Running a lean operation on employee job satisfaction
Lean principles and lean management are business principles that aim to make manufacturing and other processes more efficient by only have the absolute requisite resources to hand at the right time in any given stage of the process. Thus, excess starting materials, equipment, and essentially redundant staff do not increase the burden on storage, systems, waste disposal, and other factors any one of which might reduce efficiency and so profits.
Now, writing in the International Journal of Intelligent Enterprise, a team from India, discusses the implications of running a lean operation on employee job satisfaction. A. Varadaraj and S. Ananth of the Alliance School of Business, at Alliance University, in Bangalore, suggest that "Lean has shown visible effects in enhancing productivity, reducing wastage of time and materials while still maintaining customer satisfaction as well as employee satisfaction." Part of the overall lean philosophy is about people understanding their motives and aspirations and lean relies on always focusing on employee motivation and work performance.
The team has carried out a detailed survey of employees working in a lean environment and used various statistical tools to analyze the results. They found that employees with a positive attitude coupled with good leadership style both play a vital role in the continuous improvement of lean implementation and have a big influence on job satisfaction. That said, they also found that "A dedicated employee can help the organization to achieve its goals and benefits only when the leadership appreciates their contribution in the workplace."
In order to be most effective, there has to be good awareness among employees of how lean can benefit them and the company they work for in different ways, training and management must also be positively linked to the whole ethos and what is commonly referred to as work-life balance must be maintained at an optimal level for the sake of employee job satisfaction and to the benefit of the organization.