23 Nov Change for the Good: Kaizen
The Kaizen technique is based on the philosophical belief that everything can be improved. Whether it’s applied to our personal lives in the form of changing jobs or improving quality on a manufacturing floor, Kaizen can be extremely versatile. The principles teach us to slowly implement effective change, with incremental changes adding up to substantial change overtime. The approach is certainly much gentler and easier to implement than some of the more intensive methods out there, lending itself to being an employee-friendly way to roll out the changes that must occur as a business grows and adapts to its environment.
Without even realising, many of us may be applying the principles of Kaizen on a daily basis. We all know making big changes in life can be daunting, so why not break it down into smaller steps? Take a career change, for example. Start by putting together a resume or revise an already existing one on the first day, on the second day update your online profile, then on the third day start networking or looking to contact a recruiter, and so on. When you’re only spending roughly an hour a day on a task, the end goal doesn’t seem too far out of reach. It also gives you extra time to think things over, consider the bigger picture and develop new ways to improve your approach, like adding improvements to your resume, for example.
Similar to how we can improve our own lives, Kaizen has proven to work really well within the workplace. Kaizen looks to make the work environment more efficient and effective by creating a cohesive atmosphere to change the overall culture, which creates a more successful and enjoyable teamworking environment. It gives responsibility to the whole team, every employee can have a say and put forward suggestions for improvement.
One huge advantage is that it helps a company notice the finer details. It’s easy for a company to get stuck on one big problem and forget about other important issues until they become problematic. Those that regularly face those small issues in their day-to-day work life usually understand how restrictive they can be and can often provide the solution. This is why I believe it’s important to ensure employees feel like a valued part of the business they work for and know that they can give feedback that will be heard. Supporting this level of trust can lead to less waste and higher quality of output, and there’s also evidence that companies who follow the principles correctly have increases in employee satisfaction and retention.
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