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Sustaining Results From Six Sigma

Jul 15, 2008
Employee engagement has been a strong contributor to the success of the businesses. However, Six Sigma initiatives are at a risk of losing on the efforts made due to downsizing in the last few months. Companies are facing the challenges of sustaining the energy and the resources to get the benefits of Six Sigma projects.

Additionally, Six Sigma initiatives are also losing the willingness of the people to work over and above the minimum efforts needed to keep their jobs. The intellectual capital that is the knowledge and ideas of the employees, which are the driving factors for many companies' competitive edge, is also diminishing.

The combination of the two drives organizations' efforts to provide product and quality service, customer satisfaction and profitability. Every methodology has a limited life span. In this competitive world, companies are trying to find magical solutions to solve the business problems.

Six Sigma initiatives to be successful and consistent need personal commitment and team effort. It needs the leadership's effort and commitment to the projects through their actions. At the level of the organization the company should create a corporate culture that instigates long term customer loyalty and shareholder value.

At the individual level, the driving factor is increasing employee engagement by assisting people to fulfill personal values and goals through work environment. Employee engagement comes from empowerment, respect and recognition of achievements, personal development, creativity, economic security, family security and enjoyable relationships with co-workers.

Business leaders need to understand the need to develop strategies to improve employee engagement. Six Sigma leaders have to consider and plan their initiatives accordingly. The contribution and involvement of all the employees is needed to engage them for the desired cultural change. People get engaged when they believe that their involvement is making a difference for them as well.

A Six Sigma training session is not enough to encourage the involvement of the employee in the Six Sigma project, nor is the participation of relevance if the project goes on for moths without any solutions.

Organizations have to take a few measures to increase the employee engagement and get the involvement of even those on the sidelines. Improving strategies based on a few principles can facilitate this.


Employees should be able to put their ideas into actions with the support of the managers. This should be possible in not more than one meeting, for employees to understand the relevance of their involvement.

Confident Actions

Employees and managers should feel comfortable to offer ideas that may be in contrast to the existing systems. Small teams with meaningful assignments and clear criteria allow the employees to take confident steps to innovate within limits.

Faster Management Decisions

Management has to ensure that they make decisions quickly on matters that do not need any more than a management improvement. This motivates employees to understand management's readiness to changes in the project.

Leadership commitment should be reflected through strategic actions, progress review and personal behavior of the management. The sharing of ideas from experience can be a motivating factor.

Speed Everything Up

The faster the real results are achieved the more the people would stay in the project. If there are gains in the change game then would the employees be ready to stay.

All Six Sigma professional have to think in take into consideration this current scenario to sustain the results of the Six Sigma project. Employee engagement is important for sustenance.
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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