Many factors impact the way businesses operate, but perhaps none is more important than a company’s employees. And with millennials now the largest generation in the workforce, understanding how to keep these workers satisfied – and staying put – is critical.
Studies show that these younger employees have different expectations and requirements than previous generations, including wanting more opportunities for development, greater responsibility, and more regular feedback. Fortunately, Operational Excellence offers all three, and can be a central element of a company’s talent acquisition and retention strategy.
To be successful, Operational Excellence must be embedded in a company’s culture. One of the best ways to create an OpEx environment is to educate every employee, in all areas and at all levels, on the destination of Operational Excellence, how to reach it, and what results the company, and each employee, will realize when it does.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, millennials continually seek to opportunities to learn, and OpEx training can help meet their desires for development. To enhance its relevancy, the teaching should be tailored to each area of the organization, and also be specific enough for each employee that everyone will understand how their work will change after the company achieves OpEx.
During the training, companies should seek to have employees alongside leadership to demonstrate management support and drive buy-in across the rest of the organization. For millennials, who want to move up the ladder faster, according to a PWC report, this close contact with company leaders holds another benefit: a chance to engage with executives who may hold the key to their rise within the company.
Engagement in the Process
Fortune reported that one of the things millennials seek in a job is self-purpose, meaning how they fit into the organizational puzzle. They want to know how their daily work relates to what the company is doing as a whole. With Operational Excellence, every employee working in the flow – whether on the shop floor or in an office – has a chance to actively take part in designing flow, from mapping the current state and developing the future one to creating standard work or designing effective visual systems. And once the flow is up and running, millennials can see how their work fits into the entire end-to-end flow, and how that flow will lead to the growth of the business.
Providing millennials the opportunity to see how their work is aligned with the company’s will fuel their motivation going forward. And that’s important to an OpEx program’s success, since having them on board means they’ll serve as advocates for Operational Excellence throughout the rest of the company.
Constant Visual Reactions
A Forbes article explains millennials’ need for ongoing, timely feedback about their work and its value to the company. Through the use of visual systems, Operational Excellence enables workers to constantly see how they – and the rest of the company – are performing, giving them the responsiveness they seek.
The most important role of visuals in OpEx is to tell if the operation is on time to the customer. Some companies use boards, colored lights or flags, or design their own way to measure whether flow is normal. No matter how a company chooses to establish a visual system, what’s most critical is that employees can see if their work is progressing according to the way the flow was designed. And if it’s not? The employees themselves can implement standard work to get things back on track.
Millennials may be different than previous generations of workers, but that doesn’t mean a company can’t identify what these workers want from a workplace, and deliver it. And OpEx may help them do just that.