Culture Engagement Starts with Top Management

Creating a Word or PowerPoint Culture reference material and distributing to employees on on-boarding day and briefly talking about it in your Monday morning meeting because you feel your employees are not “getting it” is not going to drive any significant results. Human Resources is not the captain when it comes to engaging employees in the company’s culture. Culture is top management responsibility.

Effective leaders are known to practice and support their culture on a daily basis. They integrate visual controls and visual KPI Metrics so that quality, productivity, cost goals and objectives are visibly clear. To quote Dwight Eisenhower, “They never listen to what I said; they always watch what I do.”

For example, if a Procurement Manager sees the CEO ignoring client calls when the culture document states, “Serve the Client”, it would now seem that the culture document is void because the CEO is not practicing it. The Procurement Manager now thinks its okay to ignore vendors/clients because the CEO does.

Leaders should engage with their employees everyday instead of only appearing when there is a problem. By actively participating in all the departments of the company and listening to employees, leaders can use the Voice of the Employee to identify bottlenecks and improve overall employee satisfaction. They also include all employees in the decision-making process by making strategic plans visual and accessible to all employees; and ensure their actions correspond with the company’s written vision and mission statements.

The fault lies with leadership when the employee does not know what she/he is supposed to do, does not know what is expected of them, has no means to assess if the work is being doing properly, nor has the authority or means to correct the process when something is wrong. Effective leaders know the importance of translating the vision and mission of the company into daily activities. They set realistic goals for their employees and provide timely rewards to those who meet them. And offer educational and training opportunities to enhance their employees’ capabilities.

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On-boarding Employees: Where are the supplies?

 Onboarding a new hire is stressful enough. Paperwork needs to be done, work area needs to be set up, et cetera. But no one remembers about supplies. Utilizing Lean Six Sigma methods and tools like 5S, visual management and Kanban to remove office waste is a great way to have a supplies inventory system that ensures all employees know where each item is kept and are aware of what is considered to be low inventory. This will ensure an order is placed in a timely manner to avoid any impairment in daily business operations or having to run out to your local supplies store and grossly over-pay.

When all supplies are cataloged, organized, labeled, tracked in Excel and this information is readily available to employees; waste is reduced in terms of time looking for supplies, productivity time wasted and money wasted. Ensuring employees know where all supply items are kept will significantly reduce time and productivity wastes. They should also be aware of what is considered to be low inventory (Zero is not acceptable) because this will allow immediate and timely replenishment.

For example, you would start by creating an inventory tracking Excel sheet like the one below (you can personalize it as you wish). You can set it up in Google Sheets and share with your team. You can encourage employees to make notes on whether items should be made more accessible to them (move printer closer to marketing team, et cetera) or add additional items to the list that will help them enhance their productivity.

In short, those that prepare and organize their office supplies inventory systems effectively reduce the most critical waste which is time and then of course, money.

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