Is Your 5S Process Missing This Critical Step?

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |5S Process|Is Your 5S Process Missing This Critical Step?5S, also known as workplace organization, is a method that’s used in practically every company that implements lean systems. Consisting of a five-step process for organizing work, 5S’s first order of business is called “sort” and entails removing unnecessary items from work areas. For example, obsolete supplies and equipment will be removed to free up space and leave fewer things to organize.

While sorting is a vital first step, there’s a critical issue that often gets overlooked in the process: ensuring a workforce is left with everything it needs to do its job.

Although lean principles imply that a workforce should be provided with the right materials, tools, and information, this step is not formally part of 5S. While some might think this measure goes without saying, assumptions should always be avoided.

To ensure that employees are properly outfitted, ask these questions when assessing a work area:

Are all necessary materials available:

  • When needed?
  • In the right quantity?
  • At the right quality?

Are all required tools available:

  • When needed?
  • In the right quantity?
  • In working condition?

Is all necessary information:

  • Easily available?
  • Accurate?
  • Complete?
  • Understandable?

Obviously, every answer to these questions should be “yes,” or lean efforts will be compromised. While these questions are all important, pay special attention to tool and equipment function. Check whether tools work at all, and be sure to verify:

  • Accuracy: Can the tool maintain its required precision?
  • Safety: Are all safeguards present and functional?
  • Markings: Are tool markings easily accessed and legible?

In addition to equipment function, information is generally a weak link in many operations. Two common examples of information problems include:

  • Blueprints: Are blueprints inaccurate or difficult, if not impossible, to interpret?
  • Work instructions: Are employee directives riddled with incomplete information? Do employees often ask supervisors for clarifications?

Clearly, none of the aforementioned situations are good for productivity, and they’re likely just two of many areas where information might need improvement.

While 5S is powerful, explicitly ensuring that your workforce has everything it needs will take your lean performance to the next level. Provisioning your employees is just one of many overlooked measures that will amp up your business’s performance. With continual improvement of continuous improvement, much can be accomplished!

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Sean FieldsStrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Michael SandersSean Fields and Michael Sanders are co-authors of Quantum Lean: Taking Lean Systems to the Next Level. They are a network member and the co-founder, respectively, of BeehiveFund, a nonprofit organization that assists small to medium-sized manufacturing and service businesses in areas such as production scheduling, inventory control, and quality-management systems. Learn more at

4 Employee Experience Trends That Defined 2020 and Are Expected to Play a Huge Role in 2021

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Employee Experience|4 Employee Experience Trends That Defined 2020 and Are Expected to Play a Huge Role in 2021A whole lot changed in 2020 for everyone. The emergence of a global pandemic has transformed the way we live, interact and work. It has forced many employers to reconceptualize workflows and the minimum number of staff needed to operate. Brand new employee experience trends have emerged, and some of them are showing no signs of losing their grip. Here are some trends that ServiceNow HR expects to have a huge impact in 2021.

1. Working Hours Flexibility

In the past, location has been more of a focal point for employers. But as we move forward in 2021, time is going to be the focus or flexibility. As more and more employees begin to return to in office working, employers will need to offer greater flexibility regarding when employees are expected to work. A 40 hour work week or a 9 to 5 schedule may not be necessary for high performance, productivity and efficiency.

2. Mental Health Support

With all of the separation, and isolation in some cases, that people are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the mental health of employees cannot be overlooked. The longer this pandemic wears on the more mental health will impact the efficiency and productivity of the workforce. Employers who choose not to address this very serious issue are likely to suffer. Things like extended parental leave and emotional well-being programs will be well received by current employees and even be a priority for potential employees.

3. Workplace Technology

Due to the number of remote workers, employers have had to put some checks and balances in place to monitor the productivity and workflow of employees. Many employees are distrustful of the technology being used to monitor their work. Since remote working and hybrid working are becoming more of the norm, there will need to be some regulations for just how much information is being gathered, how and where it is being stored and who has access to it. We can look forward to state regulations at a minimum about what employee information can and cannot be recorded and how it can be used.

4. Social Stance

Not only do people want to purchase from businesses that espouse their personal beliefs and values, but they also want to work for an employer that is aligned with their values. Most employees are looking for employers to take a position on issues and politics. There is little room for neutrality in this climate, and attempting to remain in the middle may do more harm than good. Whether it’s giving to charities or causes, sponsoring an event or investing in an organization, there are plenty of ways to morally align your business. Undoubtedly, potential employees and even current employees will be watching.

Although 2020 was a history making year of epic proportions, what was put in motion is far from settled and will continue to impact the way we do business for quite some time to come. It’s a good idea to do what you can as an employer to keep up with what’s going on and create an improved employee experience.

5 Tips Guaranteed to Improve Employee Performance

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Improve Employee Performance|5 Tips Guaranteed to Improve Employee PerformanceLet’s face the truth – your company’s success depends on your employees’ performance. Even when you are recording peak levels of turnover and maximum motivation, you may not be sure how to harness your employees’ potential. You will need various solutions to flip these dynamics.

Before you act on a particular solution, make sure you understand why your employees are not performing as expected.
Read on to learn some tips you can adopt to improve employee performance in your organization.

1. Set Clear Expectations

Do your employees understand their job descriptions? Communicating the expectations to the employees ensures that they have a clear picture of their assignment. After they are aware of their work, make frequent and clear communication to manage these expectations.

Your employees should describe their objectives freely. Moreover, they should understand their functions and responsibilities at the workplace.

2. Use the Right Tools and Technology

Embracing technology in the workplace is one way to drive engagement and improve performance. However, you should have the right technology and tools to match all the employees’ expectations.

Ensure that the hardware you have in the organization is compatible with your software. For instance, if underperformance in your company is due to the manual processes of making cuts and shapes, you may consider introducing a CNC cutting machine.

A CNC cutting machine can translate computerized information into instructions that a machine can follow easily. Browse this site to learn more about CNC cutting machines.

3. Empower Your Employees

Employee empowerment is a vital aspect of any organization’s performance. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to employee empowerment. The goal of any empowerment practice is to give your employees the power to make high-impact decisions in the organization.

While there are diverse ways you can empower your employees, focus on the one with a higher chance of success. For instance, you can start by providing input on their goals and objectives. Ensure that they have all the resources they would require to improve their performance. Besides, train your employees such that they can do their work without requiring any form of micromanagement.

4. Carry Out Performance Appraisals

Performance appraisals should not scare or pressure the employees to work; instead, they are a necessary tool that influences employees’ performance. Such an exercise gives the employees a complete overview of where they stand on their performance radar.

Regular performance appraisals will help the employees stay focused on the set individual and organization goals. Also, it is necessary to let them know of the significance of such reviews.

5. Improve the Employee Morale

Delighted employees have a high chance of performing well in their work. So, it would help if you took the necessary measures to improve the morale of your employees.

Review the working environment, benefits, salary level, and the knowledge of its mission and vision to ensure that the employees feel satisfied with their job. Employees with a clear understanding that their role is necessary for their employer’s success will always give their best.

To achieve success in your organization, you need to have the right systems, rules, and strategies in place. If you want to improve the performance of your employees, you must include their considerations. Learn why your employees are underperforming and focus on creating conducive environments for success.

Feedback For Staff Is Essential, Now More Than Ever

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Feedback for Staff|Feedback For Staff Is Essential, Now More Than EverAmong all the challenges that work from home poses, the challenge of having a feedback call when employees and managers work from home should be noted. The big question is how to have a zoom feedback conversation with an employee who is at home, when the manager who delivers the feedback is also at home. Despite the difficulties and challenges, it is important to be careful about the feedback, for several reasons: First, performance testing has a significant impact on employee motivation. Do they need additional training or should they use their own initiative to look at something such as Kallibr for the future.

Employees who receive serious feedback about the tasks they have performed, thereby receiving a message from the organization, that the organization sees what they have contributed to the company and is aware of their contribution. At the same time, regarding tasks whose performance was lower than required, they can get assistance from the direct manager and even from the staff regarding improving the performance of these tasks in the future. Studies conducted in the United States show that the chance of workers receiving constructive feedback to invest more in work is 2.9 times higher than in the past. If so, what is the feedback: This is an employee performance review, which is the official evaluation of employee performance. Here are some questions managers may ask during a performance review:

  1. What the employee thinks he can do to help their own career and company.
  2. Which tasks in the opinion of the employee, they performed excellently, which were in a good, mediocre manner and which tasks did not meet the objectives, and how they plan to improve in the future.
  3. The employee should be asked to perform a self-assessment, identify what his or her main contributions to the company were, and where he or she identifies opportunities to improve performance.
  4. At the end of the survey, a discussion should be held on the employee’s performance, and it should be examined how they were in relation to the requirements and objectives.

Feedback is good for all areas of business

Existence of a feedback process focused on the well-being of employees (rather than reprimands for unattainable goals) conveys to employees that the company in which they work assumes a commitment to their growth and development. This situation allows employees to be retained while helping them improve performance. Here are 2 key benefits to the feedback that is given in the way described here, helping the employee to develop:

  1. It is three times more likely that employees will recommend the organization as a great place to work.
  2. 2.4 times 2.4 employees will continue to work in the organization even in two years from today.

There are very many ways that allow organizations to improve the feedback process. One is to manage employee expectations from the first moment. Another way is to reduce the tension that feedback evokes among employees. Surveys conducted in the US show that only about 14% of employees responded that they “strongly agree” with the statement that the feedback they received encourages them to improve.

How Companies Show Their Employees That They Care

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Show Employees You Care|How Companies Show Their Employees That They CareGone are the days when companies would treat their employees as cogs in the machine. While there are still businesses that do take this approach, the consequences of doing so are too severe — it results in low productivity and high staff turnover, and can even cause more severe problems if the issue isn’t addressed.

No, it’s much better to treat members of staff as what they are: human beings. In doing so, you’ll find that there are a lot of positive side effects, such as a higher output and generally improved atmosphere at the workplace. Plus, you’ll feel happier too! In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the key ways that companies show their employees that they care. Be sure to incorporate any that are applicable to your own venture.

They Get To Know Them

When you hired your employee, you will have done so based on their professional merits. But that’s only one side of them. They’ve also got rich inner and personal lives, too. So why not take some time to get to know your employees on a deeper level? While work should, first and foremost, be a place of professionalism, there’ll always be time and space to chat more informally. Everyone likes it when another person shows an interest in their life. Also, by doing things like getting to know about their family and interests, you’ll be developing a deeper bond between you and your employee, which will make it easier to work together.

They Help Them Know Each Other

A company that does not want its workers to mingle is not a good company. They do this because they’re afraid that if everyone’s too friendly with one another, then they won’t work as well, or that they might gain too much collective power. But this, of course, is a cynical view for a company to take. Plus, it’s not one that’s backed up the studies conducted by researchers, which shows that having a friend at the workplace can significantly boost productivity.

So be sure to give your employees a chance to get to know one another. It’s easy enough to do — simply hosting after-work drinks at the end of the week will be a good start.

They Invest In Their Skills

Your employee won’t be the finished article. They’ll know that. The sign of a bad company is when it tries to limit the knowledge or growth of its employees. They fear that if they become too educated, then they might leave for another company, or ask for a raise. And this is true — it could happen. But holding someone back for your own reasons is a selfish attitude, and your employees will know this. So invest in their skills. Pay for them to go on training courses, attend seminars, and so on. Doing this will also benefit your company since you’ll be gaining access to well-trained employees.

They Stand Up For Them

Someone once said that the customer is always right, but whoever that was must have been a customer, because it’s rarely true. This is a good thing to keep in mind generally, but it’s especially important when you’re dealing with your staff. If a customer targets one of your employees, what is your response? Do you back the customer in front of the employee, or do you defend your member of staff? Of course, there’ll be a fallout no matter what path you take, but one is less severe than the other. You might lose a client if you back your employee, but you’ll lose the trust of your employee — and possibly other members of the team — if you back the client.

They Don’t Question Illness/Off Days

Everyone gets ill from time to time. It’s just the way life goes. If you’re a good boss, then you won’t question the trustworthiness of your employees, or force them to come back to work before they’re ready. This can be the tempting route to take, but ultimately, you’ll just find that it causes more problems — and that you don’t come across as uncaring. Also, if a member of staff has an emergency — such as an ill family member or a logistical issue — then let them get on with it. Your business might be a priority for you, but it’s a secondary concern for your employees, especially when they’re dealing with an emergency.

They Give Raises

You’ll have started your employees on a set salary, but it doesn’t mean that you should keep them there, even if you’re legally allowed to. If they’ve proven that they can produce work to a high standard and have become a valuable member of the team, then you should reward them. There are plenty of employees who end up growing resentful that they never get a raise, and you know what they do? They leave to find another job. In making it a company policy to review your employee salaries from time to time, you’ll be helping to boost your employee retention rate. Of course, there may be times when the company is unable to give raises, for various reasons. At those times, it’s important to communicate the reason for the lack of raise, and mention that things will change when things improve.

They Focus On Wellness

Wellness has become a big corporate trend in recent years. This has been driven, in part, by a need to address the rising stress levels that many employees are beginning to experience. We know now, in a way that we didn’t in the past, that it’s important to find a balance between work and relaxation. The only problem is that employees are working so much that there’s usually not enough time for wellness. This is where you can come in. By offering some wellness activities and treatments at your workplace, you’ll be showing that you care about the mental health of your employees.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Show Employees You Care|How Companies Show Their Employees That They CareThey Focus On Site Safety

Of course, while there are plenty of things you can do to push your employee wellness program forward, it’s important to first take care of the basics. Offering a morning yoga class won’t do all that much good if the basics of employee care have not been handled. First and foremost, your workplace should be safe and free of hazards. How you create a safe workplace will depend on the type of business you run, but could include installing industrial dust collector filters, having a secure access system, or investing in safety clothing/equipment for your employees. In essence, it’s all about identifying the potential threats to the wellbeing of your team and taking steps to address it.

They Offer Employee Perks

The salary of your employees is important, but it’s also important to offer more. What is your employee perk program, for example? If it’s currently non-existent, then perhaps now is the time to get one going. There are plenty of different things that you can offer your team. Can you offer a flexible working schedule, which allows them to choose their hours and where they work? Could you offer more than the minimum vacation time? Or what about simply having coffee and donuts available? It’s amazing what a difference these types of things can do for the happiness of your employees.

They Take On Feedback

It’s hard to feel as if someone cares if they never listen to you. It’s always a good idea to look at the dynamic of your relationship with your team. Is the conversation always one way? Or do you present an opportunity for your employees to talk, and then take their ideas on board? If it’s anything other than the latter, then work on making changes. It’s not so much about having an open door policy as it is about getting rid of the door entirely.

They Improve the Work Environment

People look primarily at the work they’re doing and the amount of money they’re getting paid. But they also look at secondary factors, too. For example, the work environment in which they’re working. So take a look at your workplace. Is it as inspirational as it could be? Is it pleasant, clean, and trendy? If not, then invest the time and effort required to make it so. Your clients will be happier to work in an environment that they like.

They All Pitch In

If there’s one thing that employees dislike, it’s feeling as if they’re the ones doing all the work, while the people at the top take breaks. If you want to show that you care about your staff, then it’s important that you pitch in to help. A family member would rightly assume a lack of care if you let them do all the housework. The same principle applies for regular work, too. If there’s a deadline, don’t leave the responsibility of meeting the deadline just to your team — make sure you’re the one that’s not only helping out, but the one leading the charge and setting the example.