Tuesday, January 24, 2006


You just need comic relief. I think this picture is a great way to illustrate inefficiency in the workplace. We can only hope it doesn't apply to the Commonwealths government. How many departments deal with trees again?


  • Funny pic, but there is a serious point, one I touched on in my post about agency consolidations and shared services.

    What is the optimal ratio of admin to "workers?" In one area of my agency, we have two staffers devoted to providing the service, but five or more who market the service. Their marketing has had virtually no impact in increasing use of the service.

    A good metric for agency directors would be reduction in the admin to program staff ratio.

    By Blogger Will Vehrs, at 1/24/2006 8:13 PM  

  • Will,

    Great question. One of the points that are made by outsourcing companies is that they find savings in placing employees in the jobs for which they are best suited.
    Often employees are hired up the ladder and pass their ability level. The result is that those who are in that position are not capable of performing well and in turn do not perform at all.
    When the employees are put in their proper positions based upon their abilities, they produce more and interestingly as a result of that are - HAPPY.
    So in answer to your question of ratios, I would first look to what job should be done, who would perform that job well and be less concerned with ratios. I think some people can manage more with less and some less with more.

    Regardless, thanks for your input on this blog. If the pot ain't stirred, the sauce will separate - so to speak - type.

    By Anonymous Chris Saxman, at 1/24/2006 9:17 PM  

  • Chris:
    Did you just say you can not make "chicken sauce with chicken $#&t"

    Ability is & should always be the key ingredient (you are right there), but alas politics creeps into hiring, so I think Will's point can be valid... looking at the system... A hockey team with too many defensemen dressed out every night (taking away from forwards) will probably score less goals... as an anology.

    By Blogger spankthatdonkey, at 1/24/2006 10:24 PM  

  • Too many chiefs - not enough indians is rampant in state govt. It's the nature of the beast.

    By Anonymous Uncle Lester, at 1/24/2006 11:11 PM  

  • This is way off topic but I wasn't sure where to ask... Feel free to delete if it's out of line.

    I see in the expenditures drill down on the APA site that VCU had pretty large amounts listed for for Employee Suggestion Awards:

    $874,003 for 2006
    $3,413,755 for 2005
    $3,108,441 for 2004

    Other agencies only have small amounts...

    Am I reading this wrong? That sure does seem like a lot...

    By Blogger Lucy Jones, at 1/24/2006 11:32 PM  

  • Del. Saxman, what I'm really suggesting is that agency budgets be scrutinized in ways that may be different than in the past. It's my impression that admin to program ratios, which seem to be rising in favor of admin, may not be a focal point when determining funding levels.

    Lucy, good catch. VCU is a large and complex organization and a quality improvement program, represented in part by an employee suggestion program, is a good thing. Those amounts do look extremely large to me, however.

    One would hope the suggestion award program is not a substitute for day to day good management. You wouldn't want employees failing to take cost-saving actions because they're hoping that they'll get cash for suggesting it. You also don't want the suggestion program to be a de facto pay increase program for certain employees. Of course, there's no evidence that that is the case, but someone ought to look at it.

    I recall a few years ago when Gov. Warner implemented an employee suggestion award program. One of the big examples was an award given to an employee who pointed out a large number of working phones in a section of a vacant office floor that the state was paying for.

    While I thought it was a good catch by the employee, the real question is why the manager wasn't counseled for failing to cancel the phones in the first place.

    Suggestion awards ought to be "out of the box" ideas, not things that should be implemented routinely by good management practices.

    By Blogger Will Vehrs, at 1/25/2006 7:34 AM  

  • Looks more like VDOT.....

    By Blogger republitarian, at 1/25/2006 8:14 AM  

  • By Blogger theShadow, at 1/28/2006 11:28 AM  

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