Dr Robin Cordell MBA FRCP FFOM
The value of what a business can deliver is important in every sector. It affects how much you can charge and vitally, how much you can make in return. For some sectors, it’s a monetary equation where costs of supply and demand are linked with a return on investment. For other sectors, the value is not always tangible, there isn’t a ‘product’ to buy and sell. These sectors, of which occupational health is one, are governed by the perspective of the people the services are delivered to, and the value of what they receive in return.
At Cordell Health, we work hard to deliver ‘value’ to our clients, the individual employers that we see, the owners of our business and also importantly, the wider society that we can support.
For our clients, we offer value by understanding their needs with a timely communication of facts, which are not only evidence-based but also contextually relevant for the business. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and it’s not just about delivering assessments and reports to agreed performance indicators. We provide evidence-based advice that can make a visible difference to the ‘bottom line’ when dealing with the issues resulting from the impact of ‘work on health’ or ‘health on work’.
For employees the value comes from a conversation, treating individuals fairly, impartially and courteously. We set a structured and efficient framework so we can ensure they are listened to and that those difficult issues or potential “elephants in the room”, can explore them through an honest conversation. We can then provide advice on how they may be able to improve their health.
Our owners see value through profit, sought through careful consideration of all the elements of the value chain (first described by Michael Porter in his 1985 book on competitive advantage). Having efficient processes, the right resources and a product of the required quality and price drives the profit.
In our business model, this allows us to reinvest in our own social enterprise and create a framework to support those businesses and employees who couldn’t otherwise afford access to our expertise. The more we grow, the more we can give and the value chain means we can we can fulfil our social mission and deliver value more broadly in society too.
Our ‘product’ is people; they are the ones who deliver value to clients, their employees and our owners. Undoubtedly, they are our most important asset and it is essential that we recruit people with the right skills. These can be honed through training to best meet the needs of the paying client, and retained by motivating them to stay.
This is where effective leadership skills at a management level are critical. Without those, no business can truly deliver value. We insist our leaders understand the industry within which we operate, its competitive forces, business processes and have effective management skills. Only then can they provide the high-level communications we require to support our staff, our clients and the right business decisions being made.
Through leveraging efficient management and effective leadership we are able to engage with our clients at any level, from HR to senior leadership teams. This feeds down to the skills of our people and the value they provide to our client's organisations, and society in general, by encouraging cultures where all feel valued, including those with health conditions and disabilities.
We’d be interested to hear how you feel occupational health adds value to your business and how you measure its success if it’s not through ROI?