Can continuous improvement be successful?

For businesses today, the requirement to be able to change is integral. Continuous Improvement (CI) can be a means of ensuring your organisation is keeping up-to-date with the world around them. Although the challenges are numerous, CI can be successful if organisations consider the following 4 recommendations:

Obstacle

Recommendation

The whole concept of CI is that it is continuous and needs to keep adapting in the long-term to maintain momentum.

Organisations need to obtain buy-in from employees, who are up-to-date with and understand the plans, so they act as an advocate for change.

Employees can be intimidated by change for many reasons and therefore, can resist/block change.

To sustain the improvement, employees must be led through the change by management who have already processed and understand the transformation. They need to be made to feel safe.

Company culture can be a major barrier to CI as it indicates how employees and management behave during periods of change.

For CI to be successful in the long-term, organisational cultures and underlying company behaviours need to be adapted to view CI as an ‘evolutionary journey’ not a step change or on/off process.

As CI is people based there is a huge human element that could block success. CI’s requirements can increase expectations, workload, pressures and uncertainty for employees.

Talk employees through the transition before it starts to begin their movement through the process of accepting change to obtaining buy-in and consequently increasing employee engagement.

 

From this, it can be advised that to remain competitive, businesses need CI. However, for CI to be successful, businesses need to tackle potential obstacles and involve all employees in the change. Management also needs to lead employees through the change to prevent disillusion and reassure employees of their safety in their position.

Various tools can be used to monitor employees response to change, including the Fisher Curve, which identifies how employees feel about the change, consequently allowing employers to see how employees are coping, allowing them to plan how to ensure employees feel safe and are onboard to accept the change.

Continuous Improvement is not easy to instil in organisations, as it is an ongoing process, but when implemented properly CI can make all the difference to the business’ future.

 

This article is exclusive to The Business Transformation Network. You can read part 1 of this series on continuous improvement here.