Celtic Riverside – The Online Journal of James Keenan

(Mostly) Open Letter to My Manager

This is an email composed to my manager about anxieties felt by employees at our office who were not part of recent layoffs with respect to those layoffs. I’m sharing it here because it’s not specific to my current employer and I think, as it does for my team, serve to a greater conversation about corporate America:

The other thing, and I copied the whole team because I feel it’s something we should discuss as a group, is a larger sense of what I’ve been describing with [some of our business processes] for a while now.

We have turnover that results in new people being inadequately trained set in front of our systems, making mistakes and not knowing how to fix them. We had great … people, but they let them go (some quit because the compensation/investment elsewhere was greater, others laid off). The new people, in the race to keep pace with things, were started working before they were ready. Now we’re micro-managing their work by having to stop and walk through the minutia of their processes with them.

I have a broader anxiety that a change like this sends the even greater message that [company redacted] invests in its people to the extent that it makes business sense and not a penny further. The moment the bottom line (not the patients) are better served by a change like this, they execute the change. It makes perfect sense fiscally and in the short-term. Longer term it cripples our ability to deliver.

And there’s historical precedent for this, especially in the pharma industry. I think the next phase is on-boarding the replacements in [the main office] and with vendors for those let go from [our local office], and we begin (continue?) a downward trend financially that ends with [the CEO]’s departure from the company. [company redacted] gets a new CEO and the process starts all over again as it did in 2015. It will be 2020 with a new CEO and those of us who survived will be watching transformational changes as part of [the plan heading into 2025].

Basically, if [company redacted] wants to keep people here, we fundamentally cannot stay with a group. We can develop within the company to the extent that we’re 1) able to jump from one group to another, 2) lucky enough to avoid jumping into a group that falls prey to these changes while we’re there and 3) have the necessary business support to make those transitions between groups ([my team] has established a focus in this area, but we may need a discussion there because I think I speak for several people in finding the focus wanting).

We consider corporate transformational changes to be something inevitable, but there appears to be a very discernible pattern related to those changes that could be undone via commitment to [company redacted] personnel (here I’m referencing everyone, not [my team]). One doesn’t need an MBA to understand that – Intro to Business covers “it’s cheaper to retain and develop talent than the constantly recruit new talent”. We’re bleeding talent left and right while taking on [contractors] who are thrown straight into the lion’s den. It’s exacerbating a costly and unnecessary process, at least from my perception of events.

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