CEO Lorna Taylor has a clear vision for Premier Eye Care
Taylor focuses on what she calls the triple bottom line: People, planet, profit.
The company has financially supported sending medical supplies to Haiti, building a playground at a domestic violence shelter and providing eye care for the poor. The company went paperless four years ago and provides financial incentives for employees to car pool and use mass transit. Employees donated 4.25 gallons of blood this year.
One effort to raise money for shoes for the poor made for a memorable night for Randy Goodhope, who is on a workplace team that manages Premier’s national network of providers, and is co-coordinator of its community service committee. “I find it a real benefit for me in coming to work every day knowing the company supports reaching out to the community. I left that night thinking, wow, what a cool thing that I was there with my team members and we’re all supporting this effort and the company wants us to do that,” he says. Workers are encouraged to take a day a year on company time to volunteer in the community.
Taylor, 57, says the community work creates a sense of loyalty to the company. She reported that from last year’s Best Companies survey, employee satisfaction came in at 97% and engagement at 100%. Turnover, even for the company’s 30 call-center jobs, is well-below industry norms.
Taylor sees the low rate as extraordinary given how tedious Premier’s work can be. Managed care is a highly regulated and audited industry — Premier participates in about 50 audits a year by various agencies and health plans — and compliance with health plan and government program rules must be perfect.
Shari Basye, vice president of operations, says the company spends a lot of time on hiring to find self-directed people who fit Premier’s culture. The company then invests the time to acclimate newcomers to the business. The average orientation is 16 hours. “We check with them after like three weeks to see how it’s going, to see how they fit. A lot of them are coming from more structured environments, and they love it,” Basye says.
The goal is for each worker to become so acquainted with the job’s demands and plan rules that they’re experts. As experts, they’re then empowered to tell the company how both their tasks and the overall company can work better. They manage their work as they see fit.
A group of motivated, creative experts will turn in high performance and improve company processes, Taylor says. “This is not hippy-dippy, touchy-feely. It’s highly professional, highly organized,” she says.
It certainly is helping the company grow. In November, Premier will move into new offices in Boca Raton with space to accommodate projected growth to 150 employees in two years. The Affordable Care Act has added people to health care plan rolls, who then are contracted to Premier for eye care coverage. Medicaid, though a low-revenue business, “is just exploding” because of the ACA, she says.
Taylor says she loves making money, but she clearly loves the social side too. She relates asking a relatively new worker at a holiday party how she liked the new job. The worker told her, “I just love the purpose.”
Says Taylor, “What a great thing to say. And what a great thing to feel.”
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