Often, we see organizations with a top-down approach to making improvements to their processes in efforts to provide better goods or services to their customers. Process improvement should be inclusive of all members of an organization to reap the greatest benefits of a change. Employees who work with processes day-to-day or are in direct contact with your customers have invaluable information and hidden insights into the main obstacles and challenges getting in the way of creating value to the customer. The trick as a manager is getting your team to generate process improvement ideas. In fact, doing so can make the difference between a change sticking or not sticking.
So just how do you get a team to generate ideas? Below are some tips to start a Continuous Improvement (CI) Culture in your team:
Keep the Process Simple: Design a simple process for staff to communicate their ideas. This could be in the form of a one pager that states the problem, the proposed solution, and the steps to implement. Give autonomy to the area Manager to approve and keep this process simple! Communicating ideas at a daily huddle to a Manager is a great way to keep this simple.
Encourage Small Improvements: Encourage staff to come up with small improvements that are easy to implement, and even better if staff can implement themselves. Small improvements go a long way to making a lasting impact, and the short implementation times allow staff to see the results sooner.
Recognition for Implemented Ideas: Don’t forget to celebrate successes and recognize the staff member for their idea! This will provide momentum for ideas to come and entice other staff to participate.
Transparency: Keeping lines of communication open between Management and staff goes a long way in making improvements. Staff need to be aware of what the organizations goals are and where service levels may be falling short to know how they can contribute to the organization. Results for implemented ideas should also be shared with staff, whether that means quicker delivery times or reduced processing errors for example. Even unsuccessful improvements can make a positive impact: share them and identify why they are not working. Use this to course correct with your team.
Measure the Program: Introduce some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure how well your Continuous Improvement Program is working; an example which tracks the efficacy of your teams’ voice is percentage of submitted ideas that are implemented.
Building a culture of Continuous Improvement (CI) takes some work, but with open communication and simple process in place, your teams’ ideas can contribute to overall success of your area.
If your organization is ready to embark on its continuous improvement journey, get in touch with us using the form below: