Public Universities have been in crisis for quite some time and to remain afloat they must make hard unpopular decisions. The question is whether the decisions they make are in the best interest of the university and will help them remain afloat. The other question is whether they are willing to make those hard unpopular decisions and only time will tell.
I have a feeling that most Public University managers know what they should do but seem unwilling to act, instead they are looking for scapegoats. Unfortunately, the scapegoat is always the lecturer who will either teach more units supposedly to reduce part-time bills or get fired.
Moi University has chosen redundancy as its strategy to remain afloat. The easier target as always is the academic staff and the university intends to do away with some of them. One wonders how they settled on having the academic staff redundant. This reminds me this is the university that chased away one Prof Laban Ayiro who is doing pretty well at Daystar University.
The top managers in public universities must first conduct a Staff Audit before they engage in redundancy as their strategy, It is advisable to have this audit carried out by an independent organization or consultant to remove bias and favoritism.
The goal of the Staff Audit should be to know not just the numbers but what each employee does. There was a discussion the other day in a certain WhatsApp group and a member said that there are employees in public universities who report to work daily but literally do nothing and I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment.
The goal of the Staff Audit should not be to fire anyone but rather to understand the pitfalls and how to create value. I am of the opinion that justifying a bloated workforce using the staff establishment is not the right thing. Why so? because most if not all staff establishments are done with people in mind.
It is therefore unwise for anyone to argue that according to their staff establishment the numbers are accounted for. The question the top managers should be answering is whether the employees add any value to the core business of the institution.
The Staff Audit will provide the top managers with up-to-date information on all the employees. The data should categorize the employee numbers by type of employment, operations, skills, compensation, and liabilities of the university to the employee.
You and I know that the ratio of 70:30 for teaching and non-teaching staff respectively in most if not all universities is crazy. I have rarely heard of any Public University that intends to lay off non-teaching staff. You and I know the reason for this right?
Once the Staff Audit is objectively done, the Top University Managers should decide on how to reorganize the university and maximize the value of each employee. It should also help Public University managers to pursue the right strategy to stay afloat.
The second thing Public University Managers must do after the reorganization is to treat every department as a Strategic Business Unit(SBU). The academic and non-academic divisions must be responsible for their own costs( profits and losses). Each department( whether faculty, finance, or any other ) must justify its existence and show how they generate revenue to cater to its expenses.
To be continued……………………………………….
- Dissecting The Heart of Leadership.ISBN: 978-9914-40-296-4.
- How to Thrive & Influence Your Workplace.ISBN:9789966139-83-2
- Growing A Business Empire: How to Effectively Manage Leadership Succession for Organizational Growth.ISBN:978-9966-8214-2-3.
- The Winning Strategy: How to use Strategic Planning to Build Effective Organizations.ISBN:978-9966-825-58-2
Leave a comment on your thoughts on this subject.
Dr. Mary Mugo
Strategy, Governance, and Management Consultant.