The recent news that Birmingham City Council would be making over 10,000 staff redundant in an attempt to save over £300m was a shock for many across the city. Although the cutbacks were anticipated, a great deal of speculation has preceded these announcements.
Keeping staff motivated
When staff are going through the process of redundancy consultation, it is extremely difficult to remain motivated. Many individuals perceive the process to be a formality and anticipate the eventual redundancy as a fait accompli. The loss of staff moral can often lead to a drop off in performance at a time when they need to be engaged in the wider change process.
Effective cost savings will be found by the front line
Innovation and competitive advantage will be found from within the ‘front-line’ staff, which deliver the service. They understand the critical requirements of maintaining service and can identify the focus of recourse that is required in order to maintain restricted services. Often, getting the ‘front-line’ staff involved in planning and implementation of budget reductions can provide real value for money and can retain the goodwill and motivation of the staff.
Owning the problem
It’s important that staff - not only in the public sector, but also in the private sector - do not become victims of the process. The cutbacks in public sector spending have forced such radical action, and the blame should not rest with staff.
Leadership and engagement
It is a real test of local council leadership to make sure that the cut backs are managed effectively and remain focused on critical capabilities that must be protected within the restructuring of local services. Effective engagement of staff in developing robust plans for change is critical in identification and implementation of these plans.