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Lean Staffing VII
(December 12, 2006) Flow
"Lean Staffing produces breath taking results", says
Scot Dow of the Lean Staffing Institute. "Once the value stream has been well
mapped and clearly wasteful steps (Muda)
have been eliminated from the process, then 'breakthrough' improvements start to
happen. If you're willing to see beyond what the ATS tells you, you can realize
astonishing improvement. As waste is eliminated, the Staffing Process begins to
breathe and take on a life of its own. The real adventure begins after the
obvious Muda is out of the picture."
This is the point in Lean Staffing where the
process begins to "flow".
Seasoned proponents of Lean Thinking like to
compare the difference between kaikaku and kaizen. Kaikaku is a rapid change
event as opposed to Kaizen which is smaller incremental changes. Kaikaku is
revolutionary while Kaizen is evolutionary. Kaizen means continuous improvement
through employee involvement - getting all employees involved through their
improvement ideas. Kaikaku means 'radical change,' 'transformation of the mind,'
'working with others to achieve radical change,' and bringing new and vital
energy to your organization. It also means innovation.
One of the things that distinguishes the Lean
Staffing process from other TQM approaches is the emphasis on the possibility,
importance and desirability of Kaikaku (radical change). Rather than just
focusing on the activities of Recruiters and Staffing professionals in isolation
(the department level approach of a TQM intervention), the Lean approach looks
at the entire system and asks "What needs to be done?" The answer is usually a
detailed specification and the development of work teams who are task-specific
rather than department-centric.
A well executed Lean Staffing initiative boosts
morale and reduces costs. This is a stark contrast to the re-engineering
movement which focused exclusively on streamlining the process. The idea is to
flow the service through the organization to the customer without pauses or
stops for friction caused by the organization. Waste is the enemy. Flow.
In psychology, flow has eight attributes (Wikipedia):
- Clear goals
(expectations and rules are discernible).
- Concentrating and
focusing, a high degree of concentration on a limited
field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will
have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
- A loss of the feeling of
self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
- Distorted sense of time
- one's subjective experience of time is altered.
- Direct and immediate
feedback (successes and failures in the course of the
activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as
- Balance between ability
level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy
nor too difficult).
- A sense of personal
control over the situation or activity.
- The activity is
intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness
Flow in Lean Staffing is similar. Rather than
pushing the process (and doesn't it always seem to be uphill?) things flow
towards their specified end state.
To update our earlier headline, not only do ATS
hide the flow (by obscuring the critical data required to understand the value
stream) they actually inhibit the possibility of flow.
The Lean Staffing Series so far:
John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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