Simon Thomas Workplace Evolution Continuous Improvement Expert Explains Our Journey With O C Tanner So Far
Workplace Evolution first proposed the idea of a project with O C Tanner in early 2015 that would draw upon my supply chain / continuous improvement experience. Soon enough I found myself sat in the O C Tanner Home Office a few short weeks later discussing training needs and strategic alignment with the O C Tanner HR Director. O.C. Tanner Co. is an American company that designs and helps implement global employee rewards and recognition solutions for clients in the U.S., Canada, India, Australia, Singapore and Europe. Counting numerous Fortune 100 companies on its client list, the company provides presentation training, administration, and awards for programs honouring employee service or performance. Our focus was the challenges that the European branch was having around developing a continuous improvement culture. Previous initiatives around lean management systems had been delivered and failed to gain momentum. The collaborative approach with each key stakeholder at O C Tanner as part of the design process was refreshing and resulted in a learning programme that has 'transformed the culture of OC Tanner' according to the O C Tanner HR Director (Nov 2016).
What Did The Partnership Look Like?
Michael Costello and I applied key change management principles with the exec team in our analysis, design and implementation and kept things simple. Our vision was beautifully simple: 'everyone able and willing to improve the business every day'. We set about this cultural change initially by consulting with all key stakeholders, establishing a clear business case and identifying the key wins that would needs to be achieved early on. We also recognised that forms of visual management would be key to the change - "Seeing is believing" as they say! Using a series of interactive workshops, interspersed with project work and coaching to embed the learning and nurture behaviour change the programme proved to be a great success. Our methodology included key elements such as:
- Cross-functional teams working together through team-build activities for the 1st time to drive collaboration
- Bite-size learning on Continuous Improvement theory to apply live in the workshop
- Acquisition of evidence (via video cameras) to capture CI issues and support bench-marking/measurements
- Support and guidance on developing a business case for CI projects and running a project independently
- Project support and sign-off for resource that supports operational inefficiencies / minimising waste
- Drawing from other organisations and learning from what they do to improve
These early measurable successes (and stories) have now been told across the organisation, creating a 'cultural tsunami' that has affected teams who weren't even part of the original programme! We will be collating the precise results from each project team in 2017. On our last meeting, and as we listened to all of the efficiency improvements that the teams had discovered and fixed, both Michael and I were struck by the buzz of pride and morale in the room. A cultural shift had happened by enabling and empowering the front-line workforce to make a difference. There was no going back now - and that's what Continuous Improvement is all about !
Workplace Evolution is now continuing to work with O C Tanner on an Advanced Continuous Improvement programme for 2017 - 2018