Lean Six Sigma in Human Resources

Posted by on Aug 30, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Any process that has a gap in performance is a candidate for a Lean Six Sigma project and that includes the Human Resource processes and department.  Over the years I’ve been involved in a variety of HR projects that include:

  • Reducing the time to hire new employees
  • Hiring process for summer help
  • On-boarding of new employees
  • Improving the FMLA process
  • Reducing recruitment costs
  • Implementing a standard multi-site training program with effectiveness measures
  • Improving the consistency of the interview process

All these processes had one thing in common, they were inefficient and very time-consuming.

In all Lean Six Sigma projects, we start by using the DMAIC methodology and break down the process into manageable pieces.  We challenge the status quo by evaluating the value each piece contributes and identifying any piece that requires duplication, rework, or frequent review in the Define phase.  We then measure the performance gap that exists with the business needs in the Measure phase.  In the Analyze phase, we determine the root causes that create the performance gap so that we can identify potential solutions in the Improve phase.  And in the Control phase, we identify what needs to change so the problem never comes back.

I often have teams start to brainstorm potential solutions as soon as a problem area is identified.  They are so anxious to make an improvement that they fail to follow the DMAIC process.  This is a huge mistake because in most cases they fail to determine the true root cause of the gap they’re trying to close and end up implementing the wrong solution.

To illustrate the Lean Six Sigma and how it can work in Human Resources, let’s take a deeper look at how the FMLA process was improved.  It was determined that the FMLA process was not being administered efficiently and employees and HR personnel were becoming frustrated. The goal was to make the process more efficient and reduce the time to administer it by 25%.  Several causes for delay and efficiency were found and included:

  • Unscheduled employee visits
  • Too many different forms used
  • Too many one-on-one meetings with employees
  • Unclear instructions to the physician completing the application

Potential solutions were then brainstormed which included the following:

  • Evaluation of all forms to allow for consolidation and/or elimination of information
  • Instead of one-on-one meetings to provide initial application packets, group meetings to be conducted three days a week
  • FMLA packet to include a cover sheet detailing the responsibilities of the physician in completing the document.

These solutions were piloted, implemented, and became the new documented system.

The project was a huge success due to less frustration on everyones part and an overall reduction of time to administer the process close to 40%

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