HR and Lean

Every so often somebody will ask, “HOW does HR get involved with Lean?” This question implies that there may be a problem with HR getting involved with Lean, since they don’t know how proceed with this matter. If there is a problem, we can’t just go out and get involved, we need to first understand it. In Job Methods, we are taught to always ask “why” before we jump to conclusions and ask “how”. So, here is a question to ponder, “WHY isn’t HR involved with Lean?”

One clue, but certainly not the answer, came to me today in my inbox. (My real inbox, the kind that still has paper in it.) I won’t name the company, but their catalog for HR forms and supplies professes to be “the solution for smart employers.” That’s fine, we all need a slogan.

Here is clue to the problem. In this catalog there is a huge list of forms, DVDs, manuals and the like that cover three basic areas of administration for HR professionals: hiring/firing forms, regulatory compliance, and motivational/communication products. The catalog is 99 pages. Eight pages feature “training and compliance” products. The products in this section varied: FMLA compliance, sexual & religious harassment, to dealing with problem employees during your harassment training sessions. Other training products, such as signs, featured handy products that reminded people of “microwave do’s & don’ts”, “no smoking” policies, and my personal pet peeve, “please brew another pot” (of coffee since you obviously took the last cup, and an empty pot is coffee pot negligence in my perfect world).

Because our society is a capitalist one, I think the catalog is a decent indicator of what is driving our current behaviors. Therefore, what I didn’t see in this catalog is the troubling part. Chock full of compliance manuals, handbook writing software programs and the like, this catalog was completely devoid of anything, even a book list with Toyota Talent or Culture that suggested “here is a way you, HR, can get involved with your Lean initiative.” Instead, it appears we are trying to streamline the administration of compliance while pushing the details of recordkeeping and HR data collection down to the supervisors. This leaves little time for real kaizen.

I must admit, I’m probably picking on a target (catalog of HR forms) that doesn’t deserve any criticism in this arena, but what I am saying is that if this material is even remotely suggests what the current HR field faces on a daily basis, then HR professionals are missing a huge opportunity to actually improve the bottom line of the company. An entire section of five pages, performance appraisals and disciplinary forms, portrays that your problems are solved if you only had these time saving forms. On the other hand, genba management provides instant opportunities to provide positive feedback and correct errors immediately; as these things happen, not six months later after you have “documented the violation that didn’t meet your expectations” which by the way the subordinate has forgotten or doesn’t care because you didn’t care enough to address it when it happened. Another element of lean that can better our appraisal system is the kaizen teian system: this provides a positive way for supervisors to evaluate performance of people, both in their natural workgroup and in their individual involvement through daily kaizen.

Within the Training Within Industry program is the Program Development module. It was aimed at Training Coordinators as a way to make them the internal TWI consultant that would spot problems and address them through training programs. The training coordinators target would be normally supervisors and other support staff members that could get results through the line workers. I’m not entirely up to speed on my current HR and Training trends, but is HR and Training so disconnected now that HR has no influence in the area of training? Or are they so mired in regulatory compliance and recordkeeping that training is taking a back seat. If the latter is the case, then the hidden costs of HR’s absence from our lean initiative would be staggering.



At March 17, 2018 at 8:59 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

It has been great for me to read such great information about HR Outsourcing.
HR Training


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