As the founder and former CEO of printing and marketing services company PostNet, franchising veteran Steven Greenbaum thought he knew all the ins-and-outs of his company when he agreed to be featured on the CBS reality show “Undercover Boss.”
“I really went into that experience thinking I knew a lot about our owners, about the franchise system,” Greenbaum told Home Health Care News. “But what I recognized was I didn’t really know our employees very well. I didn’t know the people and stories behind the face of our brand—the people who were providing the service delivery to the customer.”
This lesson on employee recognition is one Greenbaum aims to apply as he transitions to his new role as CEO this month for home care services provider ComForCare.
The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based company operates 200 independently owned and operated in-home care agencies across the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
“[The experience] informs me in a way, now that I’ve moved into this role with ComForCare, to really be thoughtful about the most important person in our organization next to our clients, and that’s the caregivers,” Greenbaum said. “These are the people who are taking care of Mom and Dad and our loved ones.”
The impact of service
Greenbaum’s appointment is the result of ComForCare’s nationwide search for a new CEO. He will serve as co-CEO with ComForCare and At Your Side Home Care Founder Mark Armstrong during a short transition period, after which Armstrong will take on the role of chairman of the board for ComForCare, according to a press release.
Greenbaum’s name was put in the running through his relationship with the Riverside Companies, a private equity firm that invested in ComForCare in the summer of 2017. When he was presented with the opportunity, Greenbaum jumped at the chance, keeping in mind his own experience with senior care.
“I think, like a lot of people, I had faced challenges with how to provide the right care for my aging parents, so it hits very close to home,” he said.
Greenbaum brings 25 years of experience with franchising to his role at ComForCare. During his tenure with PostNet, he grew the company to become a 660-unit franchise system. A certified franchise executive, Greenbaum has served as chairman of the International Franchise Association (IFA) in 2008, receiving the organization’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2003.
Unlike his previous franchising ventures, however, what makes the opportunity with ComForCare unique is the special role the company plays in providing quality care for its clients, Greenbaum noted.
“It’s not just the delivery of a service or a product … It’s nothing near the impact of having a service experience with a loved one, whether it’s medical or non-medical service,” he said.
While the printing and marketing industry is worlds apart from home care, one commonality Greenbaum has noticed is the growing role of technology—an area where he feels he can bring a wealth of knowledge.
“One of the things I learned from starting my own business is that a business has to evolve with consumer needs and technology,” he said. “I honestly believe that we’re seeing that same opportunity in the home health care space. There are all sorts of innovations now in technology which allow for monitoring; there are all sorts of opportunities in this space to provide more value to make the clients feel more cared for, safer—to feel more dignified with the type of care that we provide.”
Greenbaum is not blind to the fact that he’s still new to the industry, and says he is eager to learn more about the issues affecting franchisees and the overall organization.
“I will use this year as a foundational year,” he said. “There’s a lot to this business, especially with laws and the care we provide, and the work that we do.”
Getting to know the nuances of the industry and every moving part of ComForCare is crucial to growing the business—a goal that Greenbaum has already written on his to-do list.
“My plans are to double this organization in size and revenue. The question there would be, ‘Over what period of time?'” he said. “Clearly, a three- to five-year window for that would be in my objective, but to make that decision on timing has to do with me fully understanding the needs of the organization.”
As he pursues his mission of advancement and company growth, Greenbaum remains cognizant of how this goal gets accomplished, keeping in mind the lessons he learned on Undercover Boss.
“What strikes me as really special about doing this work and being a part of this organization is the people that are attracted to this business—they have servant mentalities and attitudes,” he said. “It’s really incredibly humbling to have come through this organization and to see the kind of people and the kind of service that’s being given, and to have an opportunity to be a part of that. I’m extremely excited about the future with this company.”
Written by Carlo Calma