“One of the promises I made myself, when I felt confident enough to lead, and a value that I cherish the most, is to genuinely question and understand the challenges either the business faces, an individual faces, or our clients face.”
Ian Talbot, CEO of Healix Health Services, stated this when asked about his dedication to his company, the employees, and customers. Ian joined Healix ten years ago as a Business Consultant. His fundamental values are all fundamentally focused on the cultural side of the business, including being genuine and open with all internal staff and externally with clients.
“Recently we have worked with many of our corporate clients to introduce gender dysphoria benefits and appreciate that benefits like neurodevelopmental support are critical for the future employee. We work very closely with clients to understand the outcomes they are looking for, and work hard to understand the needs of individuals within their organisation,” says Ian.
“This has also become imbued in our staff culture. I work hard to understand what people’s ambitions are and how they’re looking to drive their careers forward.”
For Ian, it’s fundamental that if Healix challenges staff to be their best, they’re given the proper training and skills to do the job. This can be done through external and internal training, but he says it’s ultimately down to the individuals and their line manager to work through what success looks like for them.
“This year, we’ve simplified the reward and objective structure to keep it to one simple side of A4, which includes two or three business and personal objectives. Ultimately, it’s about asking people what they need from us as a business to thrive at work,” explains Ian. “The theme of 2024 is how do we, as a management team and as an organisation allow you to thrive? It’s a two-way conversation. That ultimately goes back to the question, ‘What are your ambitions and desires for the role?’
Now more than ever, employees are looking for a robust framework and pathway to better themselves. Whether it’s physically, emotionally, or in their chosen careers. Recent research has shown that 82% of employees say it’s vital for their organisation to see them as a person, not just a member of staff, yet only 45% of them believe their employer sees them this way. As a benefits provider, Ian leads from the front and ensures that the staff can access the best possible outcomes.
Leading the Company
Ian is not a morning person, which has taught him that every individual is different and has different work styles. For him, it is not about creating a singular structure that everyone has to follow but rather an environment where he has been allowed to challenge the boss and assert his way of doing things.
Healix is doing so well because people are allowed to deliver on things, and there is no interference from any external entity. “There’s no way I could do what they do. It’s about being humble as a leader and acknowledging that the team works so much better when they’re part of the decision-making process,” elucidates Ian. “This crucially allows me to plan strategic thinking into my day.”
For the pioneering leader, defining success is hard, but he thinks there’s something important about legacy. He knows that when he has retired, he wants to look back and rest assured that he built something tremendous and given people opportunities.
“It’s about acknowledging how difficult life is and rewarding yourself. Saying well done to yourself is probably the hardest bit in business. This is especially difficult in leadership because it’s quite a lonely job,” Ian states. “You’ve got to remember the good things you do because classic British culture and how we are in the Western world is that we’re always going to be reminded of what we do wrong.
For Ian, it’s about having that ability in his thinking time to say it was a good move and decision.
Ian wants Healix to support businesses in helping their people build resilience and encouraging organisational processes and initiatives. Assisting people to keep their emotional well-being is so essential that they can tackle the dark days. “If I don’t live and breathe those values as a business leader, how can I recommend that to clients or their business?”
Redefining the Healthcare Arena
Today, healthcare is a topic of consideration and debate for everyone, culminating in enormous opportunity. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Ian sees this as a chance to take the company’s offering to the marketplace and be much more direct with their approach to organisations.
“We can do this by continuing to work with our intermediary partners and ultimately getting the message out there as often as possible. We’re also looking at broadening our offering. My expectation over the next 18 months is that we’ll undergo some significant acquisitions.
“We want to broaden our footprint in the healthcare market and that’s not just in private medical care. The key word there is ‘care’. We want to use our in-built expertise to give people the right help when they need it the most,” explains Ian. “When we decided that we were going to regrow our corporate book, we sat down as a management team and asked what the consequences might be. The obvious one is that if we win more clients, then the service levels to our existing clients will potentially tip unless we change our service model or increase our staff or resources.”
This led to a massive overhaul of the company’s operational structure, and they delivered all of that before they acquired new clients. That’s the real difference with Healix. “This approach has really paid dividends. We’ve doubled the size of the employees working in the Healix Health business in the last 18 months and will have 120 staff by August. Income has also grown by about 80% in the same period,” says Ian. “My mission is to make Healix a recognised healthcare business in the UK market. It’s not all about numbers, for me, it’s about recognition that we are delivering a service that is one of the best services an organisation can get, not just from their healthcare supplier, but from any business partner that they have.”
For the days to come, the company will continue towards structured growth plans, which they have seen great success with recently. It will also look at opportunities in all healthcare sectors, such as individuals, small companies, medium-sized companies, or traditional corporate companies.
They plan on broadening their healthcare service, so they are looking at healthcare and care in general. “Part of that roadmap is placing a huge investment into marketing, and there’s a big commitment from me to invest in systems and IT to support the team to deliver on our goals,” concludes Ian.