At Intrepid USA, the human resources department is a thing of the past — or rather, the straightforward name for its HR team is. Instead, the country’s 10th largest home health care provider manages hiring, firing, payroll and benefits through a division called “people engagement.”
The new label came in 2018 as part of a rebranding and strategic operations shift designed to recruit a younger, millennial workforce and reduce turnover. So far, the changes have helped the Carrollton, Texas-based company do exactly that, cutting turnover nearly in half in just a year’s time.
“We’ve actually dropped it down from about 69% [in 2017] down to about 37% [in 2018], which is a big reduction, but we’ve got more to go,” CEO John Kunysz told Home Health Care News. “That turnover rate being so high was one of the reasons we started driving toward … [new] technologies and changing processes of ways to engage people.”
Intrepid USA provides home health, hospice and personal care to patients in 18 states with about 1,500 patient-facing workers. Home health services make up about 80% of the provider’s business.
Kunysz started implementing changes within the company soon after he joined the team in April 2018. Language and branding came first.
The HR department wasn’t the only division of the company subject to a name change: finance and accounting became “financial excellence;” operations became “operations, clinical and patient experience;” and account executives became “patient care advocates.”
The list goes on — and includes external targets such as job postings.
“Instead of the company it’s … ‘a vision that makes a difference,’” Kunysz said. “Instead of job requirements, it’s ‘what we’ll love about you.’ Instead of talking about job duties, it’s ‘great work you’ll do here,’ and instead of benefits, it’s ‘why working here is awesome.’”
The goal in shifting the language is to shift the culture of the company, ultimately bringing in more clinical workers under the age of 40 who Kunysz believes are often better suited to manage the chaotic, mobile nature of the trade.
“You’re trying to take vital signs on a patient while the golden retriever is huffing in your stethoscope,” Kunysz said. “I think millennials tend to be able to handle the chaos a little more. … We’ve just got to make it cooler than being a barista or a Genius Bar member. ”
One way Intrepid USA plans to do so in 2020 is by giving mobile staff access to company vehicles through a partnership with car rental company Enterprise.
“It’s nice too because it’s a vehicle that’s banded and shrink wrapped with our logo,” Kunysz said. “It converts a pure expense of mileage reimbursement into actual advertising spend and brand awareness.”
Intrepid USA has not yet started tracking the demographics of applicants and how they’ve changed over time.
Beyond language and perks, the company has also implemented a number of talent acquisition technologies to make sure it’s bringing on the right candidates. One example is with Infor, a New York City-based software company that specializes in business applications.
Its technologies have helped Intrepid USA identify applicants who are culture fits for the company, contributing to the aforementioned reduced turnover, Jennifer Timm, director of talent acquisition and development told HHCN.
“It’s made it easier for my team to not just check boxes — like how long have you done home [health] care — and move more toward really finding that right person that’s going to be what we’re looking for,” Timm said.
Historically, Intrepid USA placed the most emphasis on skills when hiring new clinicians or caregivers. But since shifting gears last year, the company has achieved success by hiring for attitude first, followed by culture and then finally clinical skills.
Infor’s tech also helps Intrepid USA identify areas of weakness and development for new hires to help optimize and inform onboarding training.
“If we aren’t investing in tools like this, we’re going to continue to try to fight these battles as an old home health company instead of a new-era, personalized concierge, family medical home care continuum provider,” Kunysz said. “So we have to.”
Despite Intrepid USA’s success, the changes haven’t gone off entirely without a hitch. Changing the culture of the broader company and current employees is on the top of its to-do list for 2020.
“We’ve changed our leadership and we’ve changed the new people joining the organization, but there’s that group in the middle that we’re having to encourage to go to one end of the ship or the other,” Kunysz said. “Join this new paradigm or realize this might not be the right environment for you because you’re not comfortable with it.”