Written by Charlie Schadewald-President and CEO, Wasatch Infusion
Wasatch Infusion has been serving the needs of Utah patients for over 10 years, and will soon have five locations. Our growth is attributed to great people, and I’d like to share with you some of our successes and failures in our attempt to capture and retain the best talent throughout our growth:
Success – Clear titles and job descriptions
In the early growth stage of business, everyone has to wear multiple hats. Ownership and management are motivated to do whatever it takes to get the patients and money in the door. This works for a while when there are fewer people and communication is high, but it doesn’t scale well. Over time, the people you hire will need clear job descriptions, structure, and tasks that can be measured for success. Start building an ORG chart now, and keep it updated as you grow.
Failure – Reactive hiring
In the past, we would usually wait until someone quit before hiring. Be proactive in your hiring. Always be looking to replace your B team members with A team members. If you wait until someone quits to hire someone else, you will most likely get caught in a whirlwind of desperation hiring. This is too risky because you need licensed employees to maintain compliance. It also contributes to higher employee turnover, due to complex learning curves.
Success – Great benefits
Benefits can be as equally important as pay to most employees. We’ve found that spending extra money on benefits allows us to attract talent and differentiate us from the competition. There are many types of benefits you can offer aside from just medical benefits. Some examples include:
- 85% of individual and family medical premiums covered
- Dental/Vision Plans
- FSA/HSA Plans
- 401K with matching company contribution
- Life insurance coverages including STD and LTD
- Paid Time Off (PTO)
- Flexible schedules supporting students and families (work life balance)
- Free employee lunch every day, company-wide
- Free embroidered scrubs (uniforms)
- Paid Memberships for clinical staff to local and national coalitions, groups, etc.
- IV-related educational support
- 90-day employee recognition gift
- Birthday recognition
- Anniversary recognition
- Summer and Winter Holiday events (team building)
- Spirit committee dedicated to raising employee morale
Failure – Inconsistent Recognition
When it comes to building a winning team, you never want to forget to recognize people’s hard work and dedication. Start with documenting the simple things like birthdays, anniversary dates and review dates. There is no excuse for forgetting an employee’s birthday, anniversary date, or annual review. These are simple things that contribute to appreciation and gratitude for your employees. And make sure that whatever you do for one person, you do for another so nobody feels left out.
Success – Always be ready for the next level
At some point, every company needs to start building out their ORG chart. It can be daunting and seem expensive to hire C LEVEL staff, but it is always well worth it. If you think you need a CFO now, then you probably do. If you think you need a director of sales, you probably do. Everyone needs an HR director early on in your business development. Know your limitations and hire the talent you need. It will be worth it.
Failure – Lack of incentive
We weren’t incenting people properly in the past. Each person in the company needs to understand the overall mission and be incentivized to achieve success as a team. At Wasatch Infusion, our mission statement is posted in the lobby of every clinic for patients and employees to see: OUR MISSION: TO PROVIDE LOW COST, HIGH VALUE INFUSION SERVICES IN A SAFE AND COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT. We are always working towards properly incentivizing our teams to ensure that our expected safety, service, and comfort levels are achieved.
Success – Provide the tools
In our clinic, in order to support our “one poke philosophy”, we spare no expense on the tools and technology that our people need to get the job done safely and efficiently. We have open dialogue with our teams regularly and are always open to trying new innovations in IV products and services.
Failure – The customer is always right
The patient may always be right, but yet – we still maintain the highest regard for the safety and wellbeing of our staff. In your clinic(s), your clinicians are sensitive to the patients’ feelings. That means that as a company, we look out for our clinicians and will not tolerate physical or verbal abuse of any employee. Stand behind your employees and always stand up for them.
I could write more regarding our successes and failures with human capital management, but I hope these thoughts have been helpful to those of you trying to build and retain a winning team.
One final note: I believe in love, gratitude, and appreciation. Anyone willing to spend one third of their life with our company deserves to know how appreciative we are for their commitment to our patients and community. I never miss an opportunity to thank our employees for being here. Although we show gratitude through our benefits and culture, verbalizing your appreciation in person is a reciprocal reward.