Why Good HR Teams Started Using Kaizen Philosophy For All Employees

Today’s guest post was written by Ashley Wilson.

Every business today is under immense pressure to improve efficiency, communication and ensure continuous improvement within the organization.

The HR department – Human Resources – is at the center of every organization, and connects with every person.

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For example, HR is the one to welcome a new employee, liaise with them during promotions in the company, and then conduct an exit interview right before a person leaves.

This centrality means that HR have the power to change the culture of an entire organization, simply by how they operate, because this naturally infiltrates into the entire company.

This is why many strong HR teams across the world started using Kaizen philosophy for all employees. Let’s explore what Kaizen philosophy is, and why it’s beneficial in a business setting in a little more detail.

What Is Kaizen Philosophy?

The Kaizen approach refers to the idea of creating continuous improvement when it comes to all tasks.

These seemingly small changes build up over time and will hopefully lead to major improvements in the long run.

The Origins of Kaizen

The word Kaizen is Japanese for “change for the better.” It refers to the approach of continually making small improvements over time. 

It originated as a philosophy and mindset but has since been applied to the world of business, and has been responsible for countless success stories.

Eiji Toyoda – founder of Toyota –  implemented the idea of continuous improvement while visiting a Ford production factory. He discovered a booklet by Ford which described the philosophy of always encouraging workers to share their improvement ideas. This philosophy became a cornerstone for the famous Toyota Production System.

The booklet suggested always encouraging employees to share their ideas for improvement.

What Makes Kaizen Special

Kaizen philosophy is a contrasting approach to implementing a radical change overnight or top-down strategies to improve results.

These old ways of working weren’t based on any concrete evidence that improvements would arise from the proposed change, which meant that more waste was often produced along with frustrated employees.

And no business owner wants that, right? If you care about your business and your employees, then you want to implement changes that increase profits while also benefiting all people.

Why HR Teams Benefit When Using Kaizen Philosophy For All Employees

Some of the drivers of using the Kaizen philosophy within HR units are:

  • The need to improve efficiency
  • The need for a performance evaluation system
  • The need to improve communication (internally and externally)
  • The need to improve the quality of resources for recruitment
  • The overall need to reduce costs and increase profit margins

The Kaizen approach – when implemented correctly – offers multiple benefits to HR teams.

Here are just a few of them.

Reduced Costs

Depending on the size of the organization, you’ll encounter varying levels and types of costs.

Some of the costs that can be minimized through a Kaizen approach include:

  • Staff costs – by improving productivity in people, implementing technology solutions where manpower isn’t necessary, and driving performance management systems.
  • Recruitment costs – through process mapping to eliminate wasted time and effort, and doubling down on the most efficient ways of recruiting.
  • Training costs – by implementing onboarding and training programs within the industry.
  • Admin costs – including travel, accommodation, cleaning, printing, and more.

Aircraft seating company DeCrean found the results of one Kaizen event in just one work cell created a 100% increase in work cell throughput, plus a reduction of a staggering $750,000 in inventory.

Better Leaders

The Kaizen approach empowers all employees to do their part and to pop on your leadership hat and cultivate positive change and improvements within your own team.

Everyone throws in their two cents on what they think can be improved, along with an action plan of how this can be implemented, and then measures it once in place to see if it’s working and if any further improvements can be made.

This helps everyone to develop valuable leadership skills, which are required to progress in most roles in an organization; creating effective leaders.

Improved Team Spirit

No team bonds lead to high staff turnover which costs an organization time and money – both of which are precious resources.

Research has shown that almost 70% of employees believe they don’t have enough hours to do their jobs properly each week.

This is often due to unclear role responsibilities or too big of a workload to handle.

Kaizen methods raise team morale by bringing cross-sections of the company together, solving current problems or stressors, creating new approaches to difficult challenges, providing feedback, opening up discussion channels, and empowering all employees.

These initiatives also help to create an emotional investment in the success of the organization and reduce turnover.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

The end customer will always directly or indirectly benefit from improvements in the way an organization is run day-to-day.

A direct example of this is after implementing Kaizen principles – including reduced admin processes, improved productivity, and smooth interfaces – Samaritano Hospital found a significant rise in customer satisfaction.

These changes not only make the entire process easier on customers but on all employees too.

It’s a win, win.

Is Your Organization Using Kaizen Philosophy?

Kaizen concepts of continuous improvement have been proven to be invaluable when implemented correctly into HR teams around the world.

This approach means that even the most dysfunctional organization can begin with one seemingly small change, and continue to gradually build on this day by day.

Like a snowball rolling down a mountain, this creates momentum within individuals as well as the collective organization. 

Employees will feel happier and more purposeful, while the business will become streamlined and run more efficiently.

Plus, the idea of continuous improvement encourages the organization to always be striving to improve, regardless of their current success, which is something we can all benefit from.

Ashley Wilson is working remotely as a content creator, writing mostly about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.

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