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How to Motivate Employees

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums General Forums New to Lean Six Sigma How to Motivate Employees

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #54951

    Jason Torres
    Participant

    As a supervisor, how can I better motivate employees to embrace the implantation of Lean Six Sigma when they believe it is just a process to eliminate jobs by improving efficiency? With today technology employees can uses smart phones to instantly become better informed. Some see lean as a job elimination tool and spread fear to the other about the success of Lean Six Sigma. I’d love to hear your input.

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    #197833

    cfb
    Guest

    One Way:

    LSS is simply a methodology, and one of many. The “motivation” piece lies separate from the chosen CPI skill set and falls within the realm of change management theory, which can often be distilled into “those that do the work must design the work”. Meaning, changing the work changes the culture not the other way around. One ought not engage in “change management” in order to “motivate” employees in accepting a new way of working. Rather, management should provide the method (maybe LSS, maybe another) and remove the organizational barriers that prevent them from using the method to co-create a new way of working. It is the role of leadership to provide both the definition of success (the what) and a way to achieve it (the how)….If the process owner(s) have a better method to arrive at the desired behaviors, then so be it, as long as they deliver on “the what”…

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    #197834

    Don Strayer
    Guest

    You can find plenty of literature supporting top-down vs. bottom-up, the value of rewards and incentives (monetary or just recognition) or that rewards are counter-productive since they may be seen as special treatment, or meaningless if nearly everyone gets them. In my experience, successful continuous improvement programs require universal ownership. We’re all in this together. Most people really want to do a good job provided that they are valued, have opportunities for advancement, and are treated fairly. This takes enlightened and committed management.

    In regard to technology and efficiency, workers will embrace improvement if they see opportunity for better jobs. In the history of the industrial revolution Luddites and unions resisted increased automation because their nasty, tedious, and often dangerous low-paying jobs would no longer be needed and they saw no opportunity to obtain better jobs. This goes on today. Early in my career I worked as a teletype operator. I had an enlightened manager who told me that I should work toward eliminating the need for my current job so I could move on, and the company would pay for classes so I could learn how to automate that operation. It was sage advice. I automated the wire room so that manual typing was eliminated and I moved on. But it wouldn’t have happened without enlightened management and support for training.

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    #197844

    Shelby Jarvis
    Participant

    Jason,

    You face a very real and common problem. Many companies use LSS as a weapon for cutting jobs and that is a shame. I suggest you first do an assessment of yourself, your company, and your culture. Has your actions shown a bias to cost cutting in the past? If yes, then you will need to take meaningful and visible actions to earn a changed culture.

    From your post, I feel like you want the right culture, but wanting it isn’t enough. View the culture from your teams eyes and improve if needed.

    The next step is learn to show value to the employees and the business with the projects. If you do not improve your processes, you will lose any competitive advantage, so you cannot make the projects about feel good efforts (just for the sake of changing the culture.)

    Learn to engage the employees. Respect those who want to come to work, do their job and leave; but also learn to leverage those who are looking for more. With a project in hand, select the right people to participate in improving the process. This will engage their minds and create a value for them.

    Focus on the Right Things: Safety>>Quality>>Delivery>>Cost

    Notice cost is last. If you focus on cost first, you may find that you sacrifice Safety, Quality, and/or delivery. This will not show employees the right culture and they will disengage. Ironically it will not result in improved business.

    * Select a project which is aligned to the strategy of your business.
    * Select strong leaders and strong employees to be on the team
    * For each process improvement, focus improvements in the proper order. Safety, Quality, Delivery, and Cost.
    * Safety: Another way of thinking of safety is people first. However, an injured employee cannot make the product. Ironically, some cost cutting measures hurt safety. One accident eliminates all of the false savings from cost cutting exercises.
    * Quality: It doesn’t matter if you make a low quality product by cutting cost in it. If the quality doesn’t suit the customer, it is meaningless.
    * Delivery: Most businesses survive on cash flow. To help customers control cost, hitting the delivery dates is critical.
    ** Ironically, if you improve safety, quality, and delivery, you will frequently learn that you have also improved cost. You have done so by engaging the employees and by making future processes more meaningful. However, if your cost are still out of control, you have at least earned your right to focus on cost.
    * Cost: I like to re-write this from cost to value. Value is judged by the customer and can be expressed by the equation of Value = Product Function / Cost. If you do this, you open up possibilities to be more customer focused than only being internally focused.

    Above all else: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

    Regardless of if you use my input or others, don’t forget to communicate what you are trying to do, why your doing it, how you plan to achieve results, who is going to help, and when you expect to begin. Even if you have bad news, get in front of it with good communication. I recommend involving people from within your company who are experts on communication to help assure your message is consistent with their standards.

    Shelby

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    #197873

    Eric Milligan
    Participant

    Hello,

    I’m a student at the University of Central Missouri, and I was hoping for some more insight from this discussion. In regards to the first question, is it harder to get workers who are closer to retirement to jump on board to a lean six sigma methodology?

    Eric Milligan

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    #197875

    Chris Seider
    Participant

    Employees “on the line” or in the process should be part of teams finding solutions using the data based approach. This helps in selling solutions.

    Hopefully, the pain points for the business are related to pain problems of the employees. Most employees, especially when some of them are part of the solution, are happier when processes go better. However, those metrics should be visible.

    If production is more efficient, or quality goes up, or waste goes down–the team and management needs to highlight these changes.


    @ericjmilligan
    You’ll always hear “we’ve always done it this way” but a good continuous improvement individual will persevere and remember change management is just as important as the tools….

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    #197883

    Eric Milligan
    Participant

    @ShelbyJarvis, do you feel that companies are often reactive when implementing new safety practices? It has been my experience that new safety policies are set in place after an accident occurs. What are some proactive tools you have used to create a safer environment throughout a work process?

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    #197885

    Jason Torres
    Participant

    @ericjmilligan I would say no most of the employees that are closer to retirement at my facility are more interested in trying to make a change for the betterment of future employees. The one that are the most challenging to get to buy in are those who were laid off from a previous job due to management using Lean as a way to immediately cut employee numbers instead of eliminating waste such as rework and wasted movements first.

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    #197886

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @ericjmilligan Proximity to retirement has nothing to do with it. I spoke in an earlier post this evening about a South African deployment that @cseider and I were on. Wave 1, the highest risk wave, we had a man who had 33 years with the company. Why did he join? curiosity, challenge, etc. who knows and I didn’t care. His value to the deployment was more in his understanding of how the company functioned and his ability to mentor the younger BB’s in the deployment on proper behavior and how to get things done in the company with the least amount of resistance. These guys are gems. find a couple and recruit them.

    Just my opinion.

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    #197887

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @jat79110 You need to understand your company culture and how it works. There are no books or org charts that are going to give this to you. This is getting out and mixing with people and getting into conversations.

    I would identify the informal leaders in the organization. The people that other people go to when the sh*t hits the fan. Some will be on the org chart but most won’t be. Get into conversations with them. Ask their advice. Treat them with respect. They are your best allies.

    Second do not go off into some room by yourself or with a couple managers and design your deployment (yes they do need design and planning). Build a plan that is the team output (particularly if you have consultants involved). If you do it by yourself it will become your plan. Use a team and it becomes the companies plan. Stay involved. Stay visible. Keep talking (all shifts).

    Keep the CEO involved and have that person be aware of projects and ask about them when they are in an area where there are projects. I had one CEO that would visit with the belts after hours. Just sit and talk. Answered any question that was asked. That word spreads fast and it makes middle management behave better.

    It is the old MBWA – management by walking around (Tom Peters from In Search of Excellence) but now people call it Gemba and act like it is new. At the end of the day it is just plain hard work and getting involved.

    Just my opinion.

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    #197924

    HBGB B^2
    Guest

    Money.
    Reward them monetarily.

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    #197926

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @HBGB B^2 The Usual Suspects are back. HB how have you been?

    Great advice. Very enlightened.

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    #197952

    JB
    Participant

    Employee Motivation is an interesting topic. Search the internet for Human Performance Improvement or Diagnosing Human Performance Problems and related topics and you will find some great information. Limit your search to *.edu sites and you’ll skip everyone trying to sell you something and find some good information.

    Try the book “Analyzing Performance Problems: Or, You Really Oughta Wanna–How to Figure out Why People Aren’t Doing What They Should Be, and What to do About It” May, 1997 by Robert F. Mager (Author), Peter Pipe (Author)

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    #198076

    Don Hutchcraft
    Guest

    I had this problem as my company began changing to a Lean methodology. The problem I had as one of those directly affected was the lack of communication as to “what” was trying to be accomplished. It was not until I began the LSS training that i finally “saw the light”. My advice, educate your employees as to what this process will do for them. Had I knowm from the beginning what I have recently learned, my whole outlook would have been different.

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