Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The silver lining

(More rugby photos in a day or two, but I have to write about something else today... something more important.)

I can't say this is a happy story. It was a "black cloud" day at work. What comfort I can take comes from having been part of what silver lining there may have been in all of it.

Today, we laid off everyone in one of our departments. The hospital is fighting to pull out of a fiscal dive, and outsourcing this particular department is going to save a lot of money. For the people charged with managing the hospital through these tough times and making sure it survives and thrives, this was the right decision.

The problem is that such actions have a human cost. There are a couple of people we laid off today who have worked for the hospital for over 40 years. Many others had 10, 20 or 30 years' service.

Being in Human Resources, I took part in this. The nice part--the silver lining, as it were--is that HR (where I work at least) is there to help. We take everyone, after they get the bad news from the operations people, and explain severance payments they'll get. We also help them make benefits arrangements, and we had an outplacement firm there to explain the program they'll be able to access.

So I think we made things better. A number of the veteran employees came over to shake my hand and thank me. The members of my staff got thanks, too. Still, these are the kinds of days I could live without. These people did nothing wrong--in fact, there will be aftershocks from this throughout the hospital, because, as a group, they were well liked and respected. It was a financial decision to help the hospital survive, but there's nothing pleasant about it. I just hope I (and my people) really did make things a little easier for everyone.

1 comment:

Greg said...

I don't envy you. It's not easy to let people go who've been with the company for so long. At least the hospital gives options to those who were released, instead of siomply throwing them back into the unemployment pool without a life jacket.