Rich Isola can sum up his career philosophy with one simple phrase: “I live to make my clients the heroes.” All companies and consultants pledge to serve their clients well, but for Isola, it goes beyond lip service. He’s passionate about accomplishing business transformations and reaching financial goals without sacrificing customer service or relationships along the way. That principle guided him early in his career and later led him to KPMG, where he helps clients in healthcare and other fields leverage cloud-based technology to enhance their delivery of HR services.
Isola was originally interested in finance, and upon graduating from college, he interviewed with leading financial services firms. While most executives grilled him about nuanced securities codes or complex financial strategies, few talked about their goals for actually helping clients.
He noticed a difference at Hewitt Associates; there, he found like-minded leaders who made customer service their top priority. He joined the organization and spent seven years working to customize HR solutions for clients in nonprofit healthcare, public funds, and other areas.
After honing his skills for nearly a decade, Isola moved to Oracle Corporation as a practice director, where he had a front-row seat to the tech revolution of the late 1990s and early 2000s. In that era, Oracle was launching robust database and e-business tools while providing hosting, consulting, and training to help clients leverage data and become more effective. As the company started taking HR applications online, Isola helped his clients access their systems and data remotely, through the internet, for the first time.
Fast-paced innovation continued to change the industry, and Isola joined a small start-up called Taleo Corporation to focus on providing talent acquisition and management HR services entirely through cloud technology. In 2015, he transitioned to KPMG to further deliver HR technology to clients through an all-cloud solution.
As a partner and practice leader, Isola gives his clients the ability to “understand and deploy the latest and greatest technologies” across their entire organizations. Those clients include healthcare providers and payors along with premier retail, transportation services, consumer product and high-tech companies.
Isola and his team work to enhance HR delivery through digital transformation, and over the last two years have showcased what they can do in the healthcare space and beyond. “Digital transformation was once an aspirational goal that had to compete with other priorities, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it an urgent business imperative,” Isola says.
KPMG’s dedicated expert teams have partnered with their clients to build customized solutions that support every moment in the employee experience. Cloud-based features let employees take time off, schedule shifts, access benefits, and complete other tasks faster and easier than ever before. This helps hospitals, health systems, organizations, and businesses attract and retain frontline workers and other associates facing COVID-related burnout.
When it comes to healthcare, Isola is particularly interested in breaking down silos. “We often meet our clients when various functions aren’t collaborating as well as they could be, and our solutions erode these barriers to streamline everything in a way that benefits employees, managers, and leaders,” he says.
Today, as Isola’s teams help clients move all HR technology to the cloud to replace outdated on-premise systems, he’s thinking about the intersection of finance and profitability with healthcare. The switch to cloud brings constant innovation and support and limits both cost and manpower associated with ongoing upgrades and maintenance.
In early 2020, KPMG deployed a comprehensive HR technology transformation for VITAS Healthcare, a palliative care provider with locations and services in fourteen states. The organization employs about ten thousand professionals who travel the nation to provide care for more than eighteen thousand patients each day.
Many of these care providers are on the road and not often in the office or in front of a desktop computer. KPMG’s cloud-based solution builds flexibility and mobility into all the software its teams deploy. Thus, the client’s employees can now check payroll, submit expense reports, enter time cards, and perform all other HR functions on smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices.
Isola and KMPG are also introducing the latest innovations to help train remote, hybrid, and in-office employees. Chatbots, videos, and other tools deliver all the information HR teams need to communicate to their associates without the need for lengthy in-person visits or on-site training sessions.
“Using the latest technology is critical to the employee experience,” Isola says. “These are the things you have to do if you want your people to stay and grow with you, and if you do them, you have a clear advantage in the marketplace.”
As quickly as things are changing in healthcare and other industries, Isola is excited about the future. He’s watching for new innovations he can help deploy for new and existing clients alike. “There are technological advancements every day,” he says. “And when we build these things into our solutions, we help take our clients to new heights.”