Quote of the week
“Earlier fears of an austerity budget, with massive cuts in government spending, are giving way to speculation of a prosperity budget.”
– RBC Economics research report
Yesterday, Ontario and New Brunswick tabled their budgets. Tomorrow it will be the federal government’s turn.
And a report released by RBC on Monday tells us that the fears of a doom and gloom austerity federal budget are overblown. Good thing they know – it’s no secret in Ottawa that federal public servants are living in fear and trepidation over the cuts that have been rumoured about and expected for months.
Government departments were asked to come up with plans to reduce their expenditures and then told that amounts were getting bigger and the timelines were getting shorter.
Today in Ottawa almost everyone is gearing up for the worst in terms of departmental budget cuts and government-wide workforce reduction.
And while the overall numbers may be large, it is the frontline managers who will have to manage the organizational fallout of the cuts and layoffs. For example, as of today, although they may have had to feed in multiple budget reduction scenarios, many of them have next to no idea what they will face tomorrow since they don’t know what has been accepted, rejected or adjusted.
For another, if the changes are as significant as feared, it is the managers who will have to cope with workforce adjustment obligations and job-swapping procedures that are being rolled out. And managers will have to deal with the survivors. These individuals will need support. They will need to be engaged in the reduction process and convinced that there is life after cutbacks.
Finally, probably the biggest challenge managers will face will be to make sure that their organizations continue to perform as expected while undergoing this turmoil. And who knows how long it will take to get things settled down again in their organizations? Because one thing is certain: the expectations of efficiency and performance are not going to be reduced even if the budgets and staff numbers are.