Uponor North America
MOST BUSINESS leaders agree that having a strategy and implementing a program for continuous improvement (CI) is paramount to enabling growth and future success. However, engaging a company’s culture around CI is a different story. Here are three tactics to help you cultivate a CI culture.
Having an open forum with communication between employees, supervisors, managers, and senior leaders is vital to cultivating a CI-engaged culture. Each level of an organization must have the trust and openness to speak freely without concern over adverse repercussions.
In that same vein, supervisors and company leaders must demonstrate, by example, an openness to new ideas and areas for improvement. Be proactive. Don’t simply say you’d like to hear new ideas for greater efficiencies or reduced waste and hope people will come to you. Provide a means for employees to feel empowered to bring ideas forward.
How do you provide the means to empower employees? Set aside time in regular meetings for people to present issues for others to ponder, as well as to provide ideas for improvement. This not only creates a forum, but also sets the expectation for workers to fill this time with ideas of their own, empowering them to make change.
Another option: A physical CI board or an email address where employees can submit suggestions at any time. This allows workers to jot something down and submit it as soon as it comes to them, instead of having to wait until the next scheduled meeting.
The best way to disengage employees is to ask for their opinions or ideas, and then do nothing.
If you truly want an engaged culture around CI, you must be committed to following through on ideas. That doesn’t mean implementing every idea, but it does mean thoughtfully considering and respecting each idea and then following up, so the employee fully understands the “why” behind not putting an idea into action.
Every healthy culture includes trust, listening, and respect. If your company values those virtues and provides a venue for employee voices, CI will have the opportunity to grow and prosper naturally.
Jon Sillerud is Vice President, Operations, for Uponor North America, Apple Valley, MN (uponor.com). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more about workforce development strategies and techniques, watch our webinar, presented by Jon Sillerud. View the presentation at efficientplantmag.com/2001uponor.