September 5, 2016 Issue
Healthcare Staffing Firm for Consulting and Contract Workers in IT, EMR Implementations and Meaningful Use PQRS
Chief Executive Officer
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published - September 5, 2016
CEOCFO: Mr. Ryan, What is WorkBeast?
Mr. Ryan: WorkBeast is a staffing firm focused on healthcare.
CEOCFO: What is your area of focus within healthcare?
Mr. Ryan: We handle many different areas within healthcare. We do a lot of work with healthcare IT around EMR implementations. We are helping many clients with meaningful use PQRS (Physician Quality Reporting System). We are helping many clients out with their HIM departments medical coding. We are also starting to work on the clinical side within healthcare as a relatively new division of the company.
CEOCFO: How do you find people to place in these positions?
Mr. Ryan: We use technology. There are many different tools out there and the idea in starting the company was to use technology more than traditional staffing firms. Therefore, I spent a few million dollars building out our own internal technology. We also use a lot of tools out there that other companies have access to. However, the idea was to be more technology focused in our competition and use that to be competitive advantaged and it is working.
CEOCFO: Would you give us a couple of examples where the technology makes a difference?
Mr. Ryan: We have built out our CRM. We are actually going to start commercializing the product this year. We will have close to one million resumes in our system by the end of the year. Everything is searchable and sortable by key works. We can have intelligent rankings of people. We can email groups of people, up to fifty thousand at a time, for relevant positions. The technology that we have put in place allows us to stream candidates, to track everything that happens and do it in a way that makes sense. It allows us to reach many more people than a company our size typically could. We can be more effective recruiting on positions than a company with a thousand people because of our focus and because of the technology.
CEOCFO: Did you create your own because you could not find one that worked?
Mr. Ryan: We could not find one that we were happy with. There really is not a lot out there for our industry. The staffing and recruiting industry is absolutely enormous. Many people do not realize and it is hard to find an exact industry sizes, but it is well north of $100 billion in the US; well north of that. If you look at different sources you get different numbers and depending on what groups you put into that, that number could be more like four or five hundred billion depending on how you calculate the numbers. However, it is just an absolutely massive, massive market. I really could not find a lot of good tools for what we were trying to do for CRM, because we really are a sales and marketing organization. As far as the tools that are out there; Salesforce or SugarCRM or any of the clones; they are really not set up for our industry at all. We have tried to customize them and we figured out that it was going to be more expensive than just building it from scratch, so a large part of what I have done over the last ten years has been building out technology and has been building out our internal platform that we use. That is what is driving the business today. That is what is making our business successful today. It is all the technology in the back end that the client does not see.
CEOCFO: Who is turning to you for services?
Mr. Ryan: We are dealing with many large hospital systems throughout the country. Typically, hospitals that run Epic would be a good description. These are health systems of five thousand or fifty thousand people and state institutions, for example. Many people do not realize this, but big colleges are really health systems now. I am in Miami. At the University of Miami people think about the football team. People think about the university. Two thirds of their revenues come from healthcare. If you look at many of the large hospital systems around the country they are affiliated with universities. Those are many of our clients.
CEOCFO: Would hospitals or medical facility typically come to you for a variety of personnel or might they use your services for one or two areas ultimately move into additional ones?
Mr. Ryan: Yes, that is typically how it works. Oftentimes we will end up getting hired by a hospital system because we fill a position that no one else can fill. They are looking for something very specific and the other firms out there are not able to provide it for them. That is how we end up getting in the door. This is historically how we have gotten in the door with pretty much all of our clients. It is that we are able to go and fill a position that none of their current vendors are able to fill and we are able to get on the vendor list because of that. Once we pick up a client it is very, very rare that we lose them.
CEOCFO: How do they find you for the first engagement? How do you reach out to garner interest?
Mr. Ryan: We have many sales and marketing efforts. We have a large internal sales force. We advertise on the internet. We advertise using Ad Words. We go to many trade shows as well. We go to HIMSS. We are out there beating the bushes; let us put it that way. It is a very competitive industry. There are low barriers to entry. There are literally tens of thousands of competing firms in the staffing industry, and we probably run into ten or fifteen competitors in each niche all the time.
CEOCFO: Is it consultants more than employees that you provide?
Mr. Ryan: We do not provide permanent employees. We only provide contractors or consultants.
CEOCFO: Are your consultants used for tasks like coding, or is it more the higher level, the more thought intensive positions?
Mr. Ryan: Our specialty is the more thought intensive positions. It is typically for the IT side of things. Our average bill rate runs about $150 an hour, within hospitals and it is because we are primarily dealing with Epic consultants or Cerner consultants. Many of them worked at Epic or Cerner and have five or ten years under their belts. Then they come to us because we pay them better and we offer them more flexibility and more opportunities. That is the value proposition that we have to our consultants. Those are the type of people. It is generally relatively senior experienced folks with a very particular knowledge base that it is very difficult to find and rare. There are not many people with these skill sets. For the positions that we fill; maybe there are fifty or one hundred people in the country who know how to do this sort of work and are good at it.
CEOCFO: Why would someone come to you for a person as opposed to a contracting with a firm that does consulting in specific arena?
Mr. Ryan: The reason people come to us for an individual is the quality of the talent. If you to an Accenture or IBM or someone along those lines you are going to get one very senior person and you are going to get ten relatively junior people that are learning on the company’s time and they are going to be paying premium, premium prices. Therefore, our value proposition is to find them the very best people in the country for what they are looking for. We build out teams all the time. We build out a team of ten or twenty people, and we do it all the time for different clients. However, it is going to be a team of experts. It is going to be a team of the very best folks in their field. That is what we provide.
CEOCFO: How do you vet the people that you are offering up? Do you look at someone’s experience when they become a consultant for you? Do you go a couple of levels deeper, maybe into personality or approach?
Mr. Ryan: We want to do a very thorough interview with any person that we are dealing with. We want to learn about their history. We want to learn about their technical expertise and any sort of awards that they have won. We want to talk to their previous clients, verify that they are who they say they are, verify the quality of the work that they have done and make sure that all of the previous clients have loved them. We obviously do background checks. We do drug tests on everyone that we deal with; just get a very thorough history of that person and to make sure that they are excellent at what they do. We verify any certifications. It is really all the due diligence and those are the things and the steps that we take.
CEOCFO: Where does geography come into play?
Mr. Ryan: We deal really across the country. Our biggest area where we are doing the most work right now is California. That is because it is the biggest state. We are nationwide. We are truly a nationwide firm.
CEOCFO: Would your consultants typically move to a location or are they typically already in the area?
Mr. Ryan: Some of them work remotely. Some of them move out to that location. Some of them would be in the area. Typically, if someone is based in California they are going to want to stay in California or at least on the West Coast. If they are based in New York they are probably going to want to stay on the East Coast. However, they will travel around from city to city. Usually, they will live at an airport hub. They will live in Atlanta, they will live in New York, they will live in LA, they will live in Dallas or they will live in Chicago; somewhere you can fly pretty much anywhere with a non-stop flight to any major city.
CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time? What have you learned?
Mr. Ryan: We did not start out with a healthcare focus. However, the business model has changed a couple of times since I launched the company. Initially, it was supposed to be all online and we found that model did not work; at least for us. There was too much touch that needed to be there. It is really a people business. It is dealing with people and the clients, in particular, wanted that extra level of touch that you just cannot get without dealing with people. We have changed a couple of times. We started out without a healthcare focus, with an “all online” platform. Now, all of our technology is in the back end where our clients cannot see it and they are dealing with representatives that we have hired here. We basically changed the industries that we were going after. Initially, it was primarily aerospace and defense and now we are ninety five percent healthcare and university systems. Initially, it was supposed to be an “all online” model and now it is all offline. All of the technology is on the back end where the clients cannot see it. Therefore, the business has changed dramatically from when it was launched.
CEOCFO: Are there differences working with a university than with an individual hospital system?
Mr. Ryan: From our standpoint, not really. For the consultants that go in there, there are some nuances that are different. However, from our standpoint there is not that much of a difference.
CEOCFO: You mentioned licensing of your technology. What else is ahead for WorkBeast?
Mr. Ryan: Ahead is the next big thing for us. We have spent millions of dollars building out these great tools. We use them every day. It allows us to be as effective as a company ten times our size. We are going to start selling that to other folks in our industry to allow them to benefit from that technology without having to spend millions of dollars. That is because the tools are not there. At least, I have not been able to find them.
CEOCFO: Giving back is clearly important to WorkBeast. Why? Where do you focus your efforts?
Mr. Ryan: We focus our efforts around children. We feel it is very important to give back. We are dealing with a lot of hospitals. We are dealing with a lot of children’s hospitals as well. I can tell you, going to some of the places around here; we would go and we would give out toys at Jackson Memorial around Christmas and New Years and it is heartbreaking. You would walk into the room and there would be children sitting there without a toy in the dark by themselves on Christmas, on New Years. It is something that we figure; these are the clients. These are the people that we are dealing with and we really want to give back and to help the kids who were just born unlucky. They were born and they have cancer. They were born with some horrible disease and so we try to do something that will brighten their day and give back is something that I am very passionate about.
CEOCFO: Why use WorkBeast?
Mr. Ryan: If you want your hospital to function better, if you want your technology to run right, you want to hire the best and that is what we provide. We provide the very best talent out there. We have better screening processes. We are going to get the absolute best people in the country and that is why people should reach out to us. You will have more successful projects. You will be more successful as a company if you use than if you use of one of our competitors.
“If you to an Accenture or IBM or someone along those lines you are going to get one very senior person and you are going to get ten relatively junior people that are learning on the company’s time and they are going to be paying premium, premium prices. Therefore, our value proposition is to find them the very best people in the country for what they are looking for. We build out teams all the time. We build out a team of ten or twenty people, and we do it all the time for different clients. However, it is going to be a team of experts. It is going to be a team of the very best folks in their field. That is what we provide.”- Tom Ryan
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