Cutting the crap
Following the election of the ConDem coalition here there has been a huge amount of talk about efficiency savings….there is even an “Emergency Budget” (think Accountant on-call) to set out the efficiency savings that are going to save us from doing an impersonation of Greece (without Rizzo and Frenchy).
The term efficiency saving is not unfamiliar in business. I’ve probably used it more than a couple of times myself. Times are tough we need to find efficiency savings etc. etc. The thing that struck me this weekend though was the realisation that the phrase in itself is in most case just PR spin and twaddle. What we are talking about are cuts. Sounds less appealing don’t you think?
Let’s take a definition of efficiency,
The ratio of the effective or useful output to the total input in any system.
And this is where the problem lies. In most cases we are talking about the “useful output” falling. When we reduce headcount or restructure, sometimes I admit we are genuinely looking for efficiency savings but sometimes as well we are just looking to cut costs. And similarly on a Macro economic level we are often talking about cuts….you don’t take £6bn out of Public Services and expect them to perform at the same level.
It is sadly too much to suggest that our politicians are open and honest with us, but organizationally we can lead the way. If you are talking cost out then tell people, believe it or not they will understand. We’ve all had to do it as families at one time or another. Not going on holiday was not an efficiency saving…… Sure it may seem unpalatable but at least if we are open and honest we can shed some of the distrust that surrounds the HR profession.
“Guys, times are tough. We need to make some cuts to ensure that we can survive.”
Now that wasn’t so hard. Was it?