Posted in Corporate HR on 18. May, 2012
As any corporate blog, or management journal would tell you, six sigma is a quality control and evaluation technique which works on the basis of systematically eliminating defects and striving for perfection.
Introduction and implementation of Six Sigma
A working definition is: “The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of Six Sigma improvement projects.”
It was devised for, and its early role was limited to, usage in the manufacturing industry. All that changed with one instance of improvisation: about twenty years ago, General Electric CEO Jack Welch used it to hamper losses suffered due to rising regional competition in Asia.
Six Sigma as a management tool is statistical in nature and is ideally designed to drive defecs lower than 3.4 instances per million. The definition of defects can be all encompassing, seeing as it can include anything that doesn’t match customer specifications.
The implementation is through a process called DMAIC ( Define, Measure ,Analyze, Improve, Control)
The DMAIC project methodology has five phases:
1. Define the problem, the voice of the customer, and the project goals, specifically.
2. Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data.
3. Analyze the data to investigate and verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered. Seek out root cause of the defect under investigation.
4. Improve or optimize the current process based upon data analysis using techniques such as design of experiments, poka yoke or mistake proofing, and standard work to create a new, future state process.
5. Control the future state process to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Implement control systems such as statistical process control, production boards , visual workplaces, and continuously monitor the process.
Implementing Six Sigma in HRM
Six sigma assesses variability and is an important tool for improving overall quality. It defines a structured way for businesses to solve problems. One of the core objectives is to determine the vital elements of service delivery that drive up or force down overall quality. It is crucial to effectively implementing Six Sigma that processes be broken down into easily defined, manageable pieces and improving each such piece to enhance overall quality of service.
A question often asked is whether Six Sigma is usable in the context of human resources management. The answer is that it can, and ideally should be used to efficiently manage HR related issues. The catch is that it has to be a part of organizational culture that most employees believe in and are dedicated to.
The following points will help to explain which areas specifically related to the HR function can benefit:
- Streamlining the hiring process for improved efficiency
- Enhance and expedite employee orientation procedures
- Eliminating avoidable overheads in the recruitment process
- Improve timeliness and the value of employee performance reviews
- Improve training efficiency
- Enhance employee satisfaction
- Reduce Incentive Compensation errors
- Improving grievance handling process
- Consolidation of employee information databases
- Integration of multiple payroll systems for remote locations
These and more of HR management functions can benefit from the implementation of Six Sigma methodologies to the workplace, where the delivery of effective human resources management services is a delivery to the organization in and of itself, and improved work environment and productivity and employee satisfaction may be key quality indicators.