Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dragged to the Middle

I've been thinking about government regulation a lot lately.

When a big portion of your business is regulated by the government, you tend to do that. This time it was brought on by the new overtime exemption laws taking place later this year.

The principle of the law is to protect people, which is admirable. Make sure "folks" (as Obama calls us) get compensated fairly for a hard day's work.

What's not to love about that?

They are updating laws that were more than 40 years old. They weren't protecting people anymore like they were supposed to.

The problem with federal laws like that is that businesses across the US are vastly different. When you make a law that brings regressive or predatory companies to a minimum standard, it protects the employees of those companies.

However, it can hurt the employees of progressive companies. By enforcing a medium standard, it brings everyone into the middle.

For example, we try very hard to make sure our employees are happy, well-compensated, and valued.

One of the ways we do this is through our Paid Time Off plan. Salaried employees who are exempt from overtime can take as much time off as they want. The only thing we are concerned with is getting the job done.

A lot of our employees will work extra hours one week in order to take extra time off the next week.

The employees that will become non-exempt in December will likely not be able to do that anymore. They lose one of the perks that they really like, as we (a progressive company) are dragged to the middle.

I've also seen this with our clients. Many of our clients were using a satisfaction survey that gave them in depth feedback about their individual patients. Then a few years ago, the government mandated they used a certain survey instead. They had to get rid of their superior tool in order to use the mediocre tool established by the government. Dragged to the middle.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I like the idea of protecting people. I wish we could trust the free market to protect people. I know Pinnacle couldn’t keep employees if we tried to force them to work 60 hours without being compensated fairly. I suppose that's not the same everywhere. I don't know. All I know is that it's frustrating to get dragged back to the middle.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Story from a Client

One of our new clients recently told me a story about how our satisfaction surveys had impacted one of their facilities.

They got a survey back from a resident's daughter who was pretty upset. She felt that they weren't including her mother in any of the activities at the facility. The mother was really bored and lonely there.

The administrator at this facility was surprised by the feedback because she knew this resident really well and happened to know the resident had been involved in most, if not all, of the activities. So the administrator reached out the the daughter and had a conversation with her to understand her frustrated feelings a little better.

The administrator told her she was very active there and even sent over some pictures of her participating in the activities.

The daughter was surprised and realized that her mother had been trying to make the daughter feel bad for not visiting enough by telling her how bored she was. The daughter felt some remorse and realized she needed to make a better effort to visit and also realized the facility had been doing a great job.

I liked this example because it illuminates how some open communication can solve problems. After the survey opened the lines of communication, an upset customer became a satisfied and loyal customer acknowledging this care provider's excellent work. Furthermore, a relationship between a mother and daughter was positively impacted.

I'm glad Pinnacle got to play some role in that. It's rewarding.