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Submitted by: Christopher Stainow
In regards to continuous improvement within the workplace, improvements generally only happen when there is someone in the business who is responsible for improvement. In most organisations, this role falls to senior management, who strategies and plan initiatives. Various tasks within this role performed by management could include implementing quality management systems, or even improving workflow processes in order to continuously improve the standard of work that is produced within the organisation.
On the other hand, often when this role is delegated to a single person, the rest of the company no longer considers improvements. This means that entire departments may not be adhering to protocol or striving to meet continuous improvement standards within the workplace, believing this to be the job of the person in charge of such strategies. As a result, productivity is compromised, as the most important improvements are only implemented by management rather than those who perform work tasks on a daily basis. This also affects the overall standards within quality management, as there is no sense of responsibility that comes with being involved in strategies on a greater skill. Instead, employees simply follow orders and implement the tasks in question as given to them by senior management.
Improvement is achieved by learning the things that work, and the things that do not work, as well as the things that can be done in a more effective way. In this way, it is important for the entire organisation to be involved to a certain extent. Some important factors that should be kept in mind when implementing any improvement plan within the workplace include the following:
How experimentation assists improvement
During many experiments to improve systems, mistakes are made and in many cases, the experiments fail. Companies who avoid risk and do not condone mistakes of any kind often fail to see real improvements, especially in the case of mistakes made by staff who are implementing the improvement plan.
It is therefore essential to strive towards an approach that allows staff to try new initiatives, implement new strategies and find new processes that can simplify workflow. Staff should be empowered to suggest improvements, in order to increase leadership opportunities and add value to the organisation. In this way, staff are more actively involved with strategies, and are given more responsibility to ensure that they implement each task to the best of their abilities.
Why improvement is the entire organisations responsibility
Senior management in charge of improvement processes can be seen as facilitators. Starting with small work processes, improvements are then taken to organisation level often without including levels below. This could have some serious implications however, as staff who are not involved with any aspects of improvement strategies do not feel empowered or responsible for processes within their place of work.
The primary benefit to involving staff in company improvement strategies is to encourage responsibility, creativity and productivity. In this way, the people who implement the improvements are able to contribute to the company, thereby committing to continuous improvement on a far more personal scale.
About the Author: Article by Christopher Stainow, Chief Executive of Lennox Hill; creators of
isoTracker Quality Management System
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