Friday, March 11, 2011


Does cutting headcount increase or reduce efficiency?

I find it fascinating to walk into organizations who in the name of efficiency have cut back on junior staff while also watching people who make six figures spending lots of time at the copier...

Expense reduction should never result in pushing clerical work upward (usually to managers or to knowledge workers). I would think it would be more efficient and cost saving if a company introduced even a few gofers. When a low-level employee off-loads someone who makes four times as much, the organization is a big winner.

Why do we classify people who handle clerical tasks as overhead? The obsession in eliminating anything that is labeled as overhead has resulted in many organizations where high-priced knowledge workers spend as much as a quarter of their time being their own overhead. Is this an economy?

The absence of low-level support becomes even more important when knowledge workers are arrayed in team. Companies that are maintaining competitive advantage in this new economy have figured out how to better leverage knowledge workers and it aint by giving them more clerical tasks...

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