Companies seeking ways to enhance their processes, products or services often embrace the concept of continuous improvement (CI) programs. But those programs will only work if your employees buy into them. Here are five strategies to keep your employees focused on the future and engaged in bettering both their own work and the performance of their team or department.
1) Management needs to set a good example. Your workforce needs to see that management is not only committed to the CI initiative but truly participating in the process. Senior leaders need to engage with employees at all levels of the organization and give true face time. This type of powerful interaction can inspire them to go back to their teams, promote culture change, and get those teams to support the new program.
2) Management needs to give positive feedback. It’s simple—if the only feedback the workforce hears is negative, they’ll begin to resent the CI program as just another way for management to monitor and criticize. Your employees need to be recognized for good performance when it’s appropriate, and feedback should be given continuously as well. For example, include performance reviews after individual projects.
3) Employees should feel free to make suggestions. Not only should you create an employee suggestion program, but you should ensure that any suggestions received are followed up on, if not implemented. Employees need to feel like their opinions are valued. If a suggestion is not going to be considered, it’s important to communicate your reasons back to the employee.
4) Management needs to communicate the end goal. It sounds so simple, but it’s often forgotten: make sure your employees understand why you’re implementing a CI program. Do you want to control operational costs, make your company more profitable or make your service more competitive? How will you do it? Communicate your progress, also.
5) Management can consider performance-based economic incentives. One of the biggest motivators for employee involvement in CI programs is their ability to improve their income and quality of living. Some people feel that providing economic incentives sends the wrong message because employees should be giving high levels of effort and commitment simply because it’s their job. But not everyone feels the same way about their jobs, and creating a systematic way of rewarding performance can bring tremendous value. When you reward employees financially, you’re not just reinforcing their behavior, but you’re also creating a model for under-performing employees to emulate.
Continuous improvement is powerful when you combine the efficiencies your business will gain with the improved employee satisfaction. And one big way you can succeed at continuous improvement is to employ terrific people. So call Synerfac when you need to improve your hiring process or your workforce!