President and CEO Mark Rheault wants his “team members” to rate their time with healthcare information technology vendor Intelligent InSites, as their best job ever.
Making it the best job ever
Intelligent InSites holds onto employees, clients
“This has to set the bar,” Rheault says. “If it doesn't, you have to tell me why, and we'll try to make it that way. If we can't, maybe this isn't the best fit for you. We want folks who are going to be around for a good period of time.”
In its first entry into the competition, Intelligent InSites set the bar for entries into Modern Healthcare's second annual Best Places to Work in Healthcare, ranking as the No. 1 healthcare employer overall as well as the top company in the supplier category. And the 5-year-old company, which provides an information technology integration solution called InSites Enterprise Visibility Platform, has a track record of holding onto employees—and clients, Rheault says.
“We're extremely careful about who we hire. We've never had anybody quit the company voluntarily,” Rheault says, adding that “a couple” employees who didn't make performance targets were dismissed. “We've never lost a client. We never want to lose a client. That's not who we are.”
Based in Fargo, N.D., Intelligent InSites has seen revenue explode 400% from 2007 to 2008, and Rheault expects another 350% growth by the end of this year. The company's success even in difficult economic times has made retention relatively easy: Intelligent InSites has mushroomed from five employees in early 2008 to more than 30 as of late September, and Rheault expects to top 40 by year-end.
“We're in a nice growth mode. Folks are a lot happier when they see the growth and feel the company's doing well,” he says. Healthcare information technology will receive tens of billions in federal stimulus money, “and that's good. Our product is about increasing the quality of care and efficiency by automating processes and reducing human errors.”
The company works to hire people who understand the need to be responsive to clients, and about half of its employees have worked in the healthcare field in the past, Rheault says. “They know what it's like to be on the other side of the table,” he says. “They have felt the pain when vendors are not responsive.”
In addition to a timely product and staff members who know the healthcare field, the company has succeeded where other IT vendors have fallen victim to the recession by being well-capitalized, Rheault says. “We went out and raised capital so we could grow comfortably without having to worry about money,” he says. “There's no chance of us having to do layoffs.”
The company's culture is also based on “complete transparency” with regard to everything from current financial status, to the opinions expressed in a team member survey earlier this year, Rheault says. “We put 100% of the comments out there, unfiltered, unchanged in any way, on our intranet,” he says. “They know they can say anything on there. It's all anonymous. That open nature is a positive thing.”
Rheault writes a weekly blog on the intranet to keep employees well-informed, and the company works to build morale with its Reach for the Moon award, which Rheault describes as “something we do spontaneously, when we get good comments from a client, or when somebody works above and beyond to hit a deadline.”
Rapid growth has challenged Intelligent InSites to ensure that institutional knowledge is passed along, which Rheault admits the firm did not do well at first. But it's now providing an average of 30 hours of orientation training. “Folks struggled trying to get the lay of the land,” he says. “We said, ‘Let's just make sure we spend that extra time.' Plus, they like the chance to meet everyone. It gets people ramped up much more quickly; it gets them productive.”
Another challenge of rapid growth has been ensuring that the company doesn't divide into silos. Intelligent InSites has instituted cross-functional process improvement teams to help keep communication flowing laterally. “They get to do these things that are bigger-thinking, bigger-picture stuff,” Rheault says. “How do we improve processes throughout the company? How do we scale up?”
All employees have or will receive constructive feedback from all directions via 360-degree evaluations, through which employees receive and give feedback to their supervisor and other team members, although Rheault notes many have not reached their one-year anniversary yet. “How does the supervisor think the team member is doing? How does the team member think the supervisor's doing? And then all the team members around that person” give feedback, he says.
Intelligent InSites pays an average annual salary of $79,500 for exempt employees and $31,200 for nonexempt workers in a relatively low cost-of-living area, and works to provide a strong set of basic benefits as well. For example, the company pays 100% of healthcare premiums for single and family coverage, from the date of hire, in a traditional indemnity insurance plan that includes a $250 deductible and 10% copayments.
“It's considered pretty generous,” Rheault says. “We're hiring professionals. Our average salary is relatively high compared to the cost of living. And they should have the benefits from day one, especially if we're looking for long-term retention.”
The privately held company has recently put into place an in-house stock-option program that Rheault says employees had been requesting. “There's a lot of excitement around that. They want to be part of that,” he says. “We want everybody to win. It's not only about investors or executives.”
Intelligent InSites forms bonds with employees out of concern for the nonfinancial bottom line as well, Rheault says. “From a product standpoint, they feel like they're making a difference,” he says. “It's not just an accounting software. If you go into a hospital or long-term-care facility, this is something that provides better care for your mom. … They see that this is something that impacts all of us: You're not going to get forgotten about in an emergency room. People are very passionate about that.”
Rheault says he feels confident that employees will, indeed, see Intelligent InSites as the employer that set the bar. “If we make this the best place you've worked, why would you want to leave?” he says. “You don't know how great a job can be until you get to that kind of job. They carry that forward into whatever they do in the future.”
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