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Leerom Segal: At Klick Health, everyone’s in the loop

Leerom Segal helped found Klick Health when he was 17.

Tim Fraser/The Globe and Mail

Talent matters in a big way for a professional services company. Leerom Segal, chief executive officer of Klick Health in Toronto, ascribes to this thinking and works hard to attract bright, creative minds to the digital health agency he co-founded 17 years ago.

Mr. Segal also believes employees perform better when they work in an environment that helps them succeed at every step. With this in mind, Mr. Segal created a workplace system that does just that.

"The goal is really for us to create the most efficient and empowering work space for our people so the tools are supporting them instead of getting in their way," explains Mr. Segal, who was just 17 when he and his partners founded Klick Health, which provides digital marketing services, such as Web content, apps and e-learning courses, for the health care industry.

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Klick Health's work system, called Genome, is built on ticketing software similar to what company help desks use to manage customers. At Klick Health, every project generates a ticket and everything employees do is tied to the ticket. All written communications also take place in Genome – e-mail is verboten at Klick Health – on a social media platform that makes it easier for employees to share ideas and keep track of a project's progress.

But here's where Genome gets really interesting: It mines data to anticipate employee needs based on personal experience and the task at hand. For example, an employee flying out to a client's site to discuss a project will get a comprehensive information package containing details such as the client's corporate history, project financials and previous dealings with Klick Health.

"So while I'm on the plane I can look at that one long digest of everything that's happening with this client," says Mr. Segal. "This helps me avoid getting blindsided when I go into that meeting."

Because Genome tracks what every employee does within the system, it knows if a particular employee is about to perform a task for the first time and can direct that employee to a training video. It might also suggest connecting with another Klick Health employee who has experience with the task, or who has worked before with the same client. Genome can even send an alert when that employee is nearby – the system is connected to the company's card-based security system and knows when employees are in the office and on what floor.

Genome also helps employees avoid mistakes by listing red flags in a project.

With Genome, Klick Health is doing for its employees what companies such as Amazon and Google have long been doing for its customers: using technology to understand and satisfy their needs and preferences, says Mr. Segal. As a result, Klick Health has maintained a low annual employee turnover rate of 3 per cent, compared with an average of more than 7 per cent among all Canadian employers and even higher in the services sector.

The company also continues to enjoy double-digit growth year after year, says Mr. Segal. Today, Klick Health is a $100-million business with more than 400 employees in North America and around the world.

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"Relative to our peers, our performance has been amazing – even in a bad year, we grew 30 per cent," says Mr. Segal. "In a talent-centric business such as ours, you need to empower your high-performance people to make the right decisions, and to do that you need to provide them with the information they need when they need it."

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