Saturday, February 9, 2013

University of Minnesota

 Hires Consultant to Analyze Administration

And Workforce

[Note: this is a case where the U is damned if they do, and damned if they don't.. Overall, getting an outside firm is a good idea because the U's credibility right now on these matters is not that great. But getting a firm that has a prior - and perhaps future - financial connection with the U is not a good idea.

My friend and fellow alum Michael McNabb has written an essay on this matter:
Clueless in Morrill Hall. ]


The University of Minnesota has hired an external firm to analyze its workforce and report back to the Legislature.
Sibson Consulting, based in New York, will study the "spans and layers" of the university's structure, drilling into how many administrators supervise how many employees. The university will pay then $48,000 for the work, which includes $8,000 for travel and other expenses, according to the contract
"The analysis will answer the question: Does the university have the appropriate number of organizational levels and do managers at various levels oversee the proper number of people?" U President Eric Kaler told the Board of Regents on Friday.
The consultants' report will include "a set of recommendations ... including action steps and timelines," the contract says.
State Senate leaders requested the report after a Wall Street Journal article singled out the University of Minnesota, saying that the school had gone "on a spending spree over the past decade," inflating its ranks of administrators. Kaler has called parts of that article inaccurate but also stressed that he's not satisfied with the status quo.
The report to lawmakers is due mid-March.
U leaders chose an outside firm for speed, Kaler said, as well as "the external validation that a firm like Sibson will provide to the results." The university has worked with the human resources consulting firm before, on a deep look at its employee classifications, which the university is revising to better describe what employees do.

Any manager know that outside consultants can be brought in to cut the fat or to create data to silence critics. It will be interesting to see how the U management will use this data.

Only at a public institution would taxpayer money be wasted trying to figure out what should already be known.

"“The analysis will answer the question: Does the university have the appropriate number of organizational levels and do managers at various levels oversee the proper number of people?”"------- how about the level of compensation and the hundreds of employees employed by alma mater that are in the "hated" 2%? Very good websites hosted locally that show the extreme numbers of employees making $100k +...... From the public coffers.

The $48,000.00 should come out of Kaler's paycheck.....aren't these duties of the President of the U? Abundance of administrators with Kaler being at the top of the totem-pole and the U has to hire someone else to figure out why.

I find it ironic - the U has the Carlson School of MANAGEMENT - but needs to hire an out of state firm to do this? At least they are only wasting $48K on this. From the U I would have expected so much more to be spent.

They need to hire a consultant to figure out who reports to who and whether they are doing their jobs? What a joke. That's the President's job, or at least it should be. Sadly, among the sea of administration at the U, there is probably not anyone doing any basic management of the place.

A beautiful example of how clueless the U admin has become. Do they have ANY idea how completely the word "Consultant" is equated with "idiot" out here in the real world? And- $50,000??? This will keep us cackling in the Minnesota bars and cafes- for years to come.

Scrolled through local database of U of M salaries. Each page had 25 employees. I scrolled through 99 pages until i got to salaries UNDER six figures. Seriously? kaler is asking for MORE funding? Who has not been paying attention to this runaway train?

The U picks a consultant. Let me guess what the results will be? It appears that the U staffing and organization is very similar to its peers. Minor changes might be desirable to improve efficiency.

This is far too little of an engagement to get to the bottom of this. They should let the legislature choose the consulting firm and have them report back to the legislature. A line by line assessment of the budget at the U should be conducted in addition to the organizational recommendation. Agree that the U should already know this stuff. Don't we have a pretty good MBA program over there? Put some of them to work benchmarking best in class university models. No pain, no gain. This needs to be done right.

The College Bubble will burst eventually; putting a band-aid on your internal problems Kaler won't solve them.

This is long overdue! So much waste. There is so much more then too many administrators. The audit firm should be hired by the legislature and report to them. It also should be more comprehensive then the current scope of work. They would find so much waste!

- if most of those six figure salaries are professors - I'm 100% fine w/ that. you need more info to make the call if there is waste - or how much waste - without deeper data.

  Is this really going to be a comprehensive report that is unbiased? Who hired the firm? It sounds like it will be as honest as political candidates who we know don't ever communicate with their super pacs....
 I worked at the U for 7 years in the late 90s on the Finance and Operations side of the house (ie non teaching).I could not take the sense of entitlement and a complete lack of performance expectations. Here is an example: on my first day while showing me around, my manager walks me through an area of open cubicles during a lunch hour. We walk by a guy in his late 50s (obviously a lifer), he is leaned backin his chair...sleeping...literally sleeping. My manager, explains, he is the Director of the Engineering department. The an open work area...sleeping !?!? When I inquired 'why was he sleeping?'...the response from my new manager was..."it's his lunch hour, he can do that". I could never forget the impression that made on me. I went on to experience things I could just not justify in my mind...and it was the norm. At the end of fiscal year, if you had money left in your were expected to "spend it"....because if you didn't, "we would not get that money in the next budget cycle". In 7 years, I never had a performance review. Ever ! By the second year, I wrote up my own goals and objectives and gave them to my manager and asked that we review them at year end...guess what...never had my review. Just a few examples, but if the rest of higher Ed runs the way the U did back's seriously broken.

The article mentioned that the U has worked with this firm before. Of course they aren't going to be overly critical of Kaler and his administration. They want to come back again and again, they aren't going to bite the hand that feeds them. The credibility of what they find should be questioned.

Here are the results of the study: 1. The U is very close to it's peers in staffing levels, etc. 2. Some jobs will need to be reclassified to justify the position and the pay. 3. Some jobs will need to be retitled to justify the position and the pay. 4. There are no further efficiencies to be wrung out, as all are overworked already and we cannot afford to cut any positions, only reclassify and re title. 5. We went over budget because this is a big project, so here is our bill. I probably missed a few points, but...

I'll do it for $40,000 and will guarantee a report that will find enormous waste and scores of recommendations for cost savings.

This won't work and here is why. The U is broken up in three parts: Faculty and PNA, Professional Civil Service and Unionized Civil Service. The largest groups that have Administrative duties are in the Faculty /PNA group. This group has always been off limits and more than likely will be now. Instead they will go after the two Civil Service groups. And only one of those groups includes Administrators. Right now the U has far too many Administrators with faculty and PNA titles and not enough in the other two groups. Plus in the Faculty and PNA group, they get a one year notice of termination while the rest (like rehab) get 28 days. The other problem is consulting firms never solve issues they basically take money and try to stay on the payroll and do little else. The U is top heavy and not with Civil Service. To solve it they must look at the top tier group that is Faculty who only do Administrator and non-teaching duties and they will not. Instead they will disseminate an already too small working group of Civil Service. Only the consulting firm will win in the end.

I swear that colleges/universities have so many employees you don't know where to turn to. Yes, I graduated with a Master's degree and saw a lot of waste at the schools I attended. I hope this consultant will make changes, the U needs it!
$40k for consulting fees? That's barely enough to write the final report. Somehow I think this "study" is going to "prove" that the U is doing just fine, no changes needed.

As a local HR Consultant, I question why the U of M did not hire a local consulting company. There several in the Metro that are just as good or better than the New York firm and wouldn't charge for travel.

It is obvious the U hire the consulting firm that will give them results they want.

The U wants 96 [million dollars additional funding] from the state. If you went into a bank for a 96 [million dollar] loan and brought your own credit report do you think they would give you the loan? Don't you think they would want to do their own due diligence? This along with the "staged" student rally by the students this week is just more games by Mr Kaler and the U. They need to do some serious transformation before the state gives them any more money.

No comments: