It is a known fact that people will get immune to their surroundings after 21 days. This is why the feed-back and insights from first day impressions of new employees and visitors can be so valuable. Oddly, most organizations fail to seize the benefit from these opportunities.
I know many organizations spend countless hours prepping for an audit … when in fact many of the processes and checks to be audited are for the benefit of the organization to insure quality, through-put and product integrity. I am sure, that in many case a lot of system attributes are being allowed to slip as companies shrinking to greatness in order to attempt at survival.
But using the informal audit and feed-back can present you with some excellent opportunities. I have never been refused by a visitor to my facility to complete a feed-back form. The feed-back is always high caliber and provided our organization some excellent gems for improvement or confirmation we were on the correct path … acknowledgement is always accepted.
It is well known that you cannot see process until you become organized. Once you become organized and begin to see the process clearly is when the power and culture of continuous improvement enters as folk adjust organization to improve process … but “outside eyes” are always the best to question process and provide stimulation for improvement.
New Employees … the first day on the job is always overwhelming. The mind is racing to capture knowledge of the process but also includes remembering where is the washroom, where is the lunchroom, where do I need to park my car etc. In most cases we rush new employees through the orientation process in hopes that we can quickly migrate them up the learning curve to make them productive quickly. However, a quick de-brief with them at the conclusion of the first day will provide you an excellent audit of just how effective is your visual work place.
Similar Suppliers & Sales People … these folks are constantly walking through operations. In many cases operations similar or very similar to yours. Of course they are looking for opportunities to increase their sales to your organization through increased value. In many cases they may not divulge proprietary information seen at other locations but they sure can provide you with some excellent hints.
Finally Customers, you have been courting them for months and then finally they agree to come to tour your facility. After you bore them in the boardroom with your PowerPoint presentation(s) you take them on a tour of your organization . Asking them to fill out a feed-back form at the conclusion of their visit will communicate to you and your organization what impressed them the most and did it align with the value proposition you were pitching.
Our document of choice to capture ideas has been our 3 by 3 form. In this document we ask folks to write down 3 simple ideas that impressed them and that they could potentially use back at their facility. Similar we ask for 3 simple ideas that we could implement to enhance our Organization. We also provide them with opportunities to provide us with feed-back on Safety, Workplace Organization, Effective use of space etc … oh just look at the template.
But an important element, is that visitors need to complete the Form before departing, if you allow them to leave without Completing chances are you will get no response.