Saturday, March 22, 2014
Generic Hospice: Bad Memories of Our Bully
Your stories of high turnover from a bully Site Director echoed my experience with Generic Hospice. In my eleven years with the organization I've had good, great and sorry local leaders. The first four years we had very little turnover, 10% per year, maybe 15% in a bad year. The next four were very different. Turnover soared to 40% or more annually. When the company hires hands (not committed, engaged hearts/minds), it's easy to replace them with another set.
This was punctuated by a visit from corporate HR, supposedly concerned about turnover. Oddly, they didn't talk privately to anyone who'd left or were planning to leave. They didn't explore exit interviews or post-employment surveys for concerning issues. They didn't administer a confidential survey to take the pulse of our team.
HR offered employees one option, large group meetings in which to share concerns. Less than a third of our staff showed up at the group sessions. It became clear HR wasn't there to explore turnover at all. They didn't come to deeply understand current thinking at our site on a range of issues.
Their fraudulent consultation resulted in promises about supporting staff better. These did not last. Retribution needed to be made. Our bully Site Director continued their practice of identifying the few "problem people" preventing us from achieving greatness. The victims were psychologically tortured.
Fortunately, the bully's egocentricity impacted referral relationships. Corporate didn't care about their people, but they cared mightily about money. They couldn't see the damage from losing caring nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteer coordinators, nurse aides and bereavement counselors but they could comprehend declining patient volumes.
Our ex-dedicated, caring hospice professionals turned into a local "abused alumni" association, firmly aligned against our bully Site Director. Referrals declined. The bully blamed marketers. While our staff revolving door never ended under their tormentor-ship, patients leaving would not be tolerated. It took years but corporate finally saw something they couldn't enable.
To the very end the bully remained unaware of their role in decimating our site. They didn't go away quietly, but they did eventually go away. It took years to build back what they'd destroyed.
I can't tell you how dark things were for so long. It cannot be put into words and feels absolutely awful. I expect that's where you and your hospice are at the moment. Hospice work is difficult enough without the daily machinations of bad management. Add the twisted thought patterns and cruel actions of bully managers and the work becomes nearly unbearable. I wish you and the people at your site courage, strength and peace.