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AOL chief reverses changes to 401(k) policy after a week of bad publicity


Stashed in: Health, Wellness, Medical, Entitlement

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So now he's spineless in addition to being heartless?

I haven't fully analyzed all the fervor.  

I think big, far-reaching decisions like these, especially when hurtful (don't mess with someone's health and economic benefits...), are prone to emphatic backlash, and social media is full of people who use extreme language bordering on slander - the worst part is that as a whole, these people, via social media, get their way.  

It seems: He as Chief made and announced a decision that had to have been reached by consensus of his board or executive staff, a decision that was in the interest of the company and shareholders.  The IMMEDIATE capitulation to public and employee reaction instead of giving it time and letting this sub-market adjust sends a lot of messages, mostly that he apparently wasn't willing to stand by his own decision, and that he'd rather have a status quo than voilent uprising.  One problem is that there's generally a mutually exclusive difference between "shareholder" and "employee."

Damned if you do, damned if you don't, huh?  I'm just a little guy reading about it; he's the guy in the chair.  Social media can be such a bitch.

It wasn't just what he did, but the language he used, that made him seem exceptionally callous.

Now that I've read the account... yes he definitely could've expressed the sentiment differently.  TACT is a 4 letter word.  At the same time, it didn't sound as callous as it did candid.  He didn't blame; he cited them as examples of how AOL commits to its employees and how this affects the bottom line.  But that's my hindsight, and yea it did kind of sound like he blamed it on these AOL-ers and their babies... 

Birth to a new meme (punnn)...

What he said:

"Two things that happened in 2012," he said, according to a transcript provided by an AOL employee. "We had two AOL-ers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were OK in general. And those are the things that add up into our benefits cost. So when we had the final decision about what benefits to cut because of the increased healthcare costs, we made the decision, and I made the decision, to basically change the 401(k) plan." 

 Source: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2014/02/8539961/armstrong-distressed-babies-figured-401k-roll-back

Unfortunate that even their employees didn't know UNTIL the WP reported it.  Horrible dissemination of policy change.

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