Continuous improvement in the workplace is crucial as it ensures a productive and competitive workforce, capable of not only meeting internal and external expectations, but also exceeding them.
In the report ‘Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement in an Age of Disruption’, continuous improvement is described as a “highly effective mindset, culture, and toolkit for navigating, focusing, and iteratively improving amidst the rapid changes companies are undergoing at many levels.”
Creating a culture for continuous improvement is best accomplished through the use of technology. For instance, Matt Straz recommends that upper management use Cloud-based file sharing tools such as Google Drive and Dropbox to increase sharing and collaboration among the workforce. Organised and seamless file sharing, while a simplistic concept, actually increases productivity by making it easier for employees to locate and share documents or files, keep track of tasks, and encourage teamwork and cooperation among co-workers. Just as important, it eliminates seemingly mundane work problems like consuming time searching for files and taking a long time to organise documents. Having the right systems in place to streamline work encourages improvement by reducing the time spent on time-consuming tasks.
Straz also highlights the vital role of 360-degree performance management that aims to provide management a broader, more complete view of employees. Obtaining an all-encompassing perspective of every employee is impracticable using traditional assessment tools. This is where talent management software comes in. By using this type of software, managers and team heads can better identify the strengths and weaknesses of every member of the workforce and craft a competency framework for individual development.
With this in mind, Innovation Management emphasises the importance of communication as a crucial way to improve employee engagement, collaboration and retention. The article encourages the use of project management systems and internal chat applications such as Slack to improve communication in the workplace. This makes it easier for everyone to be kept in the loop on everything that is happening in the company, and allows employers to communicate on what needs improving.
It is also important to come up with concrete strategies for improvement. These strategies can best be implemented if there are visual reminders of what people need to do in the first place, why they need to do it, and how they can do it. Ayima discussed that when creating content marketing strategies people benefit greatly if they have something concrete—a detailed strategy framework—that will guide them one step at a time toward achieving a specific goal or end-result. The same holds true even in the pursuit workplace improvement as individuals often respond better to tangible cues on what should be improved, why such improvements are necessary, when these improvements are expected, what steps can be undertaken to facilitate the improvements, and what benefits will be gained. These strategies can then be uploaded on the company’s project management system and internal chat app, or shared via Cloud so that employees can refer to them.
Once improvements are shown, it is then important to recognise the effort put forth by employees to getting better. This is where peer-to-peer recognition now comes into play. This system in which co-workers give one another due credit is a stark departure from traditional methods where credit is given via a top-down approach. Peer-to-peer recognition is advisable nowadays because employees are more aware of what one another has contributed to the team; thus, they are in a far better position to give credit where credit is due.
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