Kara Trott and Quantum Health juggle high growth with a strategic approach

 

Kara Trott holds nothing back when describing the thrill she has experienced over the past decade watching Quantum Health grow.

“It’s like an extreme sport, like bungee jumping off the highest bridge,” says Trott, the company’s founder and CEO, reflecting on a decade of high growth that’s been entirely organic.

The company has always had a growth rate of 30 percent or higher, and doubling its workforce isn’t uncommon. For example, Quantum Health had approximately 300 employees at the beginning of 2014. The company hired 190 people throughout the year and 130 of them started between Aug. 15 and Nov. 1.

“There’s a thrill to it,” Trott says. “And it requires equal amounts of courage and humility to do, and tons of energy and a lot of self-management.

“You have to really set the example within your organization of what kinds of behaviors you’re going to tolerate, what kinds of attitudes you’re going to tolerate — and you have to really stick to it. It’s not always easy.”

Quantum Health is a care coordination company that guides large self-funded employers and their health plan members through the complex health care process. It uses proven research to reorganize benefit delivery to improve outcomes, increase satisfaction and lower costs.

And Trott says they will likely add another 150 to 200 people this year, as well.

“At our rate of growth, it’s almost like each year, you’re building a whole new company,” she says.

There’s little time to sit around and ruminate; Trott says the pace strips away a lot of emotion. And while change management is a big buzzword in business, it doesn’t resonate with Trott.

“We don’t have a change management problem at Quantum Health,” she says. “Change is our constant, and people who work here thrive and relish change. You can’t work here unless you’re very comfortable in a high pace, fast growth and rapidly changing environment.

“We actually don’t devote any time or effort to change management because change, for us, is the norm.”

The vetting process

Dealing with big business step-ups in a compressed period of time means not only accepting the pace, but also being disciplined and strategic.

Trott says new business and renewals start coming in during the summer. The company hires from August to November, and the new hires are on-boarded and trained in what she calls a cultivation process in order to be ready by January.

Quantum Health has 15 applicants for every position, and therefore uses a strategic vetting process.

“We use a tool called the Predictive Index. Our COO would describe it as we’re looking for what starves and feeds people,” Trott says. “There are certain things they really enjoy and certain things they don’t enjoy. It doesn’t work to put somebody in a position, even if they interview well, that they’re not going to enjoy.”

Job candidates go through the Predictive Index first and then are evaluated for baseline or potential skills. Only after that do they go through the interview process, she says.

Once they are hired, people are weeded out in the first 60 days during the cultivation process. By following this methodology, most of the turnover occurs before new employees start dealing with members and providers.

“We’ve been pretty successful,” Trott says. “Our turnover is between 15 and 20 percent in an industry where aspirational turnover is 30 to 35 percent.