Lean Six Sigma in Human Resources

Posted by on Mar 13, 2012 in Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Lean Six Sigma can be applied to any process to make it more efficient and error free.  In my prior life, I had the opportunity to work with the HR department of a large company on several projects.  Here is an example.

The FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) process being administered by HR and the company nurse was taking a considerable amount of time causing frustration for both them and the employees.  Employees would make an individual appointment with the nurse either before or after their shift.  They would receive the necessary forms and paperwork and the nurse would explain the process.  They would then take the paperwork to their doctor and have them fill it out.  Problems occurred either because the employee did not understand the nurse’s instructions or the doctor’s office did not fill out the forms correctly.  The time it took the nurse to administer the process was getting overwhelming.

A project was initiated and a team formed, including the nurse and some of the other administrators.  A value stream map was developed to show all the steps included in the FMLA process.  Data was collected showing a large number of forms were being returned from doctors with missing or incorrect information.  The team decided to put a doctor’s instruction sheet together highlighting the necessary information and attaching an example.  This work instruction was placed in the packet the employee took to the doctor.  Within a few weeks, the majority of the errors were eliminated.

In addition, the team decided to eliminate the individual employee appointments and use a group meeting instead.  Two group meetings were scheduled per week, one on Tuesday morning for the PM shift people and the other on Thursday afternoon for the AM shift people.  If employees had questions of a personal nature, they stayed after the meeting to discuss them with the nurse.

The work instruction and combining the individual meetings into a group meeting reduced the administration time of the HR department by about 60%.  The project took about two months to complete.

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