Thursday, September 24, 2009

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire!

Why do corporations lie to their employees? It always comes back to bite them.

That’s what happened to the Hyatt hotel company in Boston when it laid off 100 of its housekeeping staff and “outsourced” housekeeping to a company in Georgia. For sure there were savings: the Georgia company can  pay lower wages and limit benefits. Hyatt can even say, “Oops! We didn’t know,” if the Georgia company hires illegal immigrants.

One lie was allowing current employees to believe that the people they were training were substitutes for  vacations and holidays, not cheaper replacements for their own jobs. Hyatt employees were laid off with one day’s notice and no benefits or help with the job search at first – that is until the Boston Globe got a hold of the story.

Another lie is the statement on the Hyatt website that “As an employee of the Hyatt team, not only will you receive outstanding rewards and recognition, but you’ll also be a part of a family-friendly atmosphere consistently labeled with "great camaraderie."

Now, the CEO and the Governor of Massachusetts are scuffling in the press. It’s bad enough that Hyatt did what it did. Surely there were alternatives. But to lie about it , too?

Think about it. How many people in the Hyatt organization understood what the consequences might be? Paying attention to these issues is actually part of the job description in public relations and human resources. Where were they? The irony is that damage control will cost Hyatt a lot of money. Maybe even more than the difference in pay between their old housekeepers and their new ones!

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