August 26, 2013
The Finance Director has just informed me that my department budget has been cut by 15% and that I need to figure out how I can effectively manage the department on a reduced budget. My department is responsible for assessments and treatment planning we triage new and established patients for clinic services. I have a team of six full time clinicians, programming also includes weekly group therapy sessions and one day per week my team works in the field doing outreach. It was my job to figure out how I could make necessary cuts without totally disrupting the program. The first step was to meet with upper management and get a better picture of how the finances were distributed. This decision will require me to weigh my options and prioritize what services are most needed and what can be eliminated. The Informed Decisions Toolbox provides tools to help managers efficiently perform the six key steps in the evidence-informed approach to decision making: (1) framing the management question, (2) finding sources of information, (3) assessing the accuracy of the information, (4) assessing the applicability of the information, (5) assessing the actionability of the evidence, and (6) determining if the information is adequate. This is the process that upper management encourages managers to use to make the best decision that will benefit the organization. Managers must approach budget cutting with care, so as not to harm the organization’s capacity to achieve its purposes. The toughest question they face is how to reduce the budget without compromising the organizations mission (Maddox, 1999).
I met with my staff to discuss the current status of the intake program and how the budget cuts will affect the program. To overcome resistance, managers can involve workers in the change process by communicating openly about changes, providing advance notice of an upcoming change, and exercise sensitivity to workers' concerns (Cliffnotes, n.d.). I gave the staff a questionnaire to complete because I sincerely wanted their input on what they think the restructure of the program should look like. I also informed staff that the budget cuts may involve a reduction in the workforce, but I would do my best to minimize the devastation. I assured the staff that the program would not eliminated because it is first step in the patients receiving services at the clinic. Ideas that staff suggested are; eliminating groups, bi-annual reviews instead of quarterly reviews, increasing groups, and bringing in more patients. All though the staff gave good suggestions, none of them included a reduction in the workforce. Unfortunately after meeting with upper management again it was decided that the restructuring would include a reduction of staff. Eliminating programs that are billable to Medicaid was not an option. Staff costs, for many nonprofit organizations are the biggest budget line item and they can have many variables factored into them. Upper management directed me to put together a feasible plan for staff reduction and to present at the next managers meeting. This decision is not easy but necessary to meet the needs of the organization. I have decided that out of my six full time employees, three will have to be laid off but given the option to remain employed part time with a partial benefit package as well. This change would also affect their salaries. I have decided meet with the employees that have the least amount of seniority and inform them of program changes. A reduction in workforce is a difficult time for everyone involved, including managers, affected staff members, and the rest of the department. What you do as a manager will affect the way your staff handle the situation. Communication and sensitivity are key elements at every stage of the reduction in workforce process. Staff members tend to look closely for signs...
References: Cliffnotes. (n.d.). Opposition to Organizational Change. Retrieved from http://www.cliffnotes.com/more-subjects/principles-of-management/managing-change/opposition-to-organizational-changes
Maddox, D. (1999). Strategic Buget Cutting-The Grantsmanship Center. Retrieved from http://www.tgci.com/magazine/strategic%20budget%20cutting.pdf
Module: Goal Setting and Decision-Making. (unknown). Informed Decision-Making. Retrieved from http://fldoe.org/workforce/ced/pdf/informed decision-making.pdf
Rundall, T. G., Martelli, P. E., Arroyo, P. E., McCurdy, R., & Al, E. (2007, September). The Informed Decisions Toolbox. Tools for knowledgetranfer and performance improvement/PRACTITIONER. Health Care Management, 52(5), 325-41/341-42. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/206729657?accountid=35812
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