Government Shutdown | A Message for Business

Every time the government shuts down the gloom and doom crowd among our citizens immediately spring in to action. But, is it really that bad?

Excuse Me, But Who Is Not Working

I can’t help but laugh when I read just who is being laid off. These government workers are defined as non-essential employees. Again, I say, “Excuse me?” Let’s think about that term non-essential. If someone has two houses and only use one, isn’t one non-essential? How about a person with two cars who only uses one? Same thing, don’t you think? Should they sell one of the houses or cars or just keep paying for something they don’t use?

Let Me Clarify

Before anyone gets upset, I realize that the term non-essential employees is not really be used in that narrow of a sense. Yes, we will indeed need many of these people at some point. If we are going to operate the national parks system, then we will certainly need people to manage this. I noticed that a large number of civilian defense workers also were included in the layoffs. No doubt, many of these people are performing critical functions. But, these are not the employees I’m interested in.

Non-Essential for Real

If we were to carefully examine the layoff statistics, evaluate what each employee does, and then evaluate whether this is really something that needs to be done, my suspicion is we could identify a large number who really are non-essential employees. If you are one of the employees affected by the government shutdown, please don’t take this personally. Chances are if you are reading this you are probably not one of those I had in mind.

Seize the Opportunity

Okay, let’s get away from the government shutdown and move on to private business. When was the last time you, as a business owner or manager, closely examined your workforce. I hesitate to write about this as it can come across as cold and insensitive. Trust me when I say I do not intend to be. Like many others I’ve experience the loss of a job. It is no fun, but in the long run it did turn out for the best.

So, here is my suggestion. In your business occasionally make a review of your employee makeup and the rolls they fill. Then ask some questions like these:

  • Is there un-necessary overlap of duties?
  • Are there functions still being performed that are no longer needed?
  • Can employees be moved to a new roll to perform something that is now needed?
  • Is it possible to consolidate certain rolls if someone has extra time on their hands?

Obviously, these are just suggestions for questions to ask yourself and your managers. You will likely have your own. The point is that it is better to make this a fairly regular process to avoid getting a bloated head count where employees exist who really are not adding value. Better to manage this a little at a time than to find yourself in a financial bind and having to lay-off a large number, including both non-essential employees and those you know you will need eventually.

Think about. Take a look around. Are you operating a lean company? Does everyone really fill a valuable roll?

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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