Enthusiasm can come from a number of things, such as sense of mission, team competition, personal satisfaction, shared benefits and profits, and job interest. Genuine enthusiasm, however, is built on trust. How fair the reward system is, as perceived by the employees, and answers to “what’s in it for me” if I change my behavior, will largely determine the level of enthusiasm. This directly impacts the rate of continuous improvement.

Figure 1.2: Impact of employee participation on productivity

Figure 1.2 shows the results of a study regarding the impact of employee participation on productivity. Companies that counted all the small, incremental plant floor improvements were getting thirty to forty suggestions per employee, per year, with productivity values in the better half of Figure 1.2. Note that much of the improvement benefits came early, with few suggestions implemented per employee. At three suggestions per employee, there is already about a fifty percent increase in productivity. At six suggestions per employee, about two-thirds of the productivity benefit has been achieved. Additional suggestions help, but at a diminished rate of productivity improvement. Facilities with greater employee suggestions implemented per employee had lower production times per unit, (higher throughput). This supports the thinking that employee participation does, indeed, make a quantifiable difference toward improving bottom line results.

Figure 1.3: Impact of team influence on productivity
(Team influence index = Level of problem-solving and personal issues handled at team level)

Figure 1.3 displays a similar trend by comparing the impact of team influence. The team influence index is based on several plant floor involvement indices: such as level of problem-solving, within team absenteeism coverage and extent of conflict resolution handled by the team. A higher team influence index resulted in better productivity.

Tip from The Relativity of Continuous Improvement by Dr. Klaus Blache

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