Satire

You promised to be a game-changer, not a name-changer: An angry HR manager’s notice to CEO Modi

What if India were a company, and Narendra Modi its CEO?

What if India were a company and Prime Minister Narendra Modi its CEO? Among other things, it would mean that the leader would be subject to annual and mid-year reviews and would have a Human Resources Department breathing down his neck if he failed to meet targets.

In this imaginary (and kind of wonderful) world, three-and-a-half years into his leadership, as his company faces a slowdown, CEO Modi receives a letter from a not-so-happy HR head:

Dear Mr Modi,

As per your date of joining on May 26, 2014, you have been with us in the capacity of CEO for more than three and half years. You will agree that post your selection, the board of directors and the shareholders gave you full support during the induction period and trusted you blindly in whatever actions you took. We were all aligned that you would turn this company around ASAP. However as head of HR, it  pains me to convey that there is nervousness over your performance and worse, about the way you are going about things.

Please take this mid-year review seriously and in the right spirit, so that we can change course before it is too late.  

On performance, you have yourself admitted that that the company is nowhere near the double digit growth you had talked about. This despite the industry not coming under any severe external shock. Our manufacturing is down, hiring is down, projections are off the chart and your much touted digital payment and tax revamp system are simply not working. Clearly you have launched ambitious plans without any thought about execution – this is simply not acceptable.

While performance can still be improved, the HR department is deeply worried about your way of functioning. There have been multiple reports of members of your information technology cell abusing others, threatening to use violence and making sexual slurs – are you absolutely not aware of these practices? Also, I hear that there is an IT Head in your team who has openly tried to justify assassination? I am sorry so say Mr Modi, this open intimidation and abuse of people is not our company culture and we cannot allow you to change that.

Also it has been noticed that you have been absent from office on the pretext of tours. We are having a hard time explaining the audit team why we ran up such massive bills for these tours when the returns were negligible. You went abroad and signed multiple MoUs – but there is no investment on the ground, no manufacturing happening. You said that you will build the image of the company abroad – but the only thing that was built was your own personal brand. Please note, HR is disallowing you any more foreign trips in the coming months.

On communication skills, you had bowled us over in the interview round, but now we hear that your communication with the team is one-sided and there is no room for any feedback and questioning. This sort of behavior is harmful to the long term prospects of the company and I would like you to work as a team player. We don’t want a group of two-and-a-half-men running the company. What is point of having people like Sush and Raj when only Amit and Arun are used for decision making? 

I would also like you to respond to allegations of taking credit for others’ works. Is it true that you have taken older project files and made jazzy PPTs out of them and presented it to the shareholders? While your presentation and marketing skills are legendary and may have got you this job, please know that you had assured us that you would be a “game-changer” and not a “name-changer” as is being alleged. 

In the end I would like you to refocus your energies on the fires that have to be doused at home. It seems that an emergency in London or Portugal office has your immediate response, but you are too busy to respond to a critical emergency in your home branch. 

Please note that the only criteria you will be evaluated on hereon will be your actual performance and not your assurances. It is your performance that will make or break your case when the shareholders meet next. I hope you will be able to allay the fears of the minority stakeholders as well to show that everyone’s rights are being looked after and that growth is actually taking place.

Regards,

Akash

Head – HR.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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Getting the best from collaborations

Speakers such as Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and Managing Director - Medanta Hospitals, and Meena Ganesh, CEO and MD - Portea Medical, who spoke at the panel discussion on “Are we fit for the world of new consumers?”, highlighted the importance of collaborating with entrepreneurs to fill the gaps in the patient experience eco system. As Dr Trehan says, “As healthcare service providers we are too steeped in our own work. So even though we may realize there are gaps in customer experience delivery, we don’t want to get distracted from our core job, which is healthcare delivery. We would rather leave the job of filling those gaps to an outsider who can do it well.”

Meena Ganesh shares a similar view when she says that entrepreneurs offer an outsider’s fresh perspective on the existing gaps in healthcare. They are therefore better equipped to offer disruptive technology solutions that put the customer right at the center. Her own venture, Portea Medical, was born out of a need in the hitherto unaddressed area of patient experience – quality home care.

There are enough examples of hospitals that have gained significantly by partnering with or investing in such ventures. For example, the Children’s Medical Centre in Dallas actively invests in tech startups to offer better care to its patients. One such startup produces sensors smaller than a grain of sand, that can be embedded in pills to alert caregivers if a medication has been taken or not. Another app delivers care givers at customers’ door step for check-ups. Providence St Joseph’s Health, that has medical centres across the U.S., has invested in a range of startups that address different patient needs – from patient feedback and wearable monitoring devices to remote video interpretation and surgical blood loss monitoring. UNC Hospital in North Carolina uses a change management platform developed by a startup in order to improve patient experience at its Emergency and Dermatology departments. The platform essentially comes with a friendly and non-intrusive way to gather patient feedback.

When intrapreneurship can lead to patient centric innovation

Hospitals can also encourage a culture of intrapreneurship within the organization. According to Meena Ganesh, this would mean building a ‘listening organization’ because as she says, listening and being open to new ideas leads to innovation. Santosh Desai, MD& CEO - Future Brands Ltd, who was also part of the panel discussion, feels that most innovations are a result of looking at “large cultural shifts, outside the frame of narrow business”. So hospitals will need to encourage enterprising professionals in the organization to observe behavior trends as part of the ideation process. Also, as Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, points out, they will need to tell the employees who have the potential to drive innovative initiatives, “Do not fail, but if you fail, we still back you.” Innovative companies such as Google actively follow this practice, allowing employees to pick projects they are passionate about and work on them to deliver fresh solutions.

Realizing the need to encourage new ideas among employees to enhance patient experience, many healthcare enterprises are instituting innovative strategies. Henry Ford System, for example, began a system of rewarding great employee ideas. One internal contest was around clinical applications for wearable technology. The incentive was particularly attractive – a cash prize of $ 10,000 to the winners. Not surprisingly, the employees came up with some very innovative ideas that included: a system to record mobility of acute care patients through wearable trackers, health reminder system for elderly patients and mobile game interface with activity trackers to encourage children towards exercising. The employees admitted later that the exercise was so interesting that they would have participated in it even without a cash prize incentive.

Another example is Penn Medicine in Philadelphia which launched an ‘innovation tournament’ across the organization as part of its efforts to improve patient care. Participants worked with professors from Wharton Business School to prepare for the ideas challenge. More than 1,750 ideas were submitted by 1,400 participants, out of which 10 were selected. The focus was on getting ideas around the front end and some of the submitted ideas included:

  • Check-out management: Exclusive waiting rooms with TV, Internet and other facilities for patients waiting to be discharged so as to reduce space congestion and make their waiting time more comfortable.
  • Space for emotional privacy: An exclusive and friendly space for individuals and families to mourn the loss of dear ones in private.
  • Online patient organizer: A web based app that helps first time patients prepare better for their appointment by providing check lists for documents, medicines, etc to be carried and giving information regarding the hospital navigation, the consulting doctor etc.
  • Help for non-English speakers: Iconography cards to help non-English speaking patients express themselves and seek help in case of emergencies or other situations.

As Arlen Meyers, MD, President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, says in a report, although many good ideas come from the front line, physicians must also be encouraged to think innovatively about patient experience. An academic study also builds a strong case to encourage intrapreneurship among nurses. Given they comprise a large part of the front-line staff for healthcare delivery, nurses should also be given the freedom to create and design innovative systems for improving patient experience.

According to a Harvard Business Review article quoted in a university study, employees who have the potential to be intrapreneurs, show some marked characteristics. These include a sense of ownership, perseverance, emotional intelligence and the ability to look at the big picture along with the desire, and ideas, to improve it. But trust and support of the management is essential to bringing out and taking the ideas forward.

Creating an environment conducive to innovation is the first step to bringing about innovation-driven outcomes. These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott, which is among the top 100 global innovator companies, is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.