Once or twice a year I write an article where I assume I am going to end up pretty much pissing off everyone . . . this is one of those articles.
Here we go.
Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt all signed on to an idea that is 100% wrong. And I am fearful that most senior living operators have signed onto the same wrong idea.
It is an idea that was popularized by psychologist Gustave Le Bon’s claim that our state of civilization is no more than skin deep.
Hero Pay In Retrospect
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have watched many/most senior living communities pay significant hero benefits to frontline workers. On the surface it is a great idea, and yet there is a part of me that feels there is something seriously wrong with the practice.
I am reading a book titled Human Kind about, well duh, humanness in the face of crisis. The author talks about the impact of the bombing of civilians by the Germans during World War II. Their big idea was that bombing civilians would completely and absolutely demoralize people. And as a result, winning would be easier.
It turns out that they got it 100% wrong. It was exactly the opposite. In this horrific time where people were losing their homes, losing their lives, losing their friends, they actually pulled together against a common enemy.
The problem with hero pay is that it suggests we are not fighting a common enemy but rather that all individuals care about is their own self-interest and not the interests of residents or the organization.
The data demonstrates that we are at our very best when we have a common enemy we are fighting, no matter how unfair the odds seem.
When we pay “hero pay” we send the message that working in the face of COVID is simply a dollar and cents equation. That we are NOT FIGHTING an epic battle, but that what we are fighting for is simply economic superiority.
We need to be painting the picture as one of heroic proportions (which it is) rather than simply an equation that includes profits, investor returns, and legal liabilities.
Don’t get me wrong. I am convinced that we are not paying our frontline workers enough money. I continue to believe that if we paid enough to ensure that they could work only one job, the benefits to senior living organizations and residents would be enormous. Hero pay should not be hero pay, rather it should be everyday pay.