Joe Steier – Signature Health Care
Signature HealthCARE is a long-term health care and rehabilitation company with 143 locations in 11 states and nearly 24,000 employees. A growing number of Signature centers are earning five-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Signature was named “Best Places to Work in KY” in 2014 and 2015 by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and was nationally awarded by Modern Healthcare in 2013 and 2015.
Signature’s organizational culture is founded on three pillars: Learning, Spirituality, and Intra-preneurship.
• Best Places to Work in Healthcare, Modern Healthcare
• BEST Award, ATD (Association for Talent Development)
• Best Nursing Homes, U.S. News & World Report
• QAPI (Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement) Accreditations and Embracing Quality Awards, Providigm
• Best Places to Work in Kentucky, Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
• Best Places to Work in Greater Louisville, Louisville Business First
• Partners in Healthcare, Louisville Business First
President and CEO
E. Joseph Steier, III, Ed. D, MBA, CPA, was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He and his wife, Sony, have four children. Mr. Steier graduated from Bellarmine University with a degree in Accounting, and he later earned a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Healthcare from the University of Miami. He was more recently awarded his Doctorate from the University of Penn/Wharton.
In 1999, Mr. Steier joined Home Quality Management, now Signature HealthCARE LLC, as the President to help grow the small organization into a regional family-based long-term healthcare provider. Today, as President and CEO of Signature HealthCARE, Mr. Steier focuses on innovative Quality of Life programs, a thriving interfaith spirituality focus, and aggressive plans for organizational learning to meet the real needs of his residents and stakeholders
What were your early influences?
Start out early. I had a paper route. I got into the bar and pizza business by hiring my friends. When you start early, you are going to make a ton of mistakes. My mistakes didn’t kill me. A lot of people wait for the perfect time or the perfect year. I started in the bar business at 21/22. I knew I wanted to own a business and wanted to be self-employed from 16 years old and on. The sooner get you started the better.
How were your parents an influence?
My father was a brick layer who became an apprenticeship teacher for the state. He taught me that the guys that create the jobs and print the payroll checks are the guys that matter. He made me think that creating jobs is cool. When you build something and feed families, that’s the great thing to do. That got me thinking and believing a lot that a job is a sacred thing.
How do you hire?
I had small businesses where I hired people where I knew the person or I hired reputations, which is good and bad. Now that I have over 25,000 employees we are much more focused on pre-selection tools, predictive indexes, things that are more diagnostic driven. However, I still interview every leader personally. I think when you hire leaders and managers you have to own that. I never wanted to sub out the hiring piece. That’s the one thing you want to be right about – hiring the right leaders. We use a lot of behavioral interviewing, you look at people’s upbringing, their values, what their experiences were, what were their setbacks.
I try to focus on one life defining moment. What is your personal mission statement. If they don’t have one, that’s a problem because it’s important. On their life defining moment – I want to see if they are authentic and vulnerable. I want to see if they can share.
When I look back on a prospective candidate’s life, I reflect on those tragedies and successes that are defining for them. I want to see how they can share those and communicate those to me. It is very important that I have that deep connection. I really focus more on the story telling and journey vs. the resume or degree.
What’s your life advice for men 30 +
My mentors would say find a way to do big businesses and small businesses. What I try to do is keep 2 -3 side businesses because you use a different skillset. When you are in a big organization, the learning and training is invaluable. When you are in a small business, you are learning to grow your skillset in a wide range and you get a background in diversity. I tried to learn both big business and small business together at the same time. It makes life more complicated, but the learning is great. I think you learn how to skill things faster. I didn’t want to get to where I was the smartest guy in the room. I think you have to be careful of that as a young leader. If you are the smartest guy in the room, it is probably the wrong place for you.
When I worked at Coopers & Vencor, I was surrounded by people that were brilliant and they educated me while I was working for them, but I kept businesses on the side so that I could put my learning to use. At Signature, I try to make sure my people can do small business and big business together. It is equally important for a leader to have a lot of range. If we could build kids that don’t overspecialize and get more range, that’s really important right now.