The Hiring Freeze as a Remedy to Budget Woes

The Hiring Freeze as a Remedy to Budget Woes

State governments across the country are facing budgetary challenges that are forcing them to make tough choices about spending priorities.  Fortunately the wave of retirements in the public sector is presenting policy makers and government HR practitioners with the opportunity to address their budgetary challenges without laying off workers.

I’ve discussed before the importance of government managers breaking the paradigm of maintaining the status quo in their workforce and instead thinking strategically about their future workforce needs.  In the State of Nebraska one of our strategic objectives is to reduce government spending so that we can pass savings on to taxpayers.  This objective has become even more critical as State revenues have fallen below forecast.  Those diminishing revenues compelled Governor Ricketts to implement a hiring freeze in October, 2016, which directed that only jobs deemed critical should be posted and filled.

The response to the Governor’s directive produced immediate results, slashing our state government workforce by nearly 300 headcount within months and shrinking the overall size of state government by more than 2%.

Nebraska families have to live within their means and they expect their government to do the same.  By managing our personnel spend the Ricketts administration has been able to manage through reduced state revenues without raising taxes while shrinking the size of government.  Policy makers and government HR practitioners in the public sector can follow this approach of leveraging voluntary attrition to reduce government and achieve their budget objectives.

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