robert w. massie president of brightstar care of fairfax with two pairs of hands coming together to hold a heart with myoutdesk

Guests: Robert W. Massie, Daniel Ramsey
Recorded: December 24, 2019

Excerpt

Brightstar is a rapidly growing in-home healthcare organization striving to help Americans with quality, affordable assistance – but when it comes to recruiting the best of the best for their organization, which helps them? The company Brightstar trusts to assist their recruiting needs is MyOutDesk.

We’re honored to join Brightstar Fairfax Owner & President Robert W. Massie to learn exactly what led him to leave a successful Fortune 500 executive career to launch a Brightstar Franchise with his wife – and how they’re achieving higher success using virtual assistant recruiting services.

Robert is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and a business leader in healthcare, technology sales, and consulting. He has over 25 years of experience in various senior roles and industries. In his current position, he serves as President of Lone Jack Holdings, Inc., dba BrightStar Care of Fairfax- a healthcare services provider serving the Northern Virginia area.

As a CSA, Robert is a leader in helping seniors plan and access the services they need to age in place and choose. He often speaks publicly on the issues and challenges of aging. He is an active leader in several local and national charities- including an advocate role with the American Heart Association and an active member of the Alzheimer’s Association speakers board.

Before starting the BrightStar Care of Fairfax, Robert Massie was as corporate as they come; his goal, similar to many other in the corporate world, was to continue to climb the ladder, year after year. However, when Robert finally reached the near-top of that corporate ladder serving as the Executive Vice President of Sales in a billion-dollar global company, he took a look around. He realized this was not where he wanted to be.

It was at this moment that Robert and his wife Kerry decided to open their own business.

“All of my career life had been building up to this position — and I didn’t like it,” Robert says of the experience. “I wanted to do more with my career, and I wanted to report to someone I actually enjoyed working for — now I can say that’s me … or, rather, my wife.”

Transcript

00:00:07:20 – 00:00:30:24
Daniel Ramsey
Hey, everyone. Daniel Ramsey here with my out desk. And today I have the unique pleasure to talk with Robert Massie from Brightstar Cares. Now I’m really excited because this guy is actually serving his community by providing really high quality care professionals that come to your home and actually, you know, help with your health care needs. So super excited because this guy is actually got a big heart and he’s giving back.

00:00:30:24 – 00:00:45:21
Daniel Ramsey
And what I love most is he’s using one of our virtual assistants actually, I think there’s a couple. Oh, no, you’ve got one. We’re going to have to get you more, Robert. We’re going to have to get you more, folks. But hey, thanks for being here today. Really appreciate you.

00:00:45:21 – 00:00:48:02
Robert W. Massie
Well, thanks, Daniel. And thank you for inviting me.

00:00:48:21 – 00:01:00:03
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah. So let’s start real quick with your background. So you worked in corporate America. I know you have a story. Let’s just start there with that story. What happened with you that led you to be in the health care world?

00:01:01:05 – 00:01:31:11
Robert W. Massie
Well, so I was a corporate executive reaching 30 years of business experience. My mother in law fell ill, was in the hospital. She actually had fallen and broken her hip when she returned home, my wife and I found ourselves needing to help her get care. She lived in Florida. We lived in Chicago at the time. And when we investigated what our options were and how it worked and what it would cost and how how we could help, we were disappointed with what we found.

00:01:31:11 – 00:01:57:01
Robert W. Massie
We couldn’t find anybody to give us information and options. We found that the quality of the care that we were able to get was not what we had hoped for. Um, I and my wife were looking at starting our own business. My father was an entrepreneur and I was running part of his business. And I realized that in health care there was a an approach that solve some of those problems.

00:01:57:01 – 00:02:17:07
Robert W. Massie
They did provide information and options and better care quality. And I looked around and we settled on a system called Bright Star. Um, we came back to Northern Virginia where we had met and raised our children. And eight years ago we opened Bright Star here in Northern Virginia in the Fairfax area, County area, and we’ve been operating now for about eight years.

00:02:18:16 – 00:02:23:07
Daniel Ramsey
I love it. I love it. And you have multiple locations at this stage, right? Is that correct?

00:02:23:07 – 00:02:36:06
Robert W. Massie
Yeah, we do. In the Northern Virginia area, there are five different offices. Um, the Fairfax office was the first and the largest, but we’ve got four counties covered at this point. Um, most of my concentration is in the Fairfax County area.

00:02:37:01 – 00:02:48:24
Daniel Ramsey
I love it, I love it. And then at some point you heard about my out. Just talk to us about that story like how did you hear about us and what led you to decide that you needed to hire our company to help you grow your franchise?

00:02:49:23 – 00:03:09:07
Robert W. Massie
Well, as with any small company at the very beginning, um, it’s basically just you. My wife and I opened it. Uh, we have a director of nursing who was in our end and the three of us in the first year were it we did everything. Um, yeah. And as we started to grow and we were fortunate, we’ve actually been growing about 20 to 25% a year.

00:03:10:05 – 00:03:36:12
Robert W. Massie
You know, we were able to bring people on into the office. The office space needs increased and we’ve grown pretty rapidly. There came a point when we realized that the the needs of the business required specialization in, in some functions and the, in our case the h.R. And the recruiting function was the one we were struggling with quite a bit.

00:03:36:21 – 00:04:01:24
Robert W. Massie
Uh, it was taking a lot of office time to, uh, to get the labor we needed, the caregivers we needed into the office. And through the process, um, we started to focus in on that. Recruiters are extremely hard to find in my market. It’s expensive area of the country. And we went through a number of attempts to get some recruiting assistance.

00:04:01:24 – 00:04:23:05
Robert W. Massie
Um, but because we’re a small company and because we had limited means, we weren’t able to get the quality of the person and they really were not able to get the results. We learned about my out test dot com. We’re a franchise approach and so we have a franchisor who makes resources available to us. They, uh, informed us that there was an outsourcing approach.

00:04:23:17 – 00:04:46:04
Robert W. Massie
I had actually running outsourcing company in my past. It was a local business services outsourcing. Um, we had 25,000 people in India and I was with them for a while, so I was familiar with the concept. Um, we finally reached a point where I thought we could probably manage and outsource first approach, um, and business services outsource made sense to me.

00:04:46:13 – 00:04:54:00
Robert W. Massie
So we got in touch with my outlook.com and, and, and worked up the arrangements and started down the path.

00:04:55:01 – 00:05:15:12
Daniel Ramsey
I love it. I love it. One thing that you said there, and every time I interview people, I like to get personal, dig deep and I’m a little crazy with these interviews. But you said something that like, you know, makes me interested, 25% growth. My understanding is that you have more than 100 employees working for your organization and 25% growth is a big deal.

00:05:15:24 – 00:05:26:07
Daniel Ramsey
How have you done that? Like what do you think your secret sauce has been? What do you think that you’ve done differently in the bright star care world that has allowed you to grow so rapidly?

00:05:27:02 – 00:05:53:04
Robert W. Massie
Well, we’ve got 10,000 seniors a day turning 65 in this country. So the market is expanding very quickly. So the opportunity is there. Rising tide lifts all boats. This area has a very high percentage of two income households. And so helping with your mother or your father in the home is not something that many of the families can manage.

00:05:53:04 – 00:06:19:16
Robert W. Massie
Their time is very limited. They’re raising their own family. So there’s a high degree of need, hide, demand for good quality caregiving. On the other hand, the labor shortage is extremely pronounced here. We’re down to about 3% unemployment at the current time. Um, and in the health care field, it’s even worse. And there’s a high competition for good caregivers trained caregivers.

00:06:20:12 – 00:06:40:08
Robert W. Massie
The labor costs are very high. So we’ve been labor constrained, not demand constrained. We would love to service every single family that comes to us, but we can only do that if we get the best caregivers and we pay a lot for those caregivers that the investment to get a good caregiver onto the team and working productively is very high.

00:06:40:17 – 00:07:05:00
Robert W. Massie
So the growth has really come from our ability to bring quality caregivers in and retain them and we’ve done that pretty well. But it’s a it’s a weekly need. We have to hire literally 4 to 6 people per week in order to keep the growth of the business going. And and that’s very difficult to do in this way.

00:07:05:23 – 00:07:11:16
Daniel Ramsey
And you’ve empowered your your virtual professional with my out desk to be an integral part in that.

00:07:12:15 – 00:07:35:11
Robert W. Massie
Yeah. So Mark is the gentleman that we’re referring to, he is our recruiting department and, and he has been able to drive us from about 2 hours a week to just over four hires a week in the last 10 to 12 months. Um, he’s a very skilled individual. He, he has the background. He was actually in nursing school.

00:07:36:03 – 00:07:55:08
Robert W. Massie
Yep. So he understands the health care market. Um, he’s very technical. He’s very savvy. The fact that he works remote has has not impacted us at all. As a matter of fact, when we have our, our orientation, where the newly hired folks come in to get trained in our academy. Right. Um, and we’re, we’re getting ready to put them into the field.

00:07:55:20 – 00:08:15:11
Robert W. Massie
The very first thing I talk to them about is they all know Mark. They’ve talked to Mark five or six or ten times. They’ve gotten emails from Mark. They probably done a video interview with Mark and, uh, they’ve come into the office as well. But, but, uh, I asked them, you know, they say, Where’s Mark? And I said, well, Mark works remotely.

00:08:15:18 – 00:08:38:22
Robert W. Massie
He’s, he’s actually, you know, oversees and that’s done them because it has Mark and the arrangement has a local feel. It feels like you’re talking to somebody in our office. He’s a regular member of our team and and we’ve been able to to get him embedded with the company and with the approach and he’s been very effective.

00:08:39:21 – 00:09:03:04
Daniel Ramsey
Well, how have you done that? I mean, sounds like you’ve worked in the outsource world, so you probably understood what needed to happen in order to make that right. But what do you think you’ve done that has gotten, Mark, I mean, obviously that you selected correctly, he had the right background and the right criteria. But there’s got to be something about how you’ve worked with him and also your other internal staff to make this a more positive thing.

00:09:03:04 – 00:09:13:15
Daniel Ramsey
I mean, what I heard is the biggest challenge that you have is recruiting and you’ve empowered your virtual assistant Mark, to do that for your company. So let’s talk about how you’ve made that successful.

00:09:14:12 – 00:09:30:15
Robert W. Massie
Yeah. So I had never really done this before. I’ve been part of a company that did it, but, uh, so we learned as we went. But one thing we learned in the very beginning was that you’ve got to, you’ve got to bring them up as if you would any other employee who is part of the team and in the office.

00:09:30:23 – 00:09:49:15
Robert W. Massie
So he went through all of the same training that all of our other staff has gone through. He attends all of the same meetings that our other staff attends. Um, we spent a lot of time getting connected. So for example, he has an extension on our phone system. They call my office and 209 you’re going to get Mark right now.

00:09:49:15 – 00:10:09:04
Robert W. Massie
He’s working halfway around the world, but he’s there answering the phone. He answered the phone the same way we do. He operates on the same computer system that we do. He has all the same screens and access. He manages all of the same tools. So he is in the office in the sense that he’s got everything that anyone else here has.

00:10:09:04 – 00:10:32:23
Robert W. Massie
He just doesn’t get in the car and drive to this particular building every day. Um, and, and then the communication is the next thing. We have typically 3 to 4 meetings with Mark a week. I have at least two a week with Mark and I have at least two and every one of my other staff. So we, we have that same level of communication with Mark.

00:10:32:23 – 00:10:56:09
Robert W. Massie
He’s in our email system. He has the same email addresses that we all have that the he’s got to be successful this effort you really have to integrate it operational. Um, as if they were right there in the next office and it took us a while to get them done, you know, and to ramp it up and get him through the training and get things moving smoothly.

00:10:56:09 – 00:11:18:16
Robert W. Massie
I would say it’s about a 60 day period maybe before you start clicking a little bit and then another 60 days before things really start to move. But in the past four or five or six months, you know, it’s been very effective. And I think you’d have to ask Mark, but I think he feels he’s a member of the team and he feels like he knows everything is going on in the office.

00:11:19:17 – 00:11:33:04
Daniel Ramsey
I love that, Robert. I love that. What advice would you give to other health care company providers like yourself, considering hiring a virtual assistant and doing this outsource work, what advice would you give them?

00:11:33:04 – 00:12:00:06
Robert W. Massie
Well, so I think that you have to take a little bit of a leap of faith and and recognize that time and space do not have the same kinds of meanings and limitations that it used to have. Technology has enabled us to to minimize the impact of time and space. So any any function that can be done remotely where physical presence really isn’t required.

00:12:00:06 – 00:12:19:10
Robert W. Massie
And if you think about a business, the administrative functions of the business, almost all of them fit that to some degree. Then it’s a candidate for outsourcing, and then it’s a matter of choosing Where are you going to get your best impact? And and in our case, a recruiter here is so expensive and it’s so difficult to retain them.

00:12:20:07 – 00:12:43:11
Robert W. Massie
There’s so many opportunities here for recruiters, for good h.r. People that that was a and that was a logical choice. The fact that we were highly dependent upon that made it a slightly risky choice. But again, it’s like anything else when you when you hit the ball hard and right down the line, you know, you may not get a home run, but you’re going to hit a triple.

00:12:43:11 – 00:13:11:12
Robert W. Massie
And we managed to figure out how to do that. Um, so it was very cost effective. It allowed us to, to have the attention and the time given to that function that we otherwise were having double trouble getting. Um, and it turned out to be very, very, the outcomes can’t be argued with we’re getting four plus a week in the doors on our staff and that’s effectively twice what we were doing prior.

00:13:11:12 – 00:13:27:08
Daniel Ramsey
So I love that. What would you I’m just going to everybody knows that our folks are about $20,000 a year. That’s the total cost. Robert, what would you have to pay for somebody physically in your office, in your market if you had to replace Mark?

00:13:28:11 – 00:13:51:03
Robert W. Massie
So really solid h.r. People and recruiting people cost 60 to $70000 a year. You know, if you really wanted a level be pay a little bit more than that, you’re really not going to get anything less than 50. No one’s even going to answer the ad and come talk to you if you’re below 50 or 55. So yeah, it’s extremely cost effective for us.

00:13:52:03 – 00:14:00:08
Daniel Ramsey
So it’s a it’s a forex return on what you would be paying and you’re getting the exact same results, results you would expect if you, if you were to hire local.

00:14:01:05 – 00:14:17:16
Robert W. Massie
Yeah, that’s exactly right. I would not have expected it was going to be quite that successful. And I thought, okay, it’s going to be about half as much. And if I can get 70% of what I would have gotten otherwise, maybe that it but I’m getting 120% of what I got or 150% of what I used to get.

00:14:18:02 – 00:14:22:05
Robert W. Massie
And it’s less than half the cost of a really good recruiter.

00:14:23:04 – 00:14:32:12
Daniel Ramsey
And with that, we’ve got to drop the mic. Okay, Robert, you’ve been amazing. Thank you so much for joining us today. Really appreciate your time and sharing with your experience with my advice.

00:14:33:06 – 00:14:38:13
Robert W. Massie
And pleasure to meet you, Daniel, and I’m glad I can help.