There’s a new one!
Reductions in force (RIF’s), redundancies, restructuring, retrenching, reorganization, just about any word that starts with the letters “re” can strike terror into the hearts of employees.
And just when you thought that corporate America had exhausted all its creativity in how to describe cutting headcount we get a new one! “Minimizing Resource Utilization”. Who gets the prize for coming up with a new and antiseptic way to deny what’s really happening? The U.S. Federal government!
This phrase, ripped from the world of computers, reduces the human element even further. As if staff doesn’t see what’s really going on. Minimizing resource utilization means simply that the organization is utilizing less of a certain resource. Only in this case it’s the Human resource.
It seems simple enough. If you’re looking to cut costs, you attack your greatest expense. In some organizations human related expenses (real estate, heat, light, AC, phones, office supplies, not to mention the obvious salaries and benefits, if the company still offers benefits) can equal 60% of an organization’s outlay. In a knowledge or service organization, where there may not be a physical product it can be even higher.
But when will senior management realize, especially in the so-called knowledge industries, that their product is their people, their human resources? By minimizing this resource utilization you are also limiting profit capacity. And that’s something nobody wants to do.
All you have to sell is the brainpower and creativity of your people. The word minimize comes from the same Latin root as the word “diminish” and that’s what you will do to your organization if the first (and sometimes only) solution you have to improve your bottom line is to send people to the unemployment line. It is simply not a sustainable solution.