This is a guest blog post by Ankit Patel, CEO of The Lean Way Consulting. You can follow Ankit's thoughts on his blog or find him on Twitter @AnkitTheLeanWay.
Only 1 in 5 employees is willing to go the extra mile for the company. Many times we look at lean from the P&L aspect and forget the most important part about lean, the people. It is commonly known that if you do a lean implementation correctly you will have great financial results. The thing that doesn't get publicized is the fact that part (I would argue all) of the success comes from having a happier and more engaged work force. But why are people happier? Are you paying them more? Are you giving them more rewards?
I'm a big fan of continuous improvement on everything including my own life. I have listened and practiced to Tony Robbins materials and the way he models human satisfaction and happiness is by the six human needs:
In other words if you have all six then you will be a pretty happy individual.
We like to have a certain amount of stability to what we do. With lean we measure to certain outcomes so stability and certainty are a major part.
Ironically we don't like too much certainty. We need some spice by adding in variety. Continuous improvement is a way of life with lean so if you aren't constantly changing and trying to get better you are not practicing lean. Lean also encourages cross training so you may not work in the same area all the time.
Everyone wants recognition and the feeling of importance. Lean turns the work area over to the people who run the work area. They have control and feel like they have ownership of the area and the responsibility to take care and improve their area. Their roles become 100x more significant once they have those responsibilities.
We want a connection with others; we are after all social creatures. With lean we have a more team oriented approach that tends to bond team members together. People have to communicate more with each other and once the system is viewed as the problem then it stops the finger pointing and helps with bringing people closer together.
We want to grow and develop from our current state. Most companies that implement lean implement cross training that gives people growth opportunities. People also grow by learning new skill sets that come with a lean environment.
We like to give back and throw in our two cents. In a lean environment this is an expectation of everyone. Contribution is rewarded even if it isn't fruitful.
You can see why lean is so great for employee satisfaction. You notice pay isn't on the list and in fact if you look at other lists money is never the #1 factor. If you want to improve your bottom line look to make your workforce happier.