Any one involved in any form of business consulting knows a basic problems is ‘Over Staffing’. Governments, primarily those in 3rd and 4th World Countries are famous for this. It isn’t limited, for course to failed or failing nations, it also effect many companies.
The Standard Business model of 1890 has survived. It persist until virtual bankruptcy, take overs, or when they owners (gasp) actually listen to the Trouble Shooters.
The overstaffing is instantly obvious to the new pair of eyes which belongs to the Consultant.
Many entities do not take advantage of technology. As some bosses love an army of workers in eye shot, to make them feel important, or have a number of useless positions, (for example, too many managers) the cumbersome nature of the business or agency becomes obvious.
When a company is in trouble, (outside of someone running off with the assets) it is likely this is caused simply by too many employees.
Voluntary Redundancy — A Very Bad choice
Every company which has implemented a Voluntary Redundancy Exercise, (VRE) it is the best employees who have shot out of the building as if it were on fire.
This is because;
a) the best employees have usually rebuffed offers from other companies. And regretted it.
b) they can create their own businesses
c) they are bright enough to take a life boat from a company they see as the Titanic.
In every company that has implemented a VRE it is the very worst employees who remain.
This is because;
a) no one wants them
b) they couldn’t run a lemonade stand
c) they don’t see that the ship is sinking
Never implement a VRE until after you have recontracted the best workers. Once you have them under lock and sealed contracts, then you can make the offer. But don’t expect the worst employees to take it.
Further, expect the best employees to not recontract if there are alternatives, for they can smell the failings of the company and will, as soon as they see the warnings, jump.
If you create a VRE go through the staff, one by one. Those who chose to leave although you desire them to stay, those who you want to leave, but don’t want to go, are now known.
The advance notice of ‘one month’ gives you time to clear out the office, replacing those you need to, and cleaning up the mess the others have left.
Once the staff has been culled, you have one month to reorganise, to find replacements. When someone seems irreplacable, pay them more, give them more perqs and sign them for six months, so that you have a better chance of replacement.
To warn you how dangerous a VRE is, in one Cell Phone Company an entire department grabbed it and the
company tried fruitlessly to keep a few. The Company had not a hint at how dissatisfied its staff was.
It may take some finesse to get rid of the undesired and maintain the desired employees. One can always create a ‘branch office’ somewhere else, ship those they don’t want to that location, then, terminate them over there.
How to know who to get rid of?
Phone Tests and Other Tips
A large company needed to get rid of 1/3rd of its work force to survive. What was done seems ridiculous, but ten years later has proven its merit.
Trouble Shooters arrived and visited all four stories of the business. Armed with a seating plan, identified each employee and watched their phone behaviour.
They discounted business calls, focusing on personal calls; whether via land land or cell. All those on personal calls were ticked.
A few hours later they returned to each floor. Those found having personal calls were ticked. Where there were two ticks, that employee was discharged.
Simply put, people who can’t differentiate between work and not work don’t need to work here. People who have long conversations on the phone which are not business related don’t need to work here.
That ‘downsizing exercise’ has served the Company well.
File Tracking is another test.
One file jacket of a different colour is placed on each desk. The time for that file to move to the ‘Out’ tray is measured.
When the Coloured File sits in the ‘In’ box for X amount of time, and the work in the Outbox does not substantially increase, that employee is ‘unworking’ and can be let go. Where an employee seems to get through ten files in an hour, (and those files are checked to insure that work was accomplished) that worker stays.
Do You Really Need So Many Managers?
Many businesses are so top heavy you think it’s a comedy.
At this supermarket there is the Manager, supported by two Assistant Managers. There are six Supervisors, each with an assistant, but only six cashiers.
Shoppers are lined up to the far wall, and some have walked out in disgust.
This is a failing business. It may survive by being the only Supermarket in five miles. It may survive because it ‘owns’ the plaza and the rentals are keeping it afloat. But it is failing.
Customers will shop elsewhere and only use this supermarket as one would a corner shop, that is, if they need a jar of jerk seasoning or a loaf of bread. But the major weekly or monthly purchases are done elsewhere.
Many businesses think by making a worker a ‘staff’ member they save on ‘overtime’ but they can save on salaries by stripping their staff to the bone, making sure everyone is actually working.
There should be only one manager, one supervisor, and an assistant, and all three should be active, not sitting in the office unless they are actually doing accounts, or handling complaints, processing cheques, etc.
Going from the top down in a downsizing exercise is how it should be done.
You can’t tell, in most cases, by simply looking at the Staff that they hate their job. Many people are working here because they have no choice, at the moment.
As soon as they get choice or can’t take another minute from the Boss from Hell they are going through the Door.
They don’t trumpet their discomfort or hatred or annoyance. They go day to day until they reach their limit.
As most bosses don’t realise this, the second there’s the chance for a VRE everyone races to the exit.
To locate a Boss From Hell, one hires a troubleshooter. That person takes a job, seems like everyone else, but is really a spy. This person gets the vibration of the office, how a manager is despised, how certain regulations are too constricting, etc.
Having a spy on the floor, (unknown to the staff) gives a fantastic insight into a business.
Sometimes getting rid of one manager makes all the difference.