Mariela and I are fortunate that we are able to walk through many organizations and observe some very interesting processes. What we do not understand is how organizations allow their environments to deteriorate into very unprofessional looking scenes while still demanding high calibre precision from the processes.
Let us face it to create a professional environment is not difficult nor does it have to be expensive. Why you need a professional looking environment is because that is where you have decided to employ professionals.
Maybe it is a subliminal thing but I know if you start creating some stringent standards about your workplace appearance these exacting standards will migrate into your processes and ultimately your product.
I cannot accept the excuse “that the process is dirty” ... a dirty process does not justify a messy environment. Now please understand this is not about 5S but creating a professional environment for your employees.Most organizations have an extensive hiring process and they have likely shrouded themselves with some sort of quality designation whether it be an ISO or TS designation and then throw the new hires into an unprofessional looking environment.
The automatic mental connection between the employee and the organization is that if the company does not care about the environment then why should I care about doing a good job ...
Typically we like to start by looking at the appearance of washrooms, change rooms and cafeteria’s ... and in the majority of cases they are UGLY. Many of our clients are heavily focused on Safety but if they did an audit of the cafeteria they would likely find the most unsafe area is their cafeteria. Do yourself a favour and inspect the ceiling of your cafeteria micro-wave ... you may want to get a tetanus shot first though.
Now it may also be that employees have become immune to their surroundings ... studies show that employees become immune to their surroundings after 21 days ... so then either interview your new employees about first impressions, supplier who are visiting your facility or hire some outside eyes.
A good first start to developing your professional environment is to invoke a ban on tape and hand-written notes. Tour your facility and question every sign and notes attached to walls and equipment ... are they still necessary?Can they be consolidated? Or just simply removed?
Next set a standard of height where the top of any and all signs Need to be hung ... we would suggest a maximum height of 76Inches.
For your communications boards make sure you have a board Owner complete with their picture and contact information.
Is the place starting to look better already ???
The first steps to creating a professional environment may be hard but definitely not expensive ...
Remember hat your employees have some amazing talents that often go beyond what they demonstrate within the workplace ... so make sure that leverage these talents ... it is cost effective and has your employees put some skin in the game.
That unsightly change room ... have a pizza painting party same for the cafeteria and look to some of the naturally talented decorators to put in some personal touches. In past lives I have found that within the team I had some very capable ceramic tile installers and for a few bucks we made a stunning cafeteria floor and employee entrance way.
All this little stuff adds up to improving employee engagement and moral ...
Pick a colour matrix for communication for example a white font on a green background for safety. Then obtain a nice large substrate and begin to consolidate all things related to safety onto the substrate ... it become big, bold and shows that you are serious about your professional’s safety.
Once you have invoked some general professional expectations within the common areas of your organization you can now turn to your processes ...
Within your processes apply a truly engineered 5S+1 approach. Make sure that it does not become a housekeeping exercise but rather the results that you seek are less walking. Less searching, Less motion all which will lead to consistent high quality output.
You hired professionals that ...
deserve a professional environment ...
In order to deliver professional results !