How continuous improvement and skills management go hand in hand

My Post - 2020-03-09T180954.457.pngYour organization’s success is largely dependent on your employees’ skills and competences. Skills management and continuous improvement allow you to map skills and competences, and then plan and develop them further.

But how should you tackle strategies such as continuous improvement and skills management in practice? And how do they complement each other? Find out how!

Why adopt continuous improvement?

Continuous improvement has almost become a standard slogan in today’s business world in which market demand and requirements are changing by the day. It’s key for companies looking to remain competitive in the longer term.

But what is continuous improvement?

Continuous improvement – also known as Lean and Kaizen – is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes by means of ‘incremental’ improvements over time. It also addresses issues such as cost reduction.

A characteristic of this way of working is that it doesn’t involve one-off measures, but continuous improvements as a gradual, never-ending change – or more simply ‘getting better all the time’. What’s more, these improvements are put forward and carried out by the employees themselves.

3 steps to continuous improvement

Continuous improvement can be split into several pre-defined phases. Read about these phases below.

  1. Analyze and generate suggestions for improvement. This first phase involves identifying and classifying any problems. Analyze the facts and then clearly determine your organization’s core values and objectives, and the extent to which these relate to current operational processes. Always keep your customers’ perspective top of mind while doing so. What do your customers want?
    Make sure your employees put forward suggestions for improvements as a team to encourage employee engagement. Workshops and brainstorming sessions are also good ways to implement this first phase.
  2. The second phase involves putting into practice the suggestions for improvement that you identified in Phase 1. Again, do this as a team and involve as many stakeholders as possible, for example other departments, suppliers, customers, etc. Experience has shown that diversity often leads to better solutions and wider acceptance.
  3. The third and final phase involves monitoring and learning. Once you’ve implemented the suggestions, it’s important to measure and monitor their effect. Check that they’ve actually resolved the problems and/or to what extent. Evaluate your solution carefully and use any insights gained as input for your next incremental improvement.

What are the benefits?

But what’s the benefit to your organization from implementing continuous improvement? Once you’ve analyzed your results, you should discover a number of benefits.

  • Continuous improvement helps you improve processes. Throughput times are often shorter, costs reduced, and errors minimized.
  • By embedding continuous improvement throughout your organization, you’ll also raise customer knowledge levels. When every employee knows what customers want and expect, it’s so much easier to identify the components of processes or customer journeys that need attention. You’ll end up meeting your customers’ needs and requirements far more easily, and even exceeding their expectations.
  • Continuous improvement also raises knowledge levels among employees about your organization’s objectives. Terms such as ‘strategy’ and ‘core values’ then take on greater meaning for your entire workforce.
  • It also encourages ongoing professional development at individual, team, and leadership levels. Ultimately, your workforce will become far more flexible and dynamic.
  • Continuous improvement also leads to greater engagement, reduced absenteeism, and increased job satisfaction.
  • In the current economic climate, change is the only constant. Today’s innovations may be totally outdated in six months’ time. Continuous improvement encourages agility and increases adaptability. Vital for any company looking to remain relevant in the future!

Methodologies incorporating continuous improvement

Various methodologies make extensive use of continuous improvement, especially in the manufacturing industry. – Read more

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How to make a success of performance management!

My Post - 2020-02-19T110706.707.pngTechnology is advancing at an unprecedented rate and forcing companies to adapt and become more flexible and innovative in order to remain competitive. Continuously improving your organization and its operational processes has become a vital part of modern‑day business.

Performance management is the ideal way to achieve critical objectives effectively and efficiently. But what are performance management’s biggest benefits? And how can you successfully implement this way of working? These are the questions we’ll be answering in this article.

What is performance management?

Performance management is a process that aims to correlate an organization’s objectives to those of its individual employees.

ManagementSite adopts the following definition:

‘Performance management entails systematically mapping strategy to operational processes (using KPIs), monitoring and evaluating these processes in order to gain feedback, and then determining if and how the original strategy needs to be altered. When combined with the intelligent use of information systems, this cycle ensures that organizations can respond more rapidly and effectively to internal and external changes.’

Performance management entails running your business based on organizational objectives and results. Key performance indicators (KPIs) generally play a major role in this process.

It’s a system of monitoring and managing your organization, with the aim of implementing its strategy and achieving its objectives, by mapping these to operational processes.

Why start with performance management?

There are many reasons why it’s worth your while implementing performance management. If you do it properly, it can take your organization to the next level. Here are a few of the foremost reasons:

1. Greater clarity

Performance management provides greater insight into the goals and results at management and staff levels alike. It involves making and documenting clear and concise agreements. By monitoring progress carefully and adjusting course accordingly, you can then help your organization achieve its objectives more effectively and efficiently.

2. Higher engagement

Proper performance management increases employee engagement within your organization and with its objectives. When your staff know your plans and goals and are involved in implementing and achieving them, they feel more appreciated, take more initiative, and experience a greater sense of self-fulfillment.

3. Broader insight

Performance management maps objectives and plans to operational processes throughout your company, and this allows bottlenecks, problems, or inconsistencies to be spotted more readily. And because you can see at a glance how your organization, departments, and individual employees are performing, it allows you to respond more agilely.

4. More options

Continuous feedback plays a key role in performance management. The advantage is that employees have greater control over their own tasks. They gain keener insight into their performance and respond more acutely whenever a process isn’t running according to plan. It also allows staff to make their personal goals and ambitions known to management.

5. More pleasant working environment

Motivated employees generally experience greater job satisfaction and are more loyal than disgruntled employees. Regular, thorough, and honest evaluation and feedback, combined with greater insight into organizational objectives, have a positive effect on morale, self-confidence, and job security – reducing fears among employees that they may be laid off unexpectedly. And what does this achieve? A more pleasant and relaxed working environment that results in higher employee productivity.

Process

But what does performance management look like in practice? A key factor is a systematic approach. It takes more than simply stating a one-off objective and result. Continuous monitoring and feedback also play a vital role in its success.

It’s also important to realize that performance management isn’t a traditional top-down process. On the contrary, it will only succeed if all employees are actively involved in deciding and determining the objectives. The same also applies to monitoring progress towards achieving them.

Although there’s no one hard and fast way to implement performance management, there are a number of crucial steps involved:

Step 1: Goal setting

Firstly, determine your organization’s main goals and strategies. Where are we now? Where do we want to go? What do we need to get there? And what factors in our vision/mission are essential to our organization’s viability?

Next, map these goals to each level of your organization:

  • to your organization as a whole
  • to each department
  • to management and staff

The balanced scorecard (BSC) method works well for this purpose. Once you’ve verified these goals, start implementing the strategies to achieve them.

Step 2: Performance planning

Map your goals to actual operational processes or improvement programs. What methods will you be using to improve operational processes? What tools will you be providing your staff to achieve these goals? And how will you be monitoring individual and departmental performance?

Step 3: Implementaion

Put your models into practice. Implement improvement programs and monitor them continuously. Making adjustments and improvements will gradually become both an individual and team mindset throughout your organization. Create a fixed schedule and performance/assessment cycle, because this is the best way to make performance management more tangible.

Step 4: Monitoring & analysis

Keep your finger on the pulse at all times. Monitoring is an essential part of performance management. Are we consistently achieving our main goals? Are the changes we’re making working? And are our employees comfortable in their roles?

Make sure that constructive dialog exists between management and staff, and among co-workers in general. Everyone should feel free to express their ideas and insights.

Step 5: Fine-tuning

Now you know what works and what doesn’t, continue fine-tuning the process still further.

What can we improve? And what tools and methods can we use to make further improvements? For example, training courses for staff having trouble reaching their targets?

Read more

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