The concept of lean management derives from the manufacturing industry, where the focus is on the outflow of products rather than the waste that comes with it. In recent years, however, lean management has been expanded to include non-manufacturing functions, including human resources. Here’s a bit more about how lean workforce optimization uses these principles to keep employees happy, while delivery stays at a maximum.
One of the prime components of lean management is solely providing components that add value for the customer. Within manufacturing, managers are sometimes driven to create more and more product lines without considering whether there’s a value to consumers. As a provider, understand that each job function must add value to the customer. As a stakeholder, the function must add value to the employee’s satisfaction. Now take a look at your job descriptions and make sure the responsibilities you’ve developed will allow newly hired employees to grow and succeed with your company, while adding value to your bottom line.
The second premise of lean management is a bit more dynamic. At all levels, waste must be identified and rapidly removed. Business climates change, and processes and functions that were once important can become redundant and wasteful. According to lean management practices, they need to be quickly eliminated. Of course, when applying this to human assets, a person’s livelihood can be at risk. To maintain a lean management environment without risking consistent layoffs, it’s important to cross train your entire staff to see if they might be a good fit elsewhere within the organization. This way, as job functions ebb and flow, you can simply move employees as opposed to firing one and hiring another.
One of the greatest sources of employee waste revolves around office space. Every hour that a desk sits empty is a waste of the company’s rent. Today’s lean business environments do not all need a brick and mortar workplaces. High-powered smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, possessed by a number of employees spanning generation to generation has enough power to conduct most business transactions.
Add to that a tablet or laptop and your company has the ability to be on the go and work from home offices or at a local coffee shop. This is one of the reasons that more than a third of employees telecommute to work — and this number will only continue to rise.
Research indicates an organizational-centered focus directly affects both employee satisfaction company productivity. Lean management practices are supremely focused on company behavior and operation, and it’s just one reason why so many Silicon Valley companies have created cultures that mix fun, family and business into one profitable environment. Plus, it allows employees to feel a greater part of their company and not hyper-focused the dichotomy of workplace roles.
Lean manufacturing has been shown to reduce lead time, increase communication efficiency and improve overall service quality. Much of this comes from creating a new level of flexibility within the company. Since your staff is always looking inward, trying to find the best ways to eliminate waste, they will be looking for out-of-the-box ideas to achieve this.
As an HR manager, part of your job is to find talented individuals able to contribute to this way of thinking. Look for prospective employees who can demonstrate creativity, the ability to communication effectively and who possess a track record of implementing lean strategies.