When Eric Friedlander took the reins of Starpoint Health in 2001, his goal was to grow the promising entrepreneurial enterprise into a leading, first-class operator of outpatient surgery centers in Southern California. The challenge ahead of him was to make the necessary investments and operational changes to enable growth without losing the vision and character of the company.
The strategy was to create a premier brand by offering best- in-class services through partnering with great physicians and providing them with world-class operations. To do so, Eric and his team were very selective and deliberate with whom they partnered, hired and associated. Starpoint hired and trained the best medical staff, built high-quality facilities, invested in the latest IT infrastructure and honed operational excellence. Through it all, the team fostered a company culture of professionalism, respect and integrity that distinguishes the company with patients and is exhibited to the broader community through ongoing civic participation.
Eric was equally deliberate in considering how to approach the HR function. He remembers feeling some “anxiety around ensuring we created the right stafing model” for HR. When Eric decided to outsource the function and go with DHR to manage Starpoint’s payroll and human resources it was because DHR offered a “one-stop-shop” and a level of expertise Eric couldn’t get in-house for the same cost.
“A single employee cannot keep up with the industry trends and compliance issues that are vital to our business,” believes Eric. “With DHR we get an educated team that stays current on topics that are important to us, and a professional, on-site manager who delivers on our day-to-day HR needs, top to bottom.” Today that includes such responsibilities as payroll, employee documentation, recruitment, candidate screening, new hire and termination processes, compliance issues, risk mitigation and workers’ compensation claims. According to Eric, these last two services really stand out as areas where DHR has made a significant contribution to Starpoint: “DHR is a great watch dog for managing risk. They’re proactive and upfront in dealing with issues, and they’re tenacious as a pit bull on managing compliance for workers’ comp.”
Starpoint’s relationship with DHR yields additional cost efficiencies as well, such as savings on attorneys’ fees. “A given issue might have required pulling in HR, outside legal counsel and maybe special consultants. With DHR, we can go right to them and determine a course of action for resolution,” notes Eric. Starpoint also benefitted from moving its workers’ comp and business insurance policies to DHR, and its sister company DHR Insurance, which consolidated multiple providers into one, saving Starpoint “quite a bit of money.”
Despite DHR’s expertise and value, Eric and his team wondered if outsourcing a critical function like HR might affect Starpoint’s culture, which is vital to maintaining their unique brand. Their concerns were quickly put to rest. “Starpoint is great place to work. Not everybody gets our culture right away, but DHR understands and appreciates the way we do business,” comments Eric. “Maybe it’s because DHR is a smaller company that offers more personalized service, enabling them to step right in, come up to speed quickly, take on our cultural philosophy and manage the employee engagement and recognition programs in a meaningful way.”
As Eric evaluates where Starpoint is today and where he and the team want to take it tomorrow, he considers DHR a strategic partner: “They are a well-run organization that’s on the ball, and they’ve helped reduce costs, alleviate a whole bunch of headaches and made my life easier. As we add more locations, I’m confident that DHR can ramp with us.”