Ten Guidelines for Higher ROI from Continuous Improvement Initiatives

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Looking to Increase Your Impact on Your Organization’s Success?

Posted by: Cheryl Jekiel | No Comments

Many years ago, I was talking with an operations manager whom I deeply respect. When I asked him about the role of HR in building his organization’s lean capabilities, his face scrunched up. His disappointment was palpable.

His answer? “We work around them.”

That moment was a pivotal point in my working life, which has been dedicated to supporting the continuous strengthening of the HR function in supporting lean transformations. But for years I’ve noted that HR people struggle to find ways to become experts and get involved in what lean can really do for an organization.

When lean is viewed as a program to reduce costs, especially as it pertains to areas outside the scope of the responsibility of HR, it makes it difficult to see how HR can make the significant difference that’s possible.

Lean is a way to think differently. It changes how employees are engaged. It changes how leaders function. It changes the way problems are solved. It has the ability to change everything. So, it’s clear that HR needs to be heavily involved.

Many HR professionals I’ve met over the years want to increase their relevance in the organization. They’re frustrated with being bogged down in work that doesn’t add the value they want for themselves, and they strive to be more strategic in their role.

My Lean Leadership Center is participating in a People Development Summit on September 11th and 12th in Savannah to support addressing all of these concerns. The discussions throughout the session will be especially helpful for anyone who wants to impact a lean organization (especially the people part).

So, why make it a priority to be at the People Development Summit?

If you are like most professionals, you want to be able to add more value to the workplace, which becomes even more complex in a lean enterprise. Even better, this event provides a great opportunity to meet others with similar needs, which can speed up your success.

Operations folks often tell me that they want HR to be their business partner. They want to support HR in getting more up to speed on how to support continuous improvement.

They are interested in new avenues for leadership development that drive a more empowered work environment. They know that increasing the engagement of their team will help them achieve all of their goals, and they need more support to make that happen.

A lean leadership model generally requires significant change in job roles, how jobs are defined and what leadership development is needed. Often, HR people haven’t been exposed to this new model enough to know exactly what is involved and what they need to do about it.

Other opportunities for HR to contribute include managing employee suggestions and involvement, helping identify ways team members can build problem-solving skills, implementing better training programs and ensuring accountability systems and rewards programs are functioning in alignment with lean principles.

It has long been well established that lean is dependent on being able to create the appropriate culture, so HR needs to be front and center in leading the movement.

HR is a key component to a successful lean transformation, but oftentimes organizations don’t clearly understand that fact. The focus is often on how to use continuous improvement to enhance manufacturing—one project at a time. HR could greatly expand the role of continuous improvement into how people think by comprehensively building it into the fabric of how work is performed.

The People Development Summit is a chance to interact with other professionals both in HR and in other areas of responsibility who want to be fully skilled in continuous improvement talent strategies and their role in implementing them.

Whether you are in HR or have a role in the people part of lean, you need to be there.

Click here to learn more and register.

Hope to see you there.

P.S. The Association for Manufacturing Excellence is gathering a number of Champions of HR for Excellence at the People Development Summit. For more information about networking opportunities with Champions of HR for Excellence, go to www.ame.org/champions-hr-excellence.

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