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Lean Principles... in HR?

What is Lean?

Lean is the elimination of waste so that all remaining steps in a process add value from the customer’s perspective. Lean is neither a fad, nor a project; it is a long term commitment to continually reduce waste though the applications of lean principles. In fact, Lean methodology has been around for over half a century, pioneered by J. Edwards Deming in Japan as that country was rebuilding from the destruction of the Second World War.

Lean is a completely different way of looking at your business. The focus in a Lean environment is on building quality and efficiency into every step, installing feedback loops to measure quality at each step, and being obsessive about reducing waste – thereby getting a better product to the customer faster, improving cash flow.

Successful organizations like Toyota, Boeing, John Deere, Dell, and many others have embraced Lean as the operating philosophy to satisfy their needs. By focusing on the flow of value through the organization to the customer, departmental boundaries are removed and the focus of point efficiencies is discarded.

What are the benefits of Lean?

By applying the lean principles, you can impact most of the key metrics for your organization.

Reduction In:

Improvement In:

  • Defects
  • Lead Time
  • Costs
  • Inventory
  • Space
  • Waste
  • Productivity
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Capacity
  • Profit
  • Customer Responsiveness
  • Quality
  • Cash Flow
  • On-Time Delivery

Extending the Philosophy into the Human Capital realm

How is it that HR's processes have by and large been exempted from the Lean movement?

“We now see many HR Departments doing some type of performance measurement. The problem is that most of them have not moved past [measuring] cost and quantity. Typical metrics are cost of hire, numbers hired and trained, ratios of HR staff to employees and HR budget benchmarks. All of these can be useful as after the fact data for the HR staff. However, they do not excite management because they focus on costly activities and not on the value-adding results.
Dr. Jac Fitz-enz
Predictive Management,
How to Optimize Human Capital

The metrics used by most organizations – Turnover, Engagement, Employee and Customer Satisfaction, Productivity – are all trailing indicators. They are the result of other things done well upstream.

In fact there’s a flow. Engagement levels have been shown to be the most reliable predictors of retention, productivity, customer satisfaction and profit over the long term. But what factors are the predictors of Engagement?

The fit of an employee in four key areas – with their manager, in their job, with their coworkers and with the company’s culture and values, and the quality of the relationships in those same four areas, are the main determinants of how engaged an employee will be – and remain – over time.

The HiringSmart process is a naturally Lean system

Because the HiringSmart Process

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