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HR And Six Sigma - An Unlikely Pair That Works

Jun 6, 2008
The deciding factor for the success of Six Sigma is to have the right people for the right projects. Human resource (HR) professionals are capable of finding the right people. HR can be involved with the Six Sigma projects for varied reasons. By familiarizing them with Six Sigma and giving them basic knowledge on various methods and tools, HR can contribute largely to Six Sigma projects.

HR can assist in creating job descriptions for candidates before they become a part of the team. Along with selecting appropriate people, they can ensure that Black Belts and the team get training in teamwork, conflict management and personal communication skills.

They can assist Black Belts in sorting out team-related challenges or issues. They can also provide the team with tools that can be used to measure their own performance and identify improvement areas.

HR professionals, with their project management education and analytical skills, can help play a major role in strategic, operational and administrative activities of Six Sigma projects. HR professionals can use the Six Sigma methodology in risk areas, where safety and health issues are a priority.

Six Sigma requires an in-depth study of the existing system, ensuring identification of danger areas.

Analyze and Design Metrics

HR professionals can contribute to analyzing and designing relevant metrics. It is necessary to understand the strategic as well as organizational initiatives for the purpose of understanding the usefulness of a metric. HR professionals, who are familiar with strategic initiatives, may already have data that may are needed for these metrics.

They have knowledge about internal benchmarking for comparison of similar operations in the organization. This knowledge helps them in identifying issues, which are critical to quality factors (CTQs). HR professionals are also adept in documenting best practices.

This skill can be used in Six Sigma projects, so that the best practices become a part of processes throughout the organization.

Scorecards

HR professionals generally make scorecards for their department. The scorecards are useful for monitoring the business success. HR professionals can contribute in implementing the scorecard system in a Six Sigma project scenario.

Sometimes candidates selected for Six Sigma roles prove to be potential candidates for future leadership positions. The integration of HR systems with Six Sigma deployment is vital to the success of the project.

Managing Change

Introducing Six Sigma in an organization brings up the issue of change with regards to new systems to be introduced, and the discarding of old methods. If HR change agents are involved in the project right from the beginning, then they can facilitate the impact of these changeovers. HR also has the role of retaining the Black Belts by involving them in other challenging projects.

HR employees can also follow up with a good reward and recognition for a job successfully completed. They can assist the project leader in creating a strategic compensation plan to support the Six Sigma team, as well as in designing a non-monetary reward program.

HR departments can play a major role in the successful implementation of Six Sigma projects that may change the organizational culture. HR professionals who have an inclination to work with Six Sigma projects are assets to any company, and can prove to be role models for future projects.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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