But even in those well known organizations, are they exploring the full capability of the resources they have? It is a question always bothered me. Most of the people do routine jobs day after day. They will not exactly know the neither value addition they do nor new ways to create value to the system. Traditional organizations will think about maximizing use of their machinery while a lean organization would look at optimizing the use of its machinery, yet most of the organizations do not even realize they are wasting their most valuable asset of all, the human resource. This is the eighth (8th) waste of lean, for me the most important of all.
If you think thinking is the job of management and workers need to follow them you are wrong. If you are thinking of following lean manufacturing, then you are violating one of its basics, the respect for people. People should be respected for the jobs they are doing and they should be respected for the ability and knowledge they have to change to your organization.
People actually carrying out the job would know how to do that job better. So they can come up with simple yet effective solutions if given the correct guidance. Leaders of the organization must communicate the way of lean thinking to the entire organization. This will be a long term and never ending activity. Managers must provide the opportunity to the workers to come up with their ideas freely. They have to build the performance driven culture. Ideas should be valued with positive rewards. This is a good starting point for Kaizen or the continuous improvement.
A “lean human resource management team” can contribute towards the tangible benefits of the organization apart from the obvious functions they carryout day to day. They will not be doing a passive job in a lean context, but will be actually taking part in the value creation process for their customers. So the benefits will be directly linked to the outcome of the organization. Employee performance enhancement, value saved through innovations, employee retention rates can be some of the indicators you can measure. But for me the most important indicator would be the smiling faces of the work force 🙂
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