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Ducks in a Row: The Ultimate In Employee Trashing

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017


“We value/care about our employees” is one of the most hypocritical statements companies make these days.

(“Our customers are very important to us” is the other.)

Want proof?

The Republican-controlled Congress is pushing through a bill to give corporations the ability to intrude deeper and more personally into your life than ever before.

A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information. (…) The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a ‘workplace wellness’ program.

This mean that, in the name of “wellness,” your boss will know if you were treated for an STD or that you are predisposed for alcoholism, Parkinson’s, cancer, or whatever.

Not only your boss, but the unregulated company that runs your company’s wellness program, but is not constrained by HIPPA rules.

Employers, especially large ones, generally hire outside companies to run them [wellness programs]. These companies are largely unregulated, and they are allowed to see genetic test results with employee names. (…) They sometimes sell the health information they collect from employees.

Can your company actually force you to comply?

No, but the penalty for refusing is costly in the form of higher insurance premiums and co-pays.

No health insurance at your company? You could still take a major financial hit.

If an employer has a wellness program but does sponsor health insurance, rather than increasing insurance premiums, the employer could dock the paychecks of workers who don’t participate.

In general, Corporate America’s attitude towards its employees reflects its attitude towards customers.

For the most part, that ranges from “general nuisance” to “necessary evil.”

And while the number of exceptions to that attitude, at least when it comes to customers, is growing, it doesn’t always apply to employees.

As the provisions of this long-desired bill prove.

That said, it will be a great recruiting tool for those companies that don’t do it.

Image credit: Daniel R. Blume

How to Sell More

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

http://www.flickr.com/photos/streamishmc/2256647852/Most businesses are lamenting the slow economy.

They have done all the cost-cutting possible and are still whining (through sky-high profits) that people aren’t buying.

I find this extremely funny (in a sickly way), since the reason people aren’t spending is that those same companies have slashed wages to the point they have no disposable income or they just aren’t hiring.

“The real reason businesses aren’t hiring is they’re not seeing consumer demand for their goods and services increase,” she said. “We need greater demand for goods and services. It is clearly true that if people receive higher incomes, that will help the economy.”Heidi Shierholz, economist at the Economic Policy Institute

Even more revolting is the prevalent attitude that workers don’t deserve better pay, since they are strictly a “cost of doing business” and costs should be kept ultra-low.

That level of stupidity is breathtaking, although not terribly surprising.

Corporate America still hasn’t figured out that without people there is no company, but you would think they had noticed the connection between what people earn and what they spend.

That isn’t exactly rocket science thinking.

Henry Ford figured it out way back in the early 1900s when he raised his workers wages to a then-unheard-of level.

Ford was a pioneer of “welfare capitalism”, designed to improve the lot of his workers and especially to reduce the heavy turnover that had many departments hiring 300 men per year to fill 100 slots. Efficiency meant hiring and keeping the best workers.

Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5 per day wage ($110 today), which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers. (…) The move proved extremely profitable; instead of constant turnover of employees, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Ford, bringing their human capital and expertise, raising productivity, and lowering training costs.

Ford wasn’t being kind; he understood that if he wanted to sell cars people needed enough disposable income to buy them.

Ford’s policy proved, however, that paying people more would enable Ford workers to afford the cars they were producing and be good for the economy.

But Ford’s attitudes towards business, bosses and people don’t fly well in the 21st Century world.

If anyone of significance today said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business,” Wall Street would poop its collective pants.

(Hat tip to KG Charles Harris for sending the article.)

Flickr image credit: {Guerrilla Futures | Jason…

Why You Should Fill Your Company With Middle Mangers

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

I love it. In November BNet posted 10 Reasons why middle managers are more valuable than CEOs—but you knew that.

So, what makes middle managers more valuable? Here’s a synopsis, click the link for the full version.

  1. You know how stuff really gets done.
  2. You know what motivates individuals.
  3. You know the customer well enough to get to the truth.
  4. You know the vendors as well as the competitive landscape.
  5. You don’t have to defend the original strategy.
  6. You have the skills to get people of diverse backgrounds and in cross functional groups to work together.
  7. You know exactly what point your company is in the movie.
  8. You know the believers.
  9. You can motivate with humor.
  10. You have the power to heal.

Obviously, there are a lot of middle managers who don’t fit this profile, and plenty of senior managers who do.

The smartest companies encourage everybody to be a middle manager, relatively speaking, while in startups and smaller companies it’s a necessity—from the CEO through the developers to the receptionist.

Having everybody acting like middle managers may be powerful, but it’s only half of what can be accomplished.

The action that really juices the results comes when everybody is listened to as if they are the CEO.

Image credit: sxc.hu

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