Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just What The Doctor Ordered

It was quite refreshing to read a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about a local prestigious hospital, Emory Healthcare. This hospital has been hit hard like many other hospital systems. Patients are seeking healthcare with no insurance and the stock market has decimated their investments by $50 million. They are fortunate that during this tough period they have remained profitable. However the bottom line still suffered a $20 million dollar loss according to the CEO, Jeff Fox.

Most organizations facing this type of loss would start looking at layoffs. In the healthcare industry, this would affect customer care. Emory decided to try another approach first. It is an old fashioned tried and true technique – talk to all employees, explain the situation and ask for their ideas on how to get through it. Employees suggested hundreds of cost saving ideas which translated to a savings of $30 million dollars. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered!

The ideas ranged from employees reducing paid time off by one day to giving up benefits in order to save jobs. All employees will feel the changes in their pay. That obviously was a small and acceptable price to pay when the alternative was job losses and reduced patient care. No layoffs are scheduled at this time. I wish this stuff was rocket science then it would be easier to not act because you just aren’t smart enough. It is not that tough so there are no excuses.

Employees will rally and support leadership when engaged in the process. Are you willing to ask employees for their ideas. The team knows these are tough times. They will buy in to tough decisions if you involve them. Start talking, leading and asking. They get it.

Make something good happen today.

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