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Friday, February 13, 2009

Listen GM and SL!!!

Anonymously contributed:

You want to cut cost, improve morale and gain employees respect?
You'd better listen:

1. Layoff bloated management. Please stop shifting these ineffective managers to other positions. If they have not done a good job they should go, not be rewarded with other positions. I hate to see layoffs as much as the next person, but I have no issues with laying off bad employees. And by any metric I can think of, management has failed terribly. Accountability means getting rid of those that have created this situation.

2. Change the compensation "ranking" system. Who in the world came up with this system? This system was custom built to dis-incentivize the employees. I complained about this system to the lab and they told me that certain jobs are valued, others less so. As such the person doing a great job at a "less valued" job will never get a high ranking. So this system is set up to encourage low productivity. Why work your butt off if there is no chance of reward? This is insane and a moronic system beyond words. I am unaware of any place else where this is done. In the private sector, if a secretary does a great job, he/she gets rewarded with a better raise. At LLNL, why bother to work hard? It rarely factors into your raise. I can see why there is so much deadwood. Pay is the same either way, work hard or not at all, little difference in compensation.

3. Reduce the pay of managers. In my division, many managers are paid salaries similar to corporate presidents and vice presidents. But these managers positions are not equivalent to presidents and vice presidents. So gross overcompensation is occurring. And for anyone who has examined the ranking system can see, basically to get rank group 1 or 2 essentially requires you to be a manager. Then once a manager, the money comes, because you are ranked 1 or 2. See the cycle? A compensation structure that rewards managers. Since you are a manager you are ranked high, since you are ranked high your raise is year same as the last.

4. Once in a while do something that indicates you give a damn about your employees. LLNL beats on its employees and does little to reward them (and I am not talking just about compensation). Name one thing that was done for employees in the past year and a half that said "we value you, you do great things". I can't think of one.

5. Fire abusive managers. I have been astounded by what managers get away with that should have resulted in firing. I have seen some of it firsthand. I tried to work the system to get my problems resolved of an abusive manager. You know the result? The manager was promoted. No joke, I am not making this up.

6. Empower the employees to push scientific advancement. Look at any high tech company, the ideas come from below, not from above. Yes, managers make the final go/no go decisions on what projects move forward, but the ideas should come from below. But WOW, management squelches or impedes new ideas. There is quite simply no innovation at LLNL, and this is the reason why. This gets back to comment #1, if you simply wholesale removed most of the managers, innovation would begin to flourish because it is the managers that are crushing it. I am not saying a manager cannot come up with a good idea, they do too, but it is well known, true innovation percolates up, not down, from the creativity of the scientists and employees. At LLNL I have seen TOO many times the pure agony people go through to try to get an idea or proposal heard. Don't form a committee to help move ideas forward, get rid of the management layers that are killing the innovation. As proof, please look for your self at scientific publications of the national labs per number of total employees. You will see other national labs with far fewer workers produce far more papers, and thus more innovation than LLNL.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if I could have said this any better. At least in civil service and the military they had what was known as the _beneficial suggestion program_ where employees input was reviewed and if deemed feasible and noteworthy the employees got credit for their ideas, saving, innovations and was rewarded commensurately. At LLNS you can talk until you're blue in the face and get nowhere. They're resistant to any logical approach or simplistic resolution especially if it means "change" or having to spend worthwhile funds to mimic the private sector.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of worthwhile change, have you ever sat down with a procurement agent and had him or her run through the process it takes to order goods. It's a very archaic cumbersome and time consuming process. Automation in this department using one program that'll do it all without redundant entries of vital information in five different programs would be logical. After being exposed to this process I asked the agent, who in the hell developed this procurement software and process? It became very evident why it takes forever to acquire a simple replacement part and why Wal-Mart's got it all over LLNS when it comes to streamlining the procurement process of goods and assuring their shelves are never empty. The experience was very disheartening and of great concern.

Realistically FR needs to kick some ass, hire a software developer that'll integrate all of LLNL's programs into one program and have it one line in six months. In the private world inefficiency isn't tolerated. it'll only get you fired and for sure the person responsible at the top like FR wouldn't be making $400+ a years for allowing this process to stay the course. If FR can't do the job then please hire someone who can. At his level he only has to give direction to the program and issue what we sue to call a lawful order. If FR can't get the job done I have a son who's half his age that'll take his job for the same pay and he will get it done. The difference is, he's not a politician waiting on a golden handshake or retirement. He actually works for a living in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Save your energy for a job search. I agree with you, but it's a pipe dream that's just not going to happen.

Won't matter now anyway, the labs are sunk!

See: Nuclear Work in Danger

Anonymous said...

"Save your energy for a job search. I agree with you, but it's a pipe dream that's just not going to happen".

Doubtful...things can change and the lab will undergo dramatic changes over the next two years. The scientist are the way to the future, but the bloated management needs to go. I've also seen abusive managers and if there connected to right people they just keep moving up and really add no value to the programs.

Anonymous said...

And no lay-offs, hah? Want to re-think that again GM and FR. But don't worry when things get rough you can bail at $37K a month for the rest of your life while the people that actually did the work and got you where you are today will be on unemployment, welfare or some social subsistence. You two and your democratic comrade aka Big-O are such thoughtful people.

Anonymous said...

Whooo, this goes for LLNS too, desn't it. It's always nice to be paid for doing nothing isn't it.

Y'all seem to have forgotten that the LANS contract spells out an award fee of ~$79 million, regardless of the size of LANL's budget or the number of staff employed.

Think about that for a minute --

That's right! LANS does not care how big or small the budget is: it pays the same. Don't expect LANS to put up a big fight to retain LANL's diminishing budget and work portfolio.

Anonymous said...

Great letter! Unfortunately, none of the ideas will be implemented. From what I can see, this whole crazy scheme which LLNS has come up with is a purposeful plan to destroy any remaining science at LLNL and get the scientists to flee the place. LLNL then becomes a "lab" (and I use that word very loosely) with an easier budget to manage. The LLC profit fees remain the same regardless of what happens with LLNL's shrinking science base.

To put it bluntly, on one side you have "them" (LLNS executive management) and on the other side, "us" (the rest of the work force). In case you haven't noticed, it is "them" against "us", and they hold all the best cards in a deck that was stacked by NNSA.

Anonymous said...

8:56 AM

"Won't matter now anyway, the labs are sunk!"

Actually its the "NNSA" labs that are sunk. The DOE labs are doing very well in the ongoing budget debates. Even SNL-NM is solid. Only the NNSA design labs are in death dive.

If LLNL is going to survive it has to be taken out of NNSA nd moved back to DOE.

And if DOE is to focus on "energy" research and science, NNSA needs to moved to DOD.

Anonymous said...

If LLNL is going to survive it has to be taken out of NNSA nd moved back to DOE.

How about if we get under the DOD where we should have been all along.

Anonymous said...

At this point, I would even accept the idea of putting the NNSA labs under the Department of Agriculture if it would get us away from a badly broken NNSA!

Anonymous said...

The entire concept of NNSA was fundamentally flawed from the being. A semi-autonomous organization is like a semi-pregnant woman. To make matters worse, NNSA was staffed with mostly the same losers who couldn't manage the weapons complex as DOE. Changing office symbols and letterhead does not improve management.

Anonymous said...

February 16, 2009 3:38 PM

They consistently move the incompetent into management positions giving them huge pay raises that are never taken away even after they step down or are demoted, and then expecting things to get better. I think it's called the Peter principal.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. A perfect example of our incompetent management is the "100 day plan", which is being fabricated by a set of inbred managers in vacuum. Working scientists are not consulted or involved. "Emperor's New Cloths" ideas are the bulk of what they have come up with- not surprising, since no one on this committee is currently engaged in scientific research- how can they possibly chart our course for the future? If they opened themselves up to genuine scientific peer review they would be laughed out of the room immediately.

It is truly outrageous that these managers generate no new ideas, bring no new funding, destroy staff morale and get paid double or triple what the scientists who are doing the real work make.

There is no oversight by LLNS, and so the parasites are just bleeding us all dry. LLNS needs to lose the contract if they do not act to rein in the mismanagement.

Anonymous said...

"100 day plan"

Have not seen it, but I've heard there are multiple problems and hacks running the show. What is the plan?

This sounds symptomatic of the current S&T managers who lack leadership and scientific credentials. What ever happened to doing what we are good at and bringing together team science to solve problems!

Anonymous said...

You'll work at whatever is profitable and easiest for Bechtel to manage at LLNL.

Doing science is not profitable or particularly easy for them to manage.

Thus, science must give way to other endeavors. That's the current process that is taking place at this lab, whether you fully recognize it or not.

Anonymous said...

There is hope with the DOD, so I hope they do take over. Ask anyone who has worked with the DOD and then LLNS (or vice versa) and you can see how competent DOD management is, in comparison.

The DOD will need to gut everything though. They will need to wipe out the management layer from the top to the bottom to erase the culture of corruption. Assigning everyone new titles will do nothing. A bad culture is like a cancer, it will not be easy to eradicate.


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