How Brooke Taylor built one of the nation’s leading workplace injury management businesses

Brooke Taylor began her career as an occupational therapist at a psychiatric inpatient ward, before moving into an Australia-wide occupation therapy injury treatment company where she discovered a gap in the market.

Injury Treatment was founded in 2005 and provides workplace injury prevention and rehabilitation services to many of Australia’s largest businesses and workers compensation insurers. Taylor’s previous workplace had provided a similar service, but predominately hired recently graduated employees. With this knowledge, Injury Treatment was founded on the premise of hiring only high calibre, experienced allied health professionals.

Eight years in and Injury Treatment now employs 120 experienced health professionals, occupational therapists, psychologists, vocational counsellors and support staff. In the past six years the business’s growth has accelerated with the annual growth rate increasing to just over 50% and last financial year the business had a turnover of $15 million.

SmartCompany spoke to Taylor about her Australia-wide expansion plans, creating a unique service offering and the importance of family time.

Name: Brooke Taylor

Company: Injury Treatment

Location: Melbourne

Mornings

An early riser, Taylor starts her day around 6am.

“I take my Labrador, Spencer, for a walk and then get Josie, my two-year-old, out of bed.

Taylor’s daily routine involves many meetings with business partners, but she says there’s “never a dull moment”.

“Usually I’m in the office by 8am, and between 8am and around 6pm I usually have back-to-back meetings.

“Standard meetings for me on a daily basis include key topics such as product development, quality and continuous improvement and strategic business planning.

Daily life

When Taylor isn’t meeting with her staff to improve her business, she’s working with clients around Australia.

“When I’m not in the Injury Treatment head office, I’m typically in a customer meeting either in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra or Melbourne,” she says.

Primarily, Taylor is responsible for Injury Treatment’s account management and product and quality management teams.

“We have a strong chief operations manager who manages the delivery side of our business with more than 10 managers reporting in to him. So after ensuring my staff are well supported and challenged I spend most of my time with customers.

“This enables Injury Treatment to understand the changing needs of our customers and to respond through rapid product development and quality assurance initiatives,” she says.

Taylor says the consulting team drives the business’s profitability and this is where the majority of the efforts are focused.

“Our key cost and driver of revenue is our consulting team. At a team level within the business, to ensure an appropriate level of profitability, we focus on two key areas – the productivity of consultants and the ratio of salaries to revenue.

“From an external perspective we focus on the delivery of effective return to work outcomes, costs and durations for our clients,” she says.

Within the business, Taylor says despite having a natural hierarchy, she aims to promote a flat organisational structure and encourage staff to achieve personal business goals.

“We try to promote a sense of informality combined with responsibility to achieve longer term goals. This is a hard balance to achieve, but we feel our professionals need flexibility and autonomy to ensure role satisfaction.

“More recently we have implemented dedicated roles to quality, learning and development and human resources all of who have KPIs in the area of staff development and retention,” she says.

In the beginning, Injury Treatment’s growth was organic, but Taylor says this arose through its carefully planned differentiation compared to other market players.

“Early growth was organic and customer attraction was very rapid and unplanned. The strategy was to outperform the competition through the delivery of customised injury management solutions which were not replicated in the industry. This differentiation strategy gave rise to Injury Treatment’s four guiding principles, which are experienced staff, quality, customisation of service, and innovation.

“In the latter years we have taken a much more structured pattern of growth to ensure we are taking a risk management approach, ensuring our business is able to sustain itself within our working capital constraints,” she says.

Now, Taylor says growth is strategic and delivered through three ways:

“Adding services which complement our offering and enable the delivery of customised solutions for our customers; diversifying our customer base to ensure we are not too reliant on any one customer; and servicing geographic areas where there is a demand for our unique offering.”

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