“Holla For The Dollar” – HR Lessons

In a previous life I worked for an organization that managed outsourced emergency departments and hospitalist services for hospitals nationally. Our accounts were in extremely difficult markets which meant that every physician we had the honor of hiring was priceless.

You would think that the variables of difficult markets and rare findings of board certified emergency management physicians would make a company do all it could to retain their employees-not so much.

My last year there we were losing key accounts left and right – the first red flag. Every recruitment/marketing effort I made was met with calls of angry vendors saying they were never paid for previous ad placements and marketing-yet another red flag. To top it off I am on-call one day where I receive yet another angry phone call from a hollering physician who was getting ready to go on vacation and did not receive his paycheck- the red flag to bring clarity to the rest. Here I am little ol’ physician recruiter doing my duty as on-call supervisor for the weekend and I have to find out why this man hasn’t been paid and get him his money before he leaves for Europe.

When I called my superiors and explained that this physician was highly upset and screaming over the phone- I was told the following: “We paid Hospital “X” on time last month- now we have to rotate it and pay another hospital on time. Dr. Smith should stop whining. I’ll call him!”

When I heard this my head was spinning. The Dr. was wired his check as a result of his hollering, but I thought to myself; why should any hard-working employee have to “holla for a dollar”?

This man was a pain in the you know what, but that was neither here nor there. He showed up, did his work and now was relying upon this money to take his family to Europe. Why shouldn’t he be paid on time?

For several months following this incident, we continued to rotate the pecking order for who would get paid on time. It resulted in a lot of hollering and discontent among our staff. Morale among the physicians was on a rapid decline and as a result we started to lose some of them. More importantly, it made my job as a recruiter extremely difficult. I don’t have to tell you all how quickly bad pr travels in a niche market.

Here are some takeaways from this experience:

1) Companies: The partnership between you and your employees is as such: they provide a service and you pay them for said service. PAY your employees for God’s sake!

2) Employees: When you work for a company where you see these kind of shenanigans going on- run for the hills! You don’t have to be the CFO or Comptroller to know the end is near.

3) The executives in your company should not be vacationing in Bora Bora and driving high end cars and you can’t afford to pay for ads and marketing; let alone pay your employees. Something is wrong with this picture.

4) If the service you provide is one in a niche market, please know that there are four or more companies behind you to take your business. That said you need to be on point and if your expenses are exceeding your profit it may be time to cut back. Just saying…

5) This is just a general insight- Just because you have “always” done something a certain way doesn’t mean its the right way. I was brought aboard to innovate and shake-up the recruiters that were already there. It stuck for about a month and then it was business as usual. 

The moral of the story is: “Pay your employees for the work that they do and profits will come back to you.” “Don’t pay your employees at all and your empire will surely fall.” That is all!

By Janine N. Truitt affectionately coined “Czarinaof HR

From HR Toolbox

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