Who else but Clint Eastwood could fairly describe the current state of the workers’ comp services industry’s relationship with its employees.
People like Sandy Blunt, Mark Walls, John Plotkin (and many others) and a few service companies are the Good; doing the right thing, serving their customers, working with their employees to continue to improve, grow, develop. I single out Mark because he spoke to this yesterday, making a plea for service companies to hire as many recently-terminated workers as possible.
If that were only possible – but we’ll get to that in a minute.
There’s also a Bad side; the folks who suddenly find themselves out on the street after working for years to help build a company. Sure, some of them deserve to be out of a job – not everyone’s a star, and there are certainly more than a few knuckleheads in our business (just as there are in every industry and profession). But this is an inevitable if really bad effect of our business economy, and one hopes these folks can move on and perhaps even move up.
Except there’s the Ugly.
And oh is it ever.
Scores if not hundreds of work comp professionals have become collateral damage from the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions. Forced/required/strongly urged to sign non-competes after which some were summarily discharged, now unable to find work in a business they actually know something about, they are forced to seek employment in areas where they have few contacts, little knowledge, and less hope.
Does a billing clerk, or recruiter, or intake specialist, or sales rep or account manager really represent that much of a threat to mega-huge-giganta-enormous-corp? Sure, a sales rep or account manager might be reasonable expected to sign a non-compete for a limited time in a narrowly-defined niche, and a senior exec with lots of stock and a generous severance package isn’t going to elicit much sympathy.
But the effort on the part of some companies to prevent regular staff workers from getting a job in this business is way beyond the pale. Many don’t fully realize what they are signing, and shame on them (and sympathy for them, too). Others feel like the have to in order to keep the paycheck flowing, not realizing that signing a non-compete doesn’t provide them any guarantee that they will keep getting those checks.
Regardless, this isn’t the right thing to do.
Nor is it the smart thing.
Those clerks, sales reps, account managers, billing folks, intake staff all work with payers’ adjusters, case managers and other folks all day every day. Once they’ve been laid off and their former contacts find out what happened to them, how are they going to feel? How are they going to relate to mega-huge-gigantic corp? How motivated will they be to do all the little things necessary to get cases referred, bills processed, invoices paid, authorizations completed? Especially when their fellow staffers read every day about how much money is being thrown around by the bigwigs?
More broadly, society is going thru wrenching changes as the gap between the very wealthy and the rest continues to grow. This will be even more ammunition for those that believe the moneyed class doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about the rest.
It’s wrong, it’s dumb, and it’s mean.
What does this mean for you?
How would you want to be treated?