Two Common HR Practices That Sabotage Lean Initiatives
Our consulting firm has two HR requirements before we'll work with a client:
1. No regular employee will lose their job as a result of improvement activities.
2. No “forced ranking”. This means that there is no ongoing practice for selecting a predetermined number of employees for termination. See the article “The ABCs of Rank and Fire Management” for more about this:
Our team has decided to not work with several prospective clients because of these requirements. Why?
First, we have a conscience. Our mission is to improve the quality of people's work – not take it away.
Second, we're pragmatic. We know from experience that layoffs as a result of improvement activities and forced ranking will sabotage any lean initiative. Creating an environment of fear destroys teamwork, and the process of engaging employees grinds to a halt.
What are your thoughts?
Do you know of a company that practices on-going layoffs or forced ranking, yet also has a successful lean initiative?
Or maybe you have an example of a lean initiative that failed because of these issues?