Sunday, July 14, 2013

Race to the Bottom on Human Resources


After reading your note about the drive to the bottom in treatment of employees, I too sought out a nonhospice Human Resources manager and asked him a few questions.  I recalled the time when HR tried to strike a balance between economic and employee concerns.  Together, we lamented its dying.

The human resources profession is not what it was.  In the last ten years, he'd seen human resources become a tool for senior management to further tilt the power scale in their favor.  He found new programs provided lip service to caring for employees.  Some lacked substance and capability, while others actually cut valuable pay or benefits.

This Human Resource disingenuousness is rife at Gentiva, which recently cut paid time off by 40 hours per year for employees hired after January 1, 2013.  The company did not come clean by announcing the change to all employees and stating critical, strategic reasoning behind such a move.

I assume they did it because they could.  Maybe it will help Senior Executives get their executive incentive compensation.  Anyway, it sent the message that Gentiva has two classes of employees.  Those hired before 1-1-13, are more valuable and need more time off to refresh, recharge.  Those hired after 1-1-13 are less valuable.

Gentiva's new clinical ladder is clearly a lip service program.  Human Resources is no longer responsible for ensuring employees are paid fairly based on their education, experience, skills and training.  That burden falls to the employee.  Employee must spend 40 hours putting together an application notebook, then submit that to a review committee where they have a 50-50 chance of garnering the reward or being determined a failure.  The process has a Roman Coliseum like feel.

Gentiva has 8,000 nurses and horrific employee turnover.  The Clinical Ladder has a fraction of clinical employees participating, less than 200 company wide.  The company bragged that in one region retention among 25 clinical ladder participants was 100%.  The 100% retention applied to one third of one percent of Gentiva employees.  This brings to mind the story of the Emperor with No Clothes as the program covers the teeniest percent of the company's human workforce. 

Gentiva has a compliance hotline for employees.  I know a number of people have contacted this hotline with ethical concerns.  One nurse was told "if you don't provide your name, your issue will not go forward."  This person did not feel supported in the least.  There was literally nowhere to share a confidential concern.

To sum up Gentiva Human Resources has a two tiered class of employees, a system for "fair pay" that 99.7% of staff aren't getting, and offers a tin ear to employees with ethical concerns.  This explains why it's been years since the company did an employee survey.  It's also been years since employees got a raise.

Gentiva is one face in the race to bottom on Human Resources.  The rabbit hole deepens...


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