Business New Brunswick must slash its permanent staff and axe salaries in order for the province to gain a competitive edge, according to a leading Université de Moncton public policy guru. The department should light a fire under employees by adopting a commission-based approach linked to measurable gains in economic growth, Donald Savoie told the Telegraph-Journal in a recent editorial board meeting. Under that model, the more jobs a Business New Brunswick employee brings in, the more money he or she earns. A failure to generate jobs means a big, fat zero.
I haven’t had a lot of direct interaction with Business New Brunswick in recent years, but when I did there were at least some there that would have liked this kind of thinking. They would say they need the right structure, toolkit and remuneration package. It is easy to turn an economic development department into a ‘policy’ shop that helps small business and writes the occassional brochure. However, a lean and mean sales agency promoting New Brunswick to the four corners of the world is a far tougher proposition. You need to hire top sales persons, top marketers, product/program development specialists, etc. and then you need to have a structure that doesn’t impede their ability to get the job done.
I hope Savoie’s comments are well received but……