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Employee Turnover And Retention Briefings Abstract: 69

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Quality Management Programs Encourage Employee Participation in Problem Solving [Akron Beacon Journal] Monday 04/04/05 11:45 PM

Businesses are taking advantage of a variety of management programs designed to elicit ideas and encourage problem solving from employees.

Play to Strengths

At a decal company in Ohio, the President hired an outside firm to evaluate the strengths of their managers. They used this information to make sure that the company is best utilizing their managers' talents. The company also provided teamwork training to all employees plus are surveying employees regularly for suggestions and improvements that the company can implement.

Six Sigma

Another popular management program is the Six Sigma quality control program. Six Sigma is named after the statistical term that seeks to keep errors at or below a rate of 3.4 per 1 million.

A Six Sigma program sets up teams of employees to study and identify problems in various business processes. Six Sigma participants not only uncover problems, they also find ways to prevent them.

Lean Six Sigma

A hybrid management program has evolved that combines the principles of Six Sigma with another popular program called Lean Management. Lean Management focuses not on problems but on ways to enhance the speed of processes.

A bearings manufacturer in Canton, Ohio has been using Lean Six Sigma for more than 2 years. In that time they have worked on 359 Lean Six Sigma projects and have saved the company $9 million.

Appreciative Inquiry

A less well known but equally pervasive management program is called Appreciative Inquiry or AI. With AI, the company focuses and builds upon its strengths rather than its weaknesses. A company implementing Appreciative Inquiry asks the question, "What are we doing right and how can we duplicate it?"

A large trucking company that has been using AI since 1999 has had great success with this management technique. They have seen improvements in productivity, lowered costs and an increase in employee job satisfaction.

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