Friday, April 03, 2009

Paul Solman on PBS tells the BIDMC story

Paul Solman, on PBS' Newshour with Jim Lehrer, provided a view tonight of recent activities at a musical instrument company in Elkhart, Indiana, and at BIDMC, emphasizing the participation by a wide range of staff members in efforts to avoid layoffs and protect lower wage workers. Here's a more detailed discussion on Paul's Business Desk site.

Those of you following this blog have seen lots of details on this already, but I thought you would be interested in a few aspects of that participation.

After I sent out my first budget message and held town meetings with what must have been 2000 employees, I received about 2700 suggestions and comments in form of direct emails, Facebook messages, and comments on the chat room we had set up. (For context, remember that we have about 6400 full-time equivalent employees and about 800 doctors who work here.)

After I sent out the second message, outlining ideas that I was tentatively thinking of adopting, I received another 800 messages and chat room suggestions. And, after I sent out the final message with our detailed budget plan, I received about 100 comments.

I do not yet have the final numbers of how many generous doctors and other staff have sent in donations, but it is already several dozen, offering tens of thousands of dollars in gifts to save more jobs.


Anonymous said...

I just finished watching The Lehrer News Hour about what you did, & was very moved. You restored a human heart & face to the Ceo. Corporate America would scoff @ those who don't need more money be willing to sacrifice in order not to burden those who a struggling.The consensus for cutting the work force while simultaneously (secretly) approving bonuses for top paid Exec's is to keep top talent. I understand the reasoning to a point, but what you did needs to be commended. King Solomon said in Proverbs "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed", & He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God".

e-Patient Dave said...

I too saw that segment, and I urge people to watch it. (Click the Streaming Video link.)

News Hour provided a broader context than NBC, because the community at BIDMC stands in stark contrast to other organizations. Re one, the announcer says "the militants think pain-sharing is a euphemism for business as usual, with the workers sharing all the pain." One worker is quoted: "My opinion would be to inflict as much damage on this company as they have inflicted on the workers." At another, workers rejected 157-39 a 10% wage cut that was proposed to save lower-paying jobs. And at a local university, a voluntary giveback program got some participation, but only 36%; a professor is quoted with quite an adversarial remark.

Parting thoughts:

1. Can there be any better proof of the ROI of trust and transparency? And the value of a caring community?

2. For managers who want to move to the new world of transparency and trust: do it. I imagine you might think "I don't know how to do this," but y'know what? Say so. Tell people that. Tell them you're in it together and you'll work with them if they'll work with you.

Hell, Paul didn't know squat 'bout running no hospitals when he walked in. And he said so, and talked to people.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

We haven't had any further communication since we got the number down to 140. Can you say about when your next communication will be going out?

BIDMC Employee