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Convincing the CFO to keep exisiting staff..

By IT_MGR_NEWBIE ·
I am the manager of 3 person IT department (including myself). I have been in the department for 7 years and have worked as the manager for the last 2 (needless to say, I've seen a lot changes and a lot of people come and go). Here is the delimma...Our company has just just completed some major restructuring and all of the department managers have been asked to restructure thier departments the way they see fit. In a brief discussion with my boss, who is the CFO, his direction seems to be leaning towards getting rid of my strongest employee (in some ways) and bring in a entry level new hire that we could pay less.

The current structure as it stands, is that I act as the department manager/sys. admin/network admin/overall go to person for the more technical issues/etc.

I have one direct report (the stronger employee) that plays the role of a helpdesk/support technician and can handle a lot of the smaller technical issues. I was looking at pulling this person up to Sys./Network Admin, so that I can transition out of that role and focus more on strategic planning and being a manager. Please keep in mind that this person has been with the company and in the department for almost 6 years, is more than capable of doing the job, has stepped up to the plate many times to work on not only projects that she likes but also those that she may not like and is a hard/dependable worker that does what she is asked to do.

My other direct report plays the role of a database designer/programmer/support technician. This person has been with the company for almost 6 years and had worked in several departments prior to joining the IT department. Because this person had been working on databases (along with an added agenda that didn't pan out), he was placed into the IT department almost 3 years ago. He really doesn't want to be in the IT department but he likes technical things, wants to learn about certain aspects of IT and feels that it better his chances to get into management one day (which is his ultimate goal), which has actually come out of his mouth. He is a very smart person and basically has self-taught himself database design and now produces several reports that the higher-ups depend on. But he is the type of worker that does what he wants to do and is only interested in working projects that he likes and feels will better his career vs. what needs to be done. Because he feels that no one can do what he does and has convinced others including the CFO (which is his friend) of this, he feels he can do what he wants without any reprecussion. Granted that I could sit down and learn what he does, it's not something I'm interested in doing. He has no sense of customer service (and can be down right rude at times) unless it deals with his databases and/or the reports he produces for the higher ups. He really doesn't like the support part of the job but her does it because at this point he has no choice. He is really not a people person.

In my brief discussion, it sounded as if I was able to convince my boss that we still need 3 people but now I've got to convince him that we need to keep the same people at the same salary in the same positions. Now with that in mind, what would be some good points that I could bring to table about why bringing a new hire in that we could pay less money may not be the best choice. Also, if you were in my shoes and had to make a financial based decision would you keep the support person on full time and use the database person part-time or would you keep the database person on full time and hire a cheaper full time support person? Just trying to get some honest opinons/thoughts from someone on the outside looking in. Thanks.

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You just said it all

by Cactus Pete In reply to Convincing the CFO to kee ...

Print that out and hand it to your CFO.

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Factor in the changeover costs

by The Ref In reply to Convincing the CFO to kee ...

After recruiting costs - factor in using a recruiter - and the cost of training a newbie, the loss of productivity in existing staff to train the newbie, it may be an expensive exercise.

I am unsure about unfair dismissal laws in the US, but in Australia you would need to "restructure" and make his position redundant. This precludes you from filling that position immediately so it would have to be a new position description.

Add to that you may want him to train the newbie, meaning both salaries for a month, and paying out any benefits owed to him may end up an expensive exercise.

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Employees

by noyoki In reply to Convincing the CFO to kee ...

You said that the female will do anything. The male will do only what he wants.

So cross-train them. (Or have them cross train each other.) Then prove with documentation that the female can handle the databases/reports, and the male can't hack it in what the girl was doing.

Friends with the CFO or not, this will foster abit of competition. And if you have it documented, his resistance to projects, ultimately picked up by the girl will show. When she's doing 90% of the work...

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You're not quite hearing the message...

by bschaettle In reply to Convincing the CFO to kee ...

...from your boss, the CFO. He's already made his preferences known to you. You're being paid a salary to carry out his orders. The workplace is not a democracy, despite what you may think. When you're the boss, you can do things your way.

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Get used to this...

by ebeck In reply to Convincing the CFO to kee ...

You've got some work cut out for you, but it's not impossible to manage. Don't just believe the CFO has dictated to you the orders as previously suggested. If that is true, you are wasting your time there, and need to be the tech go to guy only as you stated. Otherwise, you need to take ownership, and clearly define responsibilities. You have to define the ownership of the group, so clear that issue up first with your boss. If your title as manager is for $$, then do as the CFO wishes, but if you are expected to be the manager, you have to work on your role and set expectations.
Here are some ideas to help deal with this:

- review the frequency and work level of the db projects. If they are infrequent, and not overly complex, other resources may be able to assist, reducing the silo the db guy has established

- conduct a customer survey to establish service satisfaction levels - do you have serious support needs? Getting a lower paid person in may cause serious issues

- establish metrics on support calls to set expectations - you have to turn the db guy around or show he doesn't fit (if you are truly the manager)

- explore ways to create an opportunity for db guy to move to another place - it's sad but these people sometimes milk thier way through life and get their way, but don't let it undermine your dept.

- Have you discussed the short/med/long term vision with other key business members? CFO's will always manage to the bottom line, and IT is normally viewed as overhead - but so is finance, hr, legal, etc. Get support from the other business heads, by understanding how you can help them and communicating your vision - aligned with theirs, this includes support!

- align the group towards the services you need to provide for the business alignment, and tie that into the capabilities each person can provide. You might even demonstrate missed opportunities due to low staffing levels - I've done this several times to augment my staff despite cutbacks

- Maybe the one off db projects he uses as a golden key may be shown to be the wrong approach. Perhaps an off-the shelf analysis toolset, or larger scale project - that he could not ignore or perhaps only has a smaller role in - would provide better results

I hope this was not too long, and is just a list of suggestions. Your role here is to educate your boss, then the other execs, but really depends on the true role they expect you to take. You may just be wracking your brains for nothing, if the title is only for pay (please don't take offense at that). I've had VP's report to me several times, when I was a lower title because their VP title got them paid money.
Hope this helps & best of luck to you.

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Follow the metrics and a 2nd suggestion more for you

by timplatt532 In reply to Convincing the CFO to kee ...

I read your article and the replies to date with interest, and with experiences I have had and seen coming to mind as I did so. One of the replies suggested your CFO might have both made up and closed their mind on this matter and that might be true, but if there is any meaningful basis for talking abou this one, it might make sense to assume the CFO is still listening. I am responding along that line.

What are the key performance metrics that you use to evaluate your IT service's performance and that of your team? What are the key performance metrics that your CFO uses? Simply saying they are financial is not enough here. How do they align, the two sets of metrics you have in front of you? You need to be able to translate your evaluations and conclusions into the same terms, and in accordance with the same priorities your CFO uses. And this brings up a very key point that has not come up yet. It is unlikely your CFO is stupid, so they must know that bringing in a newbie to replace a seasoned pro carries ongoing expenses plus, of course problems that can translate into immediate up-front extra costs. Why are they asking/telling you to do this? Putting that another way, what pressures are they facing, that might not be directly IT in nature but that are certainly impacting on it. Here, I am writing about the simple fact that the situation you are facing is not simply coming up in a vacuum. Know the surrounding context and the strategic issues that drive this type of decision, and know and use the right metrics to present your case.

Now for the second part -- you should get a copy of The New CIO Leader, by Broadbent and Kitzis, and published by the Harvard Business School Press. It makes a key distinction that impacts on you, between CIO as a chief technician/technologist and CIO as a leader who is viewed as such and who thinks and acts strategically. You want to be the later, as the former is always relegated to a secondary, reactive position where you have to have a voice and be able to be proactive to do your job. I hope this helps, if not this time the next time, and if you don't get it right now it will happen again.

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What sort of restructuring..

by gohfranc In reply to Convincing the CFO to kee ...

In the first place, what sort of restructuring that having IT Dept. reporting to CFO? I don't see the synergy. It just doesn't add up.

We have no clue about the size of your company and its' business performance which may help you to get better inputs. Basically, you may convince the CFO that; cutting your staff may not provide any significant saving or improving the bottom line. But, having one man down in IT team would certainly post a potential threat to the company business and customer satisfaction.

The saving is quantifiable, the threat is not. Help him understand the risk and impact on the business.

What if the CFO says you have to go, and the 2 guys will be reporting to him or may be someone else?

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