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Six Sigma & Human Resources
Human Resources » Organization Development

Chrm Message From: msantos Total Posts: 35 Join Date: 18/10/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 28/11/2006 23:59:10 Points: 175 Location: United States

Hi everyone,

Got this mail from a colleague. thought would make interesting reading...

How does Six Sigma relate to human resources practices? And is the strategy limited to manufacturing, or might we use it at our service company?

Six Sigma is a methodology that focuses on understanding and meeting customers' needs by using a variety of tools, especially statistical analyses, to drive performance metrics. Although its roots are in manufacturing, there's no reason you can't adopt Six Sigma for your service environment.

You could use Six Sigma to tackle a variety of strategic human resources projects, such as:
a.. Lowering turnover
b.. Paring prescription drug costs
c.. Reducing injuries at work
d.. Improving recruiting time-to-fill

Six Sigma methodologies include a project plan known as DMAIC that is used to improve business processes within human resources. DMAIC is an acronym that describes the basic steps you take:

Define -- Identify the problem
Measure -- Establish metrics to quantify
Analyze -- Figure out what the metrics tell you
Improve -- Craft a solution based on your analysis
Control -- Find a way to sustain improvements

Let's take an example. Say you want to reverse a trend of high turnover. You would:
Define the problem: reducing unwanted turnover.
Measure: identify key measurements underlying turnover.
Analyze: understand key factors and trends that create turnover.
Improve: identify and execute a plan to address those factors.
Control: implement controls to lower turnover on an ongoing basis.

Historically, human resources professionals have helped with the heavy training requirements when their organizations adopt Six Sigma, either in whole or in part. So expect to play a pivotal role in equipping your workforce. Aside from training, other issues you may need to address include: setting rewards and recognition for project teams; staffing those teams geared toward improving your business processes; and instilling Six Sigma methodology as a staple of your workplace culture. If you're like most human resources professionals, you initially might be uncomfortable with the statistical aspect of Six Sigma. Yet it enables you to get beyond merely measuring HR activities and focus on strategic goals. When integrated with your human resource management practices, Six Sigma should help you improve service levels and efficiency. For your customers, few things are more highly prized.


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