Work should be an exciting and joy-filled experience…Too often it isn’t

By on February 10, 2015
Work should be an exciting and joy-filled experience

Over and over again, in our daily lives, you and I hear negative references to this thing called “work.” We hear people saying:

“Wish I could go to the game, but I have to go to work.”

“Only three hours and I’m outta here.”

“Can’t wait until I can retire. Only four years to go.”

“When can I get out of this salt mine.”

We even have popular songs that reinforce in the popular mind the negative nature of work, recalling Johnny Paycheck’s:

“Take this job and shove it. I ain’t working here no more.”

Far too many American workers “ain’t working here no more” even if they’re showing up for work and the cost to our economy is huge. Gallup’s 2012 report “State of the American Workplace” tells us that the cost of the “Johnny Paycheck Syndrome,” the Gallup report calls it “active disengagement,” is between $450 billion to $550 billion annually.

This study also tells us that the payback of driving higher levels of employee engagement is huge. For example, companies in the top quartile in employee engagement have:

  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
  • 22% higher profitability

Other studies have shown that engaged employees have lower healthcare costs.

Resources are available that can transform a largely disengaged workforce into one that is highly engaged. And the Corporate Services Group has resources that can make this happen now.

Here are just several examples of the kind of outcomes driven by our well-tested and finely honed Lean training and consulting resources:

  • Lean Leadership Certification Program: In describing this program’s impact, a participant said: “The techniques we learned in the Lean Leadership Certification Program really work! I’ve used them and I see more people wanting to be real contributors to the success of the department and a whole lot less of ‘what’s in it for me’.”
  • Kaizen Thinking Series: After five of this series’ eleven sessions, highly engaged participants had identified over 1,100 types of waste in their work areas. An individual from a corporate marketing group suggested a modification in pricing with a net value of over $300,000 per year.
  • The 5S System: In the process of implementing 5S, over 5,683 square feet of space valued at over $845,700 was recovered. A warehouse recovered over 25,000 square feet.
  • The Idea Board: Over the first year and a half of the use of this Lean tool, engaged employees posted ideas with a net value of over $200,000.

Just what is it that these Lean resources deliver? Primarily, two things both of which are prime drivers of employee engagement. They are:

  • Work environments in which the creativity and knowledge of all employees can be harnessed.
  • A management team that continually demonstrates high degrees of trust, respect, and candor with the result that line workers understand clearly that their work is appreciated and their knowledge is valued.

Far too many organizations don’t have management teams that have the ability to drive high degrees of employee engagement. In his country music classic, Johnny Paycheck may be exaggerating, but perhaps isn’t completely off-target when he sings:

“Well that foreman, he’s a regular dog and the line boss he’s a fool.”

In contrast, when an organization has a management team able to fully apply Lean thinking and work processes, very different comments are made about work and the impact it has on people’s lives. Participants in our programs have said, for example:

“Work is a lot more fun now. My life has more meaning.”

“No adventure is more exciting than the exercise of human creativity and ingenuity.”

Our Lean training and consulting resources can make work an exciting adventure and, in the process, make work more fun. When this happens the payoff for your company will be significant. I’d like to discuss these resources with you. Call me anytime at 314-303-0612 and let’s talk.

Our Lean training and consulting resources can make work an exciting adventure and, in the process, make work more fun.

About George Friesen

George Friesen serves as Business Practice Leader - Lean Manufacturing for the Workforce Solutions Group of St. Louis Community College. He has led the College's Lean business practice area since 2000. Prior to joining the College, George worked for Maritz Performance Improvement Company. Over the past 35 years, he has served a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies, specializing during the past eleven years in Lean Manufacturing, focusing especially on the 5S System, Lean leadership and thinking processes, Value Stream Mapping, and Lean team building. George is a graduate of Washington University (AB), Webster University (MA), and United States Air Force Flight Training.

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