The value of people
Effective leaders understand that the employees in the organization are a tremendous asset. These leaders invest in their teams and help them grow. They realize that employees are not fungible cogs in a machine, but are human beings with dignity and worth. They create positive workplaces and invest in training and development. I am also starting to see more companies that realize that one of the most impactful things they can do is to promote a healthy workforce. Healthy employees are happier and more productive. They bring a better vitality and energy to their jobs. I believe this is a real game changer and one of the most untapped arenas of opportunity for companies. I know I have personally benefitted from the onsite medical clinic and innovative well-being programs at my place of employment with Butler Snow.
I recently interviewed Frank York, chief executive officer of NewSouth NeuroSpine, LLC in Flowood. He is implementing some cutting-edge concepts regarding wellness. York is a Jackson native and Ole Miss graduate where he majored in accounting. He worked for a “Big Six” accounting firm out of college, and has had a very successful career working in leadership positions with a number of very successful companies including Deposit Guaranty, Southern Pipe & Supply and Planhouse. He joined NewSouth NeuroSpine in 2007 as CEO to lead this large and innovative physician group.
York shared that he learned from Marty Davidson at Southern Pipe & Supply the importance of valuing employees. York said, “His mantra was ‘people buy from people’ and his aim was to make all of his employees understand their value. To that end, he met with each employee personally in then more than 60 stores across the Southeast every year.” York has tried to replicate and communicate that sense of our employees’ value in the companies he has worked with ever since. One of the ways that he has acted on this philosophy is by offering excellent benefits to his employees including a strong commitment to Blue Cross’ “Health Workplace” program. He shared, “We offer our employees incentives to participate in running and walking races and giving blood.” They also offer monthly meetings for their employees where they discuss healthy lifestyles. York said: “For example, this quarter our focus has been managing stress. We’ve had presentations on physical stress reduction techniques, managing personal financial stress, and exercising for stress reduction.”
According to York, his experience has been that “happy, healthy employees give the patients the best service experience.” For developing leaders he encourages them to “take care of your physical well-being — it translates into more energy, and clearer thinking.” What is particularly interesting to me is that York is a seasoned accounting and financial professional, yet he is very comfortable making these types of employee investments because he knows these investments pay large dividends. It is very easy to be shortsighted, pinch pennies on these type programs, and be “pound foolish.” York had lots of other wisdom to share regarding managing a successful business including that we all need to be humble servants who realize that no one is too important to fill any need in the practice, and that that patient complaints provide excellent teachable moments, as long as they are followed up with in a timely manner.
One of our state’s real strengths is our medical community. Leaders like York are at the front line of growing our reputation by providing top tier service that attracts patients regionally. I particularly appreciate the model he and the team at NewSouth NeuroSpine provide for us to see the value in investing in our employees to build a healthier, stronger company.
Up Close With …
Title: CEO, NewSouth NeuroSpine
Favorite Books: The Bible, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, any historical fiction.
First Job: “Mowing lawns in my neighborhood, pumping gas at the gas station up the street.”
Proudest Moment as a Leader: “NewSouth NeuroSpine being named as one of Mississippi’s Best Places to Work in 2012, and changing a previous company’s turnover rate from 150 percent a year to less than 20 percent a year, and recognizing the financial results — from negative earnings to positive earnings during that two-year period.”
Hobbies/Interests: “I enjoy walking with my friends at night, visiting my grown-up kids (four total), who now live in different parts of the country and reading.”
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