Beware the Shadow Staff

Beware the shadow staff. They start out innocently keeping lists and spreadsheets with information they consider vital but unavailable elsewhere. Or they purchase software, servers or talent for their department only. Often they spawn from special projects. Whatever the motivation, the end result is added expense, confusion and disunion.

Booz & Company studied the problem and came to the following conclusion:

“…people performing tasks that duplicate those performed elsewhere in the organization, typically by corporate functions (e.g. HR, Finance, IT)… can add another 30 to 80% to total support staff head count.¹”

Why does this happen? See How Shadow Staff Starts for a real life example. Booz & Company identified 5 drivers that lead to increases in the shadow staff. Read more about the Shadow Drivers.

What can you do? First, be on the lookout for the shadow staff. When you find them, identify the driver which will point you to the breakdown that led to the problem. For those situations where you find duplicate data collection, analysis and departmental spreadsheets, take a hard look at your enterprise reporting strategy. Chances are you have a gap.

Polaris provides a comprehensive approach to enterprise reporting that will help you provide needed information for management and analysts at all levels of your organization. Unlike leave-behind tools or one-time consulting engagements, we continue to work with you all year long. Leverage our extensive experience in both healthcare decision support and data visualization to close the gap in your reporting strategy.

¹ Source: Booz & Company, “Shining a Light on Shadow Staff”, 3/2003

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