Springfield Business Journal: What has been key to your recent growth?
John Ray: Most of our growth has been from growing each (division), but also adding diversity to our offering. It’s a comprehensive health care approach. We run the gamut of different services for 90% of the issues that come out of the hospital.
SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Ray: Humility, I would say is the No. 1 thing, being realistic about what we’re capable of and what we’re not. One of the things we have to keep front and center is that we have a very low rehospitalization rate. That is one of our primary focuses as a company.
SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Ray: To hire more talent, expertise and experience. From a financial standpoint, it’s allowed us to hit a higher level to attract smarter, more experienced people.
SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Ray: It’s very difficult for us to predict. There is what’s called the “senior tsunami” coming, that’s slated to peak in the next two decades, with baby boomers. There’s going to be a lot of need out there. Probably, we will grow with that need. But with our focus on quality, I don’t know how much, and it may not be as fast. I am OK with that.
SBJ: Is there such a thing as growing too fast?
Ray: Definitely, and we’ve made that mistake ourselves in the past, where we boomed very quickly and couldn’t hire internal support fast enough. Because of that, it put a lot of strain on our staff, but they weathered the storm and now we’re a stronger company. We’ve put controls in place to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
SBJ: Where is the tipping point?
Ray: What we’ve done is internal analysis to see what the ideal caseload is by clinician and how much internal support in the office they need to be able to provide the best care and focus on the patients. That tipping point is a moving target, depending on how well we bring in support staff and if they’ve had experience in home health care before.
SBJ: Have your goals changed as business has taken off?
Ray: I think originally our goals were just to survive, to make it to the next billing cycle. Now, we have great stability, and financially we’re doing quite well. That’s allowed us to then change our goals from survival to more elevated goals.
SBJ: What’s it like working in the Springfield market, with there being so much competition in the health care field?
Ray: Our competition has forced us to raise our bar, which is a good thing. You want lots of competition, you want your competition to push you harder. It forces you to say, “We have to do better than this,” so we don’t get complacent.
SBJ: What is the worst business advice you’ve received?
Ray: People told us early on not to take risks. There is no such thing as making a successful business without taking risks. My wife and I mortgaged our house; we put our entire livelihood into the business. It was a survival situation. It was make it or bust.
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With four generations in the workplace, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of how each approaches brainstorming can make all the difference in arriving at the best idea. Boomer Kay Logsdon, Director of Applications at CultureWaves, and self-described fossil Millennial Locke Hilderbrand share what their trends research at CultureWaves tells us about generational differences and tips on how to bridge the gaps. Generations in the Workplace is an ongoing multi-episode series tackling the issues of generational conflict.