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Springfield, MO

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Kim and Phil Melugin, co-founders
Katelyn Egger | SBJ
Kim and Phil Melugin, co-founders

2024 Dynamic Dozen No. 2: Phoenix Home Care & Hospice

Posted online

SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Phil Melugin: Making sure that our systems are growing with the growth. Whatever the system is, like our (electronic medical record) systems – which is the software that we use to manage a workforce that is now over 3,700 employees – that takes a very robust EMR system, and I think that some of the issues that we might face would be making sure that our services are not compromised with that kind of growth. Quality assurance is something that we’re constantly making sure we keep up with. If you’re growing at the rate that we have – we grew 35% last year – you have to be very good at employee recruitment. You can’t miss a wink on positive employee recruitment.
SBJ: Is there such a thing as growing too fast?
Melugin: I think there is. I think 35% is very rapid growth. There are many variables that went into achieving that. In our case, we’ll turn 13 years old (this) month, so we have a good understanding of how to manage growth and our systems. But I think there’s always a risk that if you don’t keep your systems where they need to be to manage the growth, which impacts the quality assurance that you have, you could grow too fast. Also, you could find yourself with that kind of explosive growth without having the workforce to service that growth.

SBJ: Community is one of the core values of your company. Having multiple locations, how do you maintain that sense of community when you’re hiring and training your employees?
Melugin: Several years ago, we started Phoenix University, our own internal Phoenix Home Care & Hospice University, where we focus intensely on developing a leadership team that can handle the kind of growth we have seen. Then, we took a step further and we added Phoenix University 2 that is focused on our ever-growing field staff population that in many instances may live an hour or two from any given office. So, we had to figure out how to grow this workforce without losing touch with them. We set out to begin shrinking the company through digital engagement with our employees. That way, when an employee is hired, we are going to have seven touch points with them in the first month of them being hired. Through multiple touch points carefully managed, we can stay in touch with employees and get them fully on board. Then, we use the same mediums to keep in touch with our employees. This has allowed us to grow without losing our sense of community.

SBJ: What drives your motivation for growth?
Melugin: It is driven by an opportunity to serve. We got in the business to serve, and we continue to serve. We service close to 7,500 people on a weekly basis now, but it’s also good business. I think in any service industry related business you can’t stand still. You’re either atrophying as a company or you’re growing. It is hard to sit still with the high-volume margins and the industry we’re in, you’re either growing or your company is losing volume.

SBJ: What is the best/worst business advice you’ve received?
Melugin: The best is to not find yourself in paralysis by analysis. The worst is to give way to the politics of relevancy for relevancy’s sake.

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