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Continuous improvement is the heartbeat of successful organizations, driving efficiency, quality, and value while minimizing waste and defects. It involves an ongoing process of identifying, analyzing, and implementing incremental improvements to systems, processes, products, or services. Continuous improvement is critical to various management systems, including Lean, Six Sigma, and Total Quality Management. By fostering a culture of constant feedback, collaboration, and data analysis, organizations can embrace innovation and adaptability.
The continuous improvement cycle, often called the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, is widely used for driving ongoing improvements. The PDCA cycle consists of the following phases:
The continuous improvement cycle should be ongoing, with each iteration building on the previous one to drive further improvement over time.
An organization's employees' knowledge, creativity, and expertise are among the most valuable resources for driving continuous improvement. Employee ideas can come from various sources, including front-line workers, managers, and executives, each providing unique perspectives on opportunities for improvement.
By encouraging employees to share their ideas, organizations can unlock a wealth of innovation, foster collaboration, and drive continuous improvement efforts. Employee ideas solutions, such as idea management systems and crowdsourcing platforms, can help facilitate the collection, evaluation, and implementation of employee-generated ideas.
Implementing employee ideas solutions can provide numerous benefits for organizations, including:
Read on in our blog 'The Top 5 Benefits of Employee Engagement Explained' for more in-depth information.
Crowdsourcing employee ideas involves collecting, evaluating, and implementing ideas from a wide range of employees across the organization. This approach can help support continuous improvement efforts by leveraging the diverse knowledge and experience of the entire workforce.
To successfully implement a crowdsourcing employee ideas solution, organizations should consider the following best practices:
Numerous organizations have successfully implemented employee ideas solutions to drive continuous improvement and innovation. Here are two examples:
Global IT services company, DXC Technology implemented an employee idea solution with Sideways 6 with access to more than 130,000 employees across nearly 70 countries, supporting ongoing continuous improvement and employee engagement initiatives. Key to the success of this program was the simplicity of engagement through native integration with Microsoft Teams. Unwavering commitment to continuous improvement whilst running several employee engagement programs has contributed to DXC consistently ranking 1st amongst competitors and top 10% amongst similar-sized companies for employee retention.
Global publisher Taylor & Francis' Ignite program is a powerful testament to the transformative impact of idea management initiatives. With no prior experience in using an integrated idea management approach the Advanced Learning divisions’, Business Advancement Team created Ignite to collect ideas, break down silos between departments, increase transparency and support a culture of collaboration across the company.
Taylor & Francis quickly realized that colleagues across the business were keen to be involved so made Ignite available to all employees. The company's Customer Service Team have particularly been passionate about putting forward ideas that improve both the employee and customer experience. Ignite aims to foster a culture of continuous improvement and has become central to the very fabric of their Business Advancement strategy. In just over a year, the company has received over 200 Ideas and brought 24 ideas to life. With the help of Ignite, Taylor & Francis continues its’ ambition to be an innovative, adaptable, and driving force in shaping the future of scholarly publishing.
By leveraging Sideways 6, we are advancing a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, benefiting our customers and our organization as a whole.
Michelle, Vice President Business Advancement - Advanced Learning, Taylor and Francis
Embracing employee ideas is a powerful way to drive continuous improvement and innovation. By leveraging their workforce's knowledge, creativity, and expertise, companies uncover novel solutions, enhance processes, and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive business environment. Implementing employee ideas solutions, such as idea management systems and crowdsourcing platforms, can help facilitate collecting, evaluating, and implementing employee-generated ideas, ultimately supporting a culture of continuous improvement and growth.
Ideas from Anywhere™
Sideways 6 exists to help bring good ideas to life every day, everywhere from everyone.»