Two years ago, Verus embarked on an exploration and subsequent revision of our strategic plan. During that process, we identified the need to bring together Verus leadership with more of our employees in a more collaborative environment in order to have an even greater positive impact on our operation.
What resulted was a new five-year plan and a major internal restructuring with strategy-focused, diversified teams—across departments and job roles—that include top leadership and professionals with different areas of expertise. These teams, which launched in January 2018 (along with our new strategic plan) align with the four key goal areas our organization identified during the strategic planning process.
- Product development and revenue diversification – bringing diverse new products and services to the market that enhance our customers’ ability to meet their business objectives.
- Integration and profit optimization – efficiently and effectively integrating new services into our operation as we grow and diversify.
- Talent development and resiliency –knowing a strong organization stems from its people; this area includes training, development and succession planning as well as disaster recovery and cybersecurity.
- Service – comprises a limited number of individuals: (CEO Mark Eveland, Director of Finance Matthew Nissen, HR Director Lori Todaro and General Counsel Deb Zonies). This team’s goal is to provide governance around the whole process and ensure its effectiveness.
Each of these strategy teams has specific sets of objectives they are tasked to achieve. By working on those objectives in interdisciplinary teams, Verus is bringing a new model of how we work, make decisions and implement change in order to continuously improve our products and services for our clients.
Through their exposure not only to each other but to strategies and objectives they might not have previously dealt with, these team members are gaining a deeper understanding of why and how we make decisions and are working more effectively together to achieve their goals. In addition, they are developing new skills, contributing more to the conversation and developing new ideas collaboratively.
In order to make our new process more effective, we have implemented some key governance tools:
1 – Corporate Goals Matrix – A collaborative software platform used to gauge progress and manage deadlines, foster collaboration and help teams achieve their goal objectives.
2 – RACI Matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) – Encourages the delegation and transparency of decision making by providing visibility into what decisions are to be made at the team levels and which are to be elevated to the board of managers.
3 – Comprehensive, interactive dashboards – Using customized general ledger software, dashboards have been created to provide teams with real time data by which to measure their progress towards their strategic objectives. For transparency, all employees have access to a corporate dashboard which is maintained to reflect progress towards high level goals on the company’s five year plan.
Ultimately, this new team approach has been years in the making at Verus. Since its inception, Verus has been founded on the principle that stronger teams are defined by their ability to offer diffused strategic thinking and problem solving for the benefit of our clients. With many examples to draw upon over the past years, one such example that comes to mind involves a team that was tasked with addressing a routine client issue: the amount of documents submitted by claimants, which frequently includes multiple copies of identical documentation, often slowing down the process and leading to delayed workflows. Verus wanted to find a solution that would cut down this time to reduce throughput time for trusts and the time for eligible injured parties to receive their funds. A Verus multidisciplinary team comprised of statisticians, engineers, IT, finance and operations professionals, first looked at how engineers had solved pattern detection problems in a wide range of industries. Through this effort we found a way to build into our workflow a process to identify and remove duplicate supporting documents and apply this process across an entire portfolio of claims. Over the next few weeks, and a few generations of algorithms later, the end results were truly staggering. By storing data captured from a unique document only once and associating that data with every duplicate instance of that document within a given claim file, the team was able to rapidly deal with the increase volume of documentation and reduce the impact this duplication of documentation would have had on costs.
At Verus, we believe that diversity of thought, perspective, skill and expertise in the workplace delivers tremendous innovative value to the organization and its clients. By giving more employees a seat at the corporate table, we are able to better develop and grow our staff, build a strong succession plan and foster company growth because more people have a stake in our future success. Our collaborative, cross-departmental team model is enabling us to continuously improve our processes so that we can continue to fulfill our mission of continuously improving the products and services we offer to our clients.