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Ron Shewchuk

Thanks for sharing that story, Glynn. Sometimes it's a lot harder to do the right thing, but the payoff is so much bigger than you get from doing just what's required that it's worth it.


We had a situation at my company that proves the point here. Job applicant information was potentially compromised via a purloined laptop. The laptop was returned -- an attempt had been made to access it but had failed. But we were required to notify people, both for internal policy reasons as well as various state laws.

You know how organizations work. You have to tell someone bad news, and no one wants their name on it. You may have gotten similar letters about your data being compromised -- incomprehensible jargon, difficult to find who's sending it, no name on the letter, maybe a call center which turns out to be in some foreign country. (I received one exactly like that -- and it turned out to be from my own company!)

It was a painful internal experience. We succeeded in translating the letter from jargon to English. We succeeded in giving both a call center number and our own 1-800 number. And while it had been an HR problem, I (corporate communications)finally volunteered to put my name on the letter that was sent to 120 people.

I answered each message that was left on the 1-800 number. I walked people through how to get a free credit watch service. I explained what happened and that while their information hadn't been compromised, we had to treat it like it was.

Time-consuming, maddening at times (I said a lot of things about HR under my breath) -- but absolutely the best thing we could have done. Over and over people told me they were shocked to have a real person to talk to. We calmed people down who were legitimately upset. We talked in conversational English. We apologized. I handled 42 calls, averaging about 4 minutes each.

As it turned out, more than half of the applicants had been current employees. So in addition to doing the right "global village" thing, we had a positive employee communication as well.

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