Efficient Government Needs a Lean Workforce

Workers Protesting Over Proposed Job Cuts

Some things in life are predictable but too often it’s not good. Take for instance my morning commute of only a few miles. It still consists of road works, traffic jams and the odd shout at the radio to tell Nick Ferrari to “shut up and let the other person speak!”  These days, added to that mix is the despondency that comes from hearing of further job cuts, especially in the Public Sector.

Last week the Government was telling public sector workers to expect to take pay cuts in order to keep their jobs. Yes, we know that many private sector companies have been doing this for years to stay afloat yet it still comes as a shock to the public sectors.

If I were one of those people facing a potential pay cut I would want to know that my organisation had done everything possible to maximise productivity. If I was asked to take a 15% pay cut when our productivity rates were so low and our absence is typically 30% or more higher than the private sector I would not be happy!

Every organisation, public or private should be applying ‘Lean Labour’ principles to their workforce in order to maximise productivity and efficiency. Organisations must get smarter about how they use their most valuable resource – their employees.

Lean Labour is simply the process of measuring work activity, aligning it to business demand and automating manual processes.  By measuring activity you are able to identify wasted time and effort. Aligning to demand means that the workforce is there when business demands it and automating processes means more time can be spent on value added activities. All of this results in greater productivity.

Amongst our clients is one of the largest Fire and Rescue services. They are a great example of how ‘Lean Labour’ principles can benefit the public sector. The service needed to improve productivity and appliance availability. After implementing their Kronos system, to administer annualised duty rosters and optimise their work schedules to meet demand, that Fire and Rescue service were able to greatly increase productivity and appliance availability. Saving money and lives – how good is that!

If the CIPD’s absence statistics and other metrics quoted daily in the press are anything to go by, higher productivity is what we need in the public sector. Download the latest CIPD Absence Report.


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