Answers to Your Questions About Three-Year Plan to Right-Size AUC
1) Why is AUC conducting a three-year staffing plan? What does "right-size AUC" mean? Right-sizing AUC means achieving the correct allocation of staff resources in offices and units throughout the University. The University has more staff members than it should, so the three-year plan aims to arrive at the proper overall number of staff members, with the right mix and right number in the right places, to be more efficient. The reason the plan is carried out across three years is for it to be conducted strategically, rather than randomly or abruptly. Units are currently examining their functions, looking at opportunities for consolidation and enhancing the use of technology to become more efficient in what we do. 2) Is it true that staff members will be reduced by 30 percent in one year and 20 percent the next year? No, the overall goal is about 15 percent reduction across three years. Some of this reduction will come through natural attrition, including retirement and resignation. 3) Will the three-year staffing plan be applicable across all departments and offices, or only specific ones? All departments and offices are participating in the staff plan. Reduction levels will be looked at unit by unit, but everyone is taking part and needs to demonstrate that they are operating efficiently. 4) How does a department or office decide which positions will be discontinued? Each department or office evaluates its specific operations and staff positions, envisioning how it can organize itself to function more effectively and efficiently, and that¹s why the plan is taking time. If a staff member is retiring or leaving, for example, the unit may decide to promote another staff member to take on additional responsibilities, then cancel the position of the person who retired or resigned from AUC. The tasks of one job could also be distributed among several other positions. In the end, it¹s all about consolidation and efficiency. 5) Is there an alternative to this staff reduction plan? The staff reduction plan is correlated not just with efficiency and avoiding redundancy, but also with budgetary restrictions. The plan is one of several austerity measures the University is undertaking to reduce its budget deficit. If these alternatives did not exist, there would have been an even higher reduction in staff positions because that would have been the only way to cut back on expenses. Moreover, even if there were no budget deficit, streamlining work processes and making AUC more efficient by limiting the number of people involved is a desirable outcome in itself. We have grown more bureaucratic and more bloated than we ought to be, and there is no alternative to reductions in staff if we want to correct that. 6) Is the decision for a staff member to leave or continue at AUC related to job performance? What other factors are considered? Who makes the decision? Even before the three-year staffing plan, contract renewals have been, and should continue to be, associated with job performance and whether or not employees are a good fit for their units. During the implementation of a staff reduction plan, however, non-renewal of contracts may also be associated with consolidation of functions, especially in cases where units are being restructured. So during the coming three years, contract renewals will be associated both with job performance and the nature of the job itself. The decision as to whether or not a position is discontinued or a contract renewed is multitiered involving the unit head and the human resources office, followed by multiple levels of approvals, including the area head. 7) Why are some people's contracts renewed for one year and others for three years? With the restructuring of many units, one-year renewals give unit heads the flexibility of assessing the situation before making a decision. If all contracts were renewed for three years, supervisors would have no alternative but to reduce their staff body by eliminating people whose contracts end first, even if these are the top performers. Renewing for one year gives managers a chance to evaluate operations and functions, come up with a plan to eliminate inefficiency and make the decision accordingly. Three-year renewals are still taking place, especially in units that have approached the optimal size. The University is always committed to preserving valuable staff members who are critical to the quality of the educational service we provide. 8) Would employees be notified in advance if their contact will not be renewed? How much notice are they given? Every effort is made to inform staff members as early as possible if their contracts will not be renewed. The earlier managers complete their staff plan, the earlier they will have a vision for the future structure of their units and will be able to notify staff members whose contracts will not be renewed well in advance. In all cases, staff members are notified within the time period stipulated in Egyptian labor law. 9) What is the staff buyout plan? Who is eligible for it? The staff buyout plan is useful in cases where units are being restructured, and there are targeted buyout opportunities that would, on the one hand, provide the flexibility and freedom for some staff members who would like to pursue this alternative for any number of reasons, and, on the other hand, serve the long-term interests of the University. It is not a general pool to which people could submit their requests. Even though the buyout will result in additional expenses during this current year, it will ultimately lead to continuous long-term savings as result of the reduction of the salary budget due to the buyout. 10) When should we expect the freezing of salaries, promotions and staff positions to be lifted? The unfreezing of salaries is a top priority as we make headway on the budget deficit. There are promising signs of recovery including the return of international students to campus and the progress on the staff plan that has already happened this year. Meeting our budget targets will be challenging, but we hope to turn the corner soon on the budget deficit by working collaboratively and efficiently.