Quality standards are the cornerstone of a successful multinational business. However, meeting the requirements of standards bodies often requires the creation and implementation of an internal Quality Improvement Programme (QIP). All employees play a vital role in the success of a QIP, so understanding how to motivate them to be engaged is important. Here are ten suggestions:
1. Hire and Train Great Leaders
This is arguably the most important strategy out of the ten that will be mentioned in this article. Your organization is divided into teams, each carrying out an important function. Each team has a team leader who directly engages with lower-level employees. These team leaders should understand the difference between managing and leading.
Strong leaders are able to motivate those they lead to act. Each team should be led by a strong leader who has been trained and educated about the QIP and therefore can adequately convey its importance and inspire those they lead to efficiently play their parts in the programme. Buy-in from these great leaders ultimately results in buy-in from at least 90 percent of the rest of the team.
2. Get Them Involved from the Get-Go
While a good leader is important, it is often difficult to inspire people to buy into something that has been thrown on them. QIP development should not be limited to C-Suite/executive level, middle and lower level management. Everyone should be given a chance to express their ideas and concerns. In fact, there are things that they may suggest that you and your senior team members may not have noticed and can find useful. Get everyone involved and most, if not all, team members will value the QIP. Each team member will feel a greater sense of ownership and responsibility.
3. Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Getting employee buy-in for a QIP is much easier when a culture of continuous improvement already exists within the organization. A company that values continuous improvement is highly innovative and inspires creativity and collaboration. Employees consistently attempt to answer the questions, “Things are good now but how can we make them better?”
4. Clarify Goals and Responsibilities
Goal-setting should not be reserved to general planning meetings. Sure, setting overall goals for a QIP is important but how will each employee know his or her specific responsibilities in achieving these goals? Team leaders can help in this regard since they know their team members and can assign weekly goals and responsibilities based on each team member’s skills and interests. People work better when there are clear expectations.
5. Create a Weekly Quality Circle
A Quality Circle is a relaxed environment where colleagues can meet to discuss the progress of the QIP. Everyone is invited to attend and network with other people in the company who they do not see regularly. It is most effective when it does not seem like a meeting but more like a time to relax and share stories and ideas.
6. Implement Accountability Measures
A QIP will fail if there is no accountability. Once each team member is clear about the goals he or she is to accomplish weekly, measures need to be put in place to track whether these goals are being met. The consequences of not meeting the goals should be clear. Ensure that the goals are realistic and agreed upon by both the team member and the team leader so that there is not great discord if a consequence is necessary.
7. Reward Good Performance
Accountability is important but it should not loom over the organization like a dark cloud. Instead, there should be a balance with rewards for good performance. Focusing solely on consequences creates a negative work environment and can result in high employee turnover.
One way to reward good performance without breaking the bank is using a points programme. Points are allocated based on the key performance indicators (KPIs) met during the week. The employee(s) with the highest number of points for the month or quarter can be given a special price. RewardCo is a good platform for creating an employee rewards program.
8. Document the Impact
Motivation is boosted when there are tangible results. However, these results can be forgotten if they are not documented. You should consider creating a QIP virtual library where weekly progress is documented. Using an online virtual library platform, such as Caribbean-based BookFusion, can help streamline the process. Access can be granted to all (or some) team members so that documentation is closely monitored and regularly updated.
9. Create a Mentorship Programme
Even the most seasoned employees may need help implementing a QIP, especially if it involves the use of new technology. It is important for your team leaders to identify team members who can serve well as mentors and provide the guidance and support other team members may need. This is also true for the onboarding of new employees. It is not uncommon for new employees to feel like a fish out of water in a new work environment. Pairing each new employee with a strong mentor can minimize frustration and help the new employee become acclimatized quicker.
10. Provide Ongoing Training and Support
Training would have been a part of the initial stages of your QIP. However, training once is insufficient, employees need ongoing training and support to keep the momentum of meeting weekly targets. Furthermore, ongoing training is important as quality standards and industry benchmarks change. You want your team to stay ahead of the game, not lag behind.
All the planning in the boardroom has minimal impact if all employees are not involved. Employees are less likely to buy-in and support a QIP if these ten strategies are not employed. Each strategy helps empower employees and gives them the drive to take your organization to the next level. What changes do you need to make to implement these strategies in your organization?