Posted by: Helen Giles20/10/2010
The economy is a mess, the national debt out of control. If we want to know why we need to look no further than poor people management – the root of all the evil that has beset the commercial sector (think about the banks and the behaviour of their ‘leaders’) and the public and voluntary sectors, under-delivering at too high costs because they employ the wrong people and don’t manage them. Many social housing organisations and local authority housing departments have well-managed and accountable staff teams; but then again many don’t, and certainly not consistently across all their services. There are those that tolerate under performance on the part of at least half of their managers and staff.
Now the sector will be forced to cut jobs, big time. Many organisations will be sad to lose staff who have made a great contribution but really can’t be afforded. But at the same time they will see this as an opportunity to shed their worst performers, and thus achieve more effective organisations which can survive and grow despite swinging cuts in income.
Thousands of people are about to be hoiked out of work. Some will fail to pay their mortgages and rents, spiral into depression and substance misuse, and will swell the homeless population. Consequently there will be a need for more social housing and associated support services.
Therefore, the organisations which are about to shed their worst performers will need to keep on recruiting new people – as remaining staff leave and need to be replaced, and as the government is forced over time to pump back more and more funding to support people out of the dire straits into which many will fall.
So will their Boards and senior executives have learned anything from the wasteful mire into which they have dragged their organisations - and ultimately the country - through their poor selection practices and failure to properly implement performance management processes? Will they therefore be able to benefit from the ‘clean slate’ shortly to be on offer once they have sliced out those managers and staff who contribute nothing but trouble? I doubt it. They know who they need to get rid of, but track record to date suggests they will fail to get their heads around how those people got into post in the first place and were able to run amok for years before their employers were presented with a watertight business reason to get rid of them.
In the meantime, the government’s notion that all the people about to be flung out of public and voluntary services will miraculously become employed in and promote the growth of a newly booming commercial sector is laughable. Get real. A significant proportion are UNEMPLOYABLE because they’ve been allowed to get away with murder for years, unchallenged in the absence of firm and consistent management within their employer organisations and protected to the hilt by an employment law regime which has pretty much scotched the concept and practice of personal responsibility for anything in the workplace.
Helen Giles is a member of Inside Housing’s expert panel, focusing on human resources and staff development issues. Ask Helen a question in the forum
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