Integrating Employee Survey and Employee Motivation

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums General Forums Methodology Integrating Employee Survey and Employee Motivation

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Anthony S. 1 year, 1 month ago.

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    hi Guys

    Within my master’s thesis, which I write in a company, the goal is to optimize a process in the company.
    It’s all about increasing and stabilizing productivity. (Quantity produced / employee hours).

    For this I should orient myself on the DMAIC cycle, which provides me with a really good red thread.
    In addition, I conducted an employee survey, which represents the current situation regarding employee motivation (team play, leadership behavior, employee utilization and communication). Employee motivation ultimately has an effect on productivity.

    Now I’m trying to somehow integrate this survey and employee motivation into the DMAIC cycle, just somehow I lack the creativity.

    How can this be combined?
    VOC CTQ Matrix?

    Best regards!


    Robert Butler

    If your post was, by choice, extremely brief and:
    1. If you have run a survey with meaningful measures
    2. If you have determined production/employee hour is a good measure of the process.
    3. If you have defined the process and really understand how it works
    4. If you have determined the key issues with respect to improving production/hour are all under the control of the employees.

    Then what you have at the moment is a baseline measure. Your next step would be to look at the results of your survey, analyze those findings to identify some aspect of the process to change, make the change, and then repeat your measurements at some later date to see if it made a difference.

    What concerns me is the following:

    1. There is no indication in your post that you have any understanding of the process – no mention of block diagramming, fishbone assessment, quantification of issues concerning quality of quantity of product produced, and no indication that the measure of quantity produced/employee hour is of any value.

    a.If the issue is problems with the process itself then all of the employee motivation in the world isn’t going to change a thing and any correlation you might get between some aspect of your survey and quality change would be due to dumb luck.

    b.Quantity produced/employee hour doesn’t seem to me to be of much use. For example, you could ramp output through the roof but if the defect rate increases proportionally then you haven’t done anything – just increased the rate of defect production. You could easily have an improvement with the same level of output/employee hour with a reduction in scrap/defect rate.

    2. If we assume you have defined the process and know it is strictly an issue of employee motivation as defined by you then how did you build the survey, what did you include in it, and why did you choose the measures you did?

    a.Your quick list of motivation measures was, of course, not all inclusive but I find it interesting it didn’t include a single tangible source of motivation (larger percentage pay increases, improvement in benefits, etc.)

    b.Have the questions been constructed in a way that they will permit the identification of aspects of the employee experience which can actually be changed.

    If you don’t know the process, if you don’t know the correctness of your measure, and if your questions identify things that can’t be changed then you need to start over.



    Many thanks for your response.
    I’ll try to bring in a little more clarity.
    So, the goal of the project is to increase productivity. This results from the employee hours and the quantities produced.
    A rough previous analysis has shown that performance varies by layer. This is probably partly due to differences in employee satisfaction. So the morning shift is much better than the other shift. I measured this satisfaction based on a few criteria for the employees (50 employees). So how is the teamplay, the leadership behavior, etc. It was noticeable that better communication is urgently needed. Accordingly, a shop floor board was introduced.
    Now I’m trying to somehow integrate these elements into the DMAIC cycle.

    1. There is no indication in your post that you have any understanding of the process – no mention of block diagramming, fishbone assessment, quantification of issues concerning quality of quantity of product produced, and no indication that the measure of quantity produced/employee hour is of any value.

    The process is internalized and presented as SIPOC.

    a.Your quick list of motivation measures was, of course, not all inclusive but I find it interesting it didn’t include a single tangible source of motivation (larger percentage pay increases, improvement in benefits, etc.).

    Such elements are not possible. However, a higher presence of executives, shop floor management, etc.

    The only problem is that I conducted a survey in advance, which showed that there are major deficits in communication and leadership behavior. Then a shop floor board was introduced.
    I would like to fit this into the goal (increasing productivity) somehow.

    Unfortunately, the idea with the DMAIC cycle came later.


    Robert Butler

    Before I go any further please understand I’m not trying to be sarcastic, mean spirited, or condescending. I have two concerns here – first is your effort to finish a master’s thesis (I know how much time and effort one of these things take – I have a couple of Master’s Degrees myself ) and second is to provide you with some suggestions concerning a resolution of the problem you are trying to address should you want to try DMAIC.

    With this in mind I would say the following: based on your description of what has been done to date it is not DMAIC and I think trying to recast what has been done by tacking on some afterthought investigations in order to call what was done DMAIC is a waste of time.

    What you can do with what you have: Basically someone did some kind of back-of-the-envelope assessment (“a rough previous analysis”) and decided that the issue was employee satisfaction. I realize you said “this is probably partly due to differences in employee satisfaction” but the actions you have described indicate you and/or the people you are working for believe this is THE issue.

    Based on what you have said it would appear you have the means to test this conjecture and put it to rest one way or the other. You have prior productivity measures, someone decided the issue was employee satisfaction, to this end a shop floor board was introduced and…what happened? You must have productivity measures after the board was introduced … so is there a significant difference in pre/post shop floor board implementation or not? If there isn’t then I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the idea that employee satisfaction is the driver.

    If you can’t do a proper DMAIC I’d recommend trying the above, doing the minimum additional work as per your adviser’s requirements, write up what you have, get your degree, and press on.

    On the other hand, if you have time to follow DMAIC, I would offer the following:

    1.You said “the process is internalized and presented as SIPOC”. SIPOC is a nice tool for getting people to give some thought to what might go into a process but it is not a substitute for the Define phase. As for “internalized” I don’t know what that means.

    2.You said someone did a “rough previous analysis.” My experience with these kinds of analysis is that they aren’t. Rather they are a reflection of what has been referred to as a B.O.G.G.S.A.T. analysis (Bunch Of Guys & Gals Sitting Around Talking) and all they contain are impressions of WELL-MEANING people who have no intimate day-to-day contact with the process itself.

    To really understand the process you will have to personally walk the line (by yourself, no managers present), take the time to talk to everyone in the working environment (take copious notes while talking), and actually ask them to describe what they are doing as well as ask their opinion concerning issues that might bear on a difference in productivity between the two shifts (this means talking to both first and second shift). There is, of course, more to the Define phase but this is key and it provides a solid foundation for the rest of the Define effort.

    3.You mention “the morning shift is much better than the other shift.” For me, a statement like this screams process not people. Regardless of employee satisfaction, random chance says there should have been occasions when second was better than first. From the process standpoint, after I had walked the floor and employed the rest of the tools used in the Define phase, I would want to think about issues like the following:
    a.Is there a difference in the makeup of the shifts? For example: is the bulk of the first shift comprised of experienced workers and the bulk of the second shift comprised of new hires? Is second shift in any way considered/treated/perceived as a punishment assignment?
    b.Is there a difference in the supply chain between shifts (raw material deliveries are ready and waiting for first shift but second shift has to go out and pull new material from the store room, restock various aspects of the operation , clean up after first shift before proceeding, etc.).
    c.With regard to supply chain – are the raw materials provided to first and second uniform – that is same supplier, same material lots, same location in the factory setting, etc.
    d.Is the break between shifts clean – that is, does the performance of the second shift depend in any way on what was done on the first shift? If so, what is the situation concerning hand-off – and how smooth is it?
    e.Is there any aspect of the production cycle that depends on results from the QC lab? If so, is the lab manned to the same level for both shifts? Is there any difference with respect to response times between first and second shift? Is there any difference in the frequency of sample testing/submission between the two shifts?

    Obviously there are many more issues than what I’ve listed above. What I’ve tried to do is provide you with a quick summary of some of the things I’ve seen in the past that, when discovered, proved to be the real driver between differences in shift performance.


    Mike Carnell

    @cekay1990 I think Robert Butler (@rbutler) has been more than kind to you and has put a large amount of time into answering your question (that I don’t believe you really want answered – you just want someone to tell what a great job you are doing). You need to take his advice and run.

    If at any point you decide to actually go look at the process find the constraint. You will not change the productivity until you either manage the constraint differently or improve it so it produces more. That would be if you want to play a numerator game. Now if you increase the output and there is no market for it you did nothing.

    You can play the denominator game and cut hours. It’s a stupid strategy but as long as all you see is a calculation in front of you I am just stating the obvious.

    Just my opinion.


    Anthony S.

    Hey Josh, I may be jumping in a bit late here with the substantive responses above so I’ll briefly focus on the workplace motivation part. My master’s is in I/O psychology and I’ll warn you that even if your assessment has passed the various tests of validity and reliability and you have a statistically significant correlation between survey results and performance (quantity produced/employee hours) and there’s a statistically significant difference in performance between the two shifts, your ‘r’ for this type of relationship in the workplace is typically less than .35 meaning it explains less than 13% (r-squared or .35*.35) of the variation in performance, meaning 87% of the variation is being caused elsewhere; this would actually be more on the high end and more realistically your ‘r’, assuming statistically significant, would likely be between .1 and .2…explaining 1-4% of the observed variation. Having gone through this in both the academic and professional worlds, I’ve learned the world of academia cares a lot about significance (p<.05) and doesn’t always do the best job at explaining the real world implications. I wish you good luck in your thesis and improving the process(es) you’re working on.

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