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Why HR Should Be Involved In Six Sigma Implementations

Jan 31, 2008
In the present scenario where customers demand much more than just quality products and services, the role of Six Sigma now encompasses all the various aspects of a business such as selling, marketing, production, logistics and others. Another interesting development that has taken place in recent years is the increasing involvement of HR professionals in Six Sigma implementation projects.

To understand why this new trend is fast becoming the norm, let us discuss the emerging profile of HR professionals and how they contribute towards the success of Six Sigma implementation projects.

HR Professionals Contribute Towards Internal Benchmarking

Internal Benchmarking basically refers to the process of identifying critical-to-quality factors (CTQs), which in turn are used by the implementation team to make the necessary changes in business processes. HR professionals are now increasingly being preferred for this job because CTQs relate mostly to the needs and expectations of customers. The main job of HR professionals is to cater to the needs and expectations of the employees and as such it is not difficult for them to use the same expertise for identifying the CTQs.

Keeping Scorecards

HR professionals have plenty of experience in keeping a scorecard of employee performance, something that is ultimately utilized by the management for annual appraisals, promotions and incentives. Now, keeping scorecard of employee performance may be completely different from keeping track of the performance of a business process, but if the HR professionals improvise just a bit, they will have no problems whatsoever in completing the task with veritable ease. HR professionals normally have cordial relations with employees, something that makes it easier for them to seek inputs and suggestions from the employees regarding the performance of the business process.

Selecting Implementation Team Members

Project Sponsors or Champions usually select Six Sigma implementation team members, but the role of HR professionals in team selection can still not be undervalued because they are ones who provide the list of candidates eligible for the job. HR professionals know most of the employees in and out and as such it is not a problem for them to make the right recommendations. The final decision, however, rests with the Project Sponsor.

Managing Change

Most HR professional command the respect of the employees and as such they are in a better position to handle employee distrust and dissatisfaction that might occur due to the ongoing Six Sigma implementations. During most implementations, employees are asked to share new responsibilities and engage in new behaviors, things that often lead to dissatisfaction towards company policies. An expert HR can easily eliminate such problems by communicating the real purpose and benefits of the implementations to the employees.

Getting the involvement of HR may have become a necessity, but organizations should not put undue pressure on HR professionals, because that could have a disastrous affect on the recruitment process, vital for the long-term success of the organizations. Hiring additional HR personnel during the implementation phase may then be the best way out for organizations.
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 lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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