In Plain Sight: Hidden Wastes that Affect the Viability of Your HR Organization Part 4

As stated previously hidden wastes occur in every process undertaken by our organizations, whether we are looking from the production side or the transactional side. In part 4 the final three types of waste or muda that exist in your  organization are reviewed. These will lead us into the final part which offer possible solutions that would assist your organization in removing the non-value added steps to your processes.

Waste or Muda #7 Defects

We as individuals get highly upset when we purchase something and it is not what we expected because something does not work. Our customers get  highly upset when our processes do not provide exactly what they expect. When looking at the human resource operations these defects can be present in several ways.

The first defect is tied to a great degree with our earlier discussion of the waste found in Motion within the organization. When we expect our employees top make extra trips to retrieve what they need to complete the tasks their position calls on, we are reducing productivity.  You ask an employee to retrieve a file for a project but to do so means they have to go to the other side of the building. A client send a fax to your department but the person who is supposed to receive it can’t verify that it arrived without leaving his/her desk and going to the mail room. Every time you waste time by not having the materials needed to complete tasks right at their finger tips you are creating waste for your organization.

 The second example of waste within your HR department is when you produce either hard copy forms or online forms with items that are illegal in nature. When we spent some time seeking a full time human resources position we observed questions on application in example which were either against the law or had no bearing on a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification. We are talking about questions such as date of birth, date the candidate graduated form high school. Probably the most out of the box question was an application that contained a mandatory yes or no response to the question “Are You a Visible Minority.” These types of questions create waste due to the fact that you can’t utilize them in your hiring decisions so why ask them. Have you ever sent out offer letters with wrong start dates or compensation information? Have you ever sent out letters or documents which were critical for the completion of a project only to get them questioned because of misspellings?

 Waste or Muda #8: Unused Employee Potential

The United Negro Fun for years ran a commercial in which the tag line was it was a shame to waste a mind. In this age when our employees are corporate assets,to place them in a position where their full potential is not utilized jeopardizes the organization and is waste to the operation. We do this by not planning our staffing needs correctly. If we hire too much or we have processes that have to wait on a previous step, then we have employees sitting idle and spinning their wheels until they have what they need to continue. We also introduce waste to the human resource process when we under staff the operations leading to  work overload which leads to less than maximum productivity because the employees can not possible get everything done which leads to shortcuts which leads to the potential for defects in the output.

Waste or Muds #9: Material Underutilization

Every day we produce materials out of our processes which end up nowhere. When was the last time you received an e-mail and just to make sure that you did not lose it, you printed a copy?  When was the last time you were printing a 3×5 postcard and you only put two on a page instead of four? When was the last time you scheduled a tele-conference only to have a person who was supposed to be in attendance show up 15 minutes late? What do you do with the information generated by your department? Each of these lead to process waste because the results of the above examples are non-value added steps in a process.

To this point we have provided you with a macro view of the wastes that can appear within your processes. Every organization is guilty of these non-value added steps to one degree or another. The last part of this series will take the HRCI Body of Knowledge and suggest to you solutions that you can use to eliminate the types of waste that we have discussed to this point in this series. we hope that we have at least gotten you to begin to look at your own specific HR processes and considered where you are wasting non-productive time within those processes.

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