen pronouns. Celebrate differences and what we each bring to the table.

Be inclusive and respectful in online and IRL interactions. We all have boundaries and personal experiences that shape us and our work. Some may wish to share those experiences, some may not. Everyone is entitled to privacy and respect, and we should treat each interaction with the care and thought it deserves. Listen carefully and actively, ask questions, and encourage others to listen as much as they speak.

Adopt habits that are inclusive and productive for all; make use of Zoom, document meetings and decisions thoroughly, and pay attention to time zones when scheduling events (Clocker is fantastic for this). Remember that tone can be difficult to interpret via text and always be calm, clear, and direct in your communications (online and IRL). If you are working from one of our hubs, make an effort to include people in team lunches and impromptu get togethers where reasonable.

Collaborate and be supportive of your colleagues. We are all working towards the same goal and it is easy to get tunnel vision; make sure to include your colleagues in brainstorms, planning sessions, code reviews etc., and value the input and experience they have. We pride ourselves on being a teaching environment so if you see someone struggling or if someone approaches you for help, be generous with your time. If you are under time pressure, point them in the direction of someone else who may be able to assist.

Strive to be trustworthy and open with one another, knowing that trust grows over time and can be broken quickly. Trust powers every interaction we have with one another; it allows for candid communication and affords our colleagues valuable insight as to how each of us think and operate. This helps drive the open, creative, and collaborative environment that benefits us individually and as a whole.

Assume competence and be kind when giving and receiving feedback. Our thorough interviewing process means you can assume competence and have confidence in your colleagues. We should all be striving to be better and feedback is a natural and important part of growing and achieving that. Good feedback is kind, respectful, clear, and constructive. You are expected to give and receive feedback with humility and without ego.

Unacceptable Behavior

We are committed to building a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all members of the team - existing and future - across all of our hubs and distributed locations. 

The following behaviors go directly against the culture and environment we are cultivating at Vital and will not be tolerated:

Discrimination. This can include but is not limited to: age, gender identity and expression, physical ability and appearance, race, nationality, relationship or family status, religion and belief, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background.

Harassment. This can include but is not limited to: inappropriate physical contact, intentional or repeated misgendering, intimidation, stalking, unwanted recording or photography, unwelcome sexual attention, use of sexual or discriminatory comments, imagery or jokes, ableist, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory or derogatory language.

Aggression. Whether micro or direct, aggression or violent and threatening behavior can have a significantly negative impact on our team and there is simply no room for it. We expect all of our team members to be able to recognize and/or take feedback when they are displaying such behavior and to take responsibility for correcting their actions.

Deliberate misuse of PHI, Confidential Information, and company property, whether physical or intellectual. We expect each member of the team to adhere to the employment agreement/contract they signed when joining.

Reporting/Complaints Process

Why should I report?

Every member of the team has a responsibility to make Vital a safe and welcoming space. All unacceptable behavior described above is considered misconduct. Misconduct threatens the culture and safety of the team and, if left unreported, can have a widespread and damaging impact.

Whilst some behavior may not impact you personally, we need to be conscious and considerate of our team members who may be impacted by this behavior differently. We sometimes hear “I don’t want X person to face consequences because I told someone about their bad behavior,” but the consequences of bad behavior left unchecked are often far greater and more widely felt than the consequences brought about by reporting.

Our team works best when there is shared trust, this extends not only to our interactions with one another but also to speaking up when those interactions make us feel unsafe or unwelcome. Everyone should feel safe and supported to make a report, and all reports will be treated with the care, sensitivity, and urgency they require.

How should I report?

When something goes wrong—whether it’s a microaggression or an instance of harassment—there are a number of ways you can address the situation. 

Depending on your comfort level and the severity of the situation, here are some options:

Address it directly. If you feel comfortable bringing up the incident with the person who instigated it, pull them aside to discuss how it affected you. Be candid but approach the conversation with a level and forgiving mindset; an angry or tense conversation may only add to any distress or discomfort. If you are unsure how best to go about it, reach out to your manager or the people and culture team as they may have some advice on how to ensure this conversation happens safely and productively.

Talk to a peer or mentor. Your colleagues are likely to have personal and professional experience on which to draw that could be of use to you. If there is someone you feel comfortable approaching, reach out to them and discuss the situation. They may be able to provide advice as to how they would handle the situation, or at the very least direct you to someone who can. We expect everyone on the team to support each other in this way.

Talk to your manager. Your manager will have a lot of insight into personalities and team dynamics which makes them a good person to look to for advice. With your permission, they will be able to talk directly to the colleague in question if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe doing so yourself. They will make sure that you are comfortable with them doing this before having a conversation with the other party. Your manager will also be able to provide you with the resources and tools to help ensure any conflicts with a colleague do not interfere with your work.

Talk to a member of the executive team. They have a wealth of experience between them and are happy to provide support and guidance. Our executive team will also be able to help out in situations where more drastic action needs to be taken.

Talk to our Head of Finance and HR. Depending on the details of the complaint (for example, if it includes a member of the executive team), it may be most appropriate to talk directly with our Head of Finance and HR, Narayanan Iyer. You can contact him via email, Slack, phone or Zoom. All contact details for Narayanan can be found in his Slack bio.

If you don’t feel comfortable discussing this in person, you can submit a report using our Code of Conduct Complaints Form here. Submissions can be completed anonymously however we encourage you to provide your details if you feel comfortable doing so in order for us to best support you. 

All reports of a potential violation of our Code of Conduct will be taken seriously.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to follow our Code of Conduct - Vital will not retaliate against you for bringing a concern to our attention or for participating in any related company investigation, nor will we permit retaliation by management employees or your co-workers.

Expectations

All submissions from the above reporting form will be sent to Narayanan Iyer, our Head of Finance and HR, who will follow the appropriate steps outlined in this Code of Conduct and any other relevant internal policies. When submitting a report, you will be able to choose who else the report is forwarded to. This person will be responsible for checking in with you and providing support and assistance as required.

If you do not feel your report is being handled appropriately or in a timely manner, you can reach out directly to our Head of Finance and HR or our CEO. 

You can expect that we will work towards a fair investigation and outcome process with a fair and proportionate response.  We will always work with the intention of restorative justice, but serious or repeated misconduct (which includes doing something wrong by doing something, not doing something, or through your behavior, as defined by Employment New Zealand) may result in dismissal. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of a misconduct investigation, you can talk to the Head of Finance and HR or the CEO.

If we are unable to agree on a fair and proportionate response, we may seek to involve a mediator. There are external services that we can access to support this that are location dependent. 

For example, in New Zealand, we can contact the Early Resolution Service within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) who can provide us with advice and meditation support. For those of us based in the US, support may be location/state dependent (e.g., the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

Confidentiality

All reports will remain confidential unless we have discussed this with you and you have agreed otherwise. All reports will be handled with sensitivity and we will keep you informed of any updates and actions that are taken.

We will endeavor to protect the reporter’s identity however, due to the nature of some incidents, we cannot always guarantee that the reporter’s identity will not be established when discussing this with the person whose behavior has been reported.

The safety and wellbeing of the team is paramount so if you have concerns about retaliation or your personal safety and do not want us to share the details of your report with anyone (including the person you have reported), please state this explicitly in your report. 

In some cases we may decide to share an update about a major incident with the entire Vital team as it pertains to the wider group’s safety and interest. Should this occur, we will inform those involved prior and all identities will remain confidential unless we are instructed otherwise.

Accessing Support

Regardless of your location, you are able to access free support in the form of short-term solution-based therapy from trained counselors and psychologists. You can find information on how to access these services on Confluence by searching “Employee Assistance Program”.

For New Zealand based employees, you can free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counselor.

For US based employees, you can find information on helplines to contact sorted by topics by visiting https://findahelpline.com/.

Credits

The Vital Code of Conduct was drafted with inspiration from the following;

https://18f.gsa.gov/code-of-conduct/

https://www.recurse.com/code-of-conduct

http://code-of-conduct.voxmedia.com/

The 18F and Recurse Codes of Conduct are available as public domain under the terms of the CC0 license. Credit to The Vox Media Code of Conduct, which is available under the terms of the CC-BY 4.0 license.

Last updated April 3rd, 2022.