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How Employee Engagement Impacts Continuous Improvement Culture

2 minutes, 39 seconds read

We’ve all heard that engaged employees are more productive and are good for a company’s bottom line. But engaged employees are also more likely to seek out the improvements upon which a kaizen culture relies.

Research indicates that engagement comes from workers who feel that they’re good at their work and that what they do matters. Employees who know their actions make a difference will seek out ways to improve upon what they do. But it’s up to employers to provide the type of feedback that validates their employees’ work.

Feedback that shows employees you’re tuned in to their suggestions is a strong way to boost engagement and improve your processes. In fact, research indicates that employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. These are the employees who will actively seek out ways to improve the customer experience. And these are the employees (ideally, your entire workforce) you want driving your continuous improvement program.

Fortunately, many of the strategies you’ll use to boost engagement dovetail nicely with building a continuous improvement culture.

How to improve employee engagement

Consider the following six ways to boost employee engagement around continuous improvement:

  1. Listen to employee input. Implementing some form of “suggestion box” is one way to show employees that their opinions matter. Of course, how you act on those suggestions is even more important.
  2. Communicate clearly on the types of improvements you want. Without guidelines on the type of feedback you seek, you may not get any actionable suggestions. And not acting on suggestions is a surefire way to sink your improvement program.
  3. Educate employees on the tools available to test suggestions. Build engagement by putting the testing process in the hands of the frontline employees impacted by suggestions.
  4. Be transparent on how you’ll gauge and use suggestions. Put a process in place for how improvements are tested and approved. Then, make sure your employees are aware of the process and can check in on the status of their suggestions.
  5. Celebrate improvements, no matter how small. Any suggestion that improves your business is worth celebrating. Highlighting the employee who suggested it is a great way to draw attention to your continuous improvement program and recognize engaged employees.
  6. Encourage daily habits that support continuous improvement. Getting employees in the habit of continually looking for weaknesses can become a strength for your company. After all, every problem is an opportunity to get even better. And every improvement suggestion is an opportunity to more fully engage employees.

Need more insight?

If you’re looking for more ways to engage employees, watch for updates from the Association for Manufacturing Excellence’s Lean Summit, taking place this week in Atlanta. Marc Braun, president of Cambridge Engineering, will offer his insight for engaging every employee, every day, in continuous improvement. Catch his keynote presentation on Wednesday, May 8.

And if you’re ready for a tool that can help empower your employees to executive their ideas, let us know.

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