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Strategies to Secure Engagement and Program Success

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Strategies to Secure Engagement and Program Success

You will learn:

  • The value of managers’ support
  • Where to start your continuous improvement program
  • How to set clear goals
  • Strategies for nurturing new ideas
  • How to provide tools to make Kaizen work
  • How a pilot program can boost success

Your continuous improvement program won’t get off the ground without employee engagement throughout the organization. It’s important to have strategies in place that can get everyone aligned on the program value and direction.

Secure managers’ support

If you start a continuous improvement program without managers’ support and encouragement, your program is more likely to fail. The message to embrace continuous improvement efforts must come from the top and be reinforced at every level of the organization. You need to start strong from bottom to top.

Start in the gemba

Gemba — where the work happens — should be another starting point for your continuous improvement strategy. No one knows better what’s happening than the operators who work there. You cannot solve the problems in a meeting room: you need to go to the gemba and listen to the employees. Involving them in this process will help ensure employees embrace this continuous improvement culture you are developing.

Set clear goals

Seeing low engagement? Your employees may not be participating because they don’t understand what you’re looking for. Clearly articulate the expectations for your continuous improvement program, and the expected rewards. Make sure your workforce understands the “why” behind this change. Explain the target impact of this new way of doing things on customers, employees and the company as a whole.

Nurture new ideas

Make sure, too, that everyone understands the value of small ideas as the underpinnings of ongoing improvement. At the beginning of this process, in particular, it’s important to act upon small ideas to build excitement around the process. To sustain excitement, many companies try incentives that range from cash rewards to leaderboards that support friendly improvement competitions.

Provide the right tools

Employees are likely to have lots of questions at the start of a continuous improvement initiative. To encourage trust, make sure that your managers are prepared to field these questions and recognize that addressing these questions is a way to improve productivity, not a criticism of the program. Encourage learning in this process, and empower your employees to seek answers that will further their understanding of your business and Kaizen processes.

Consider a pilot program

You can start the program as a pilot in an area known for active participation. This way you can test your approach with workers who are less likely to resist to change. Let them show you the opportunities they can find and use their feedback to improve the program as necessary. Strong engagement here will boost the impact of the program on your managers, and it will be more likely to gain managerial support as well. Starting with a pilot will also make it safe to explore new ways of marketing the program.

Realize you won’t change your world in a day

Everyone wants their projects and efforts to be successful the day after their implementation, but success takes time and patience. So instead of trying to revolutionize the processes, make sure you can fix the small pieces that can make a great difference. Sometimes the most rewarding improvements come from daily repetition avoidance — the reduction of obvious waste that no one seems to take care of “because it is part of the process.” If you can expend less effort and achieve a greater reward, it definitely should be a target for improvement.

Next Steps

For More Information:

Set Expectations and Deliver Training on Improvement Processes

Leadership’s Role in Change Management

 Change Management When Implementing Kaizen

7 Conditions for Successful Implementation of a Kaizen Strategy


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