Last week, I blogged about some employee complaints related to rotating day and night shifts at the Toyota San Antonio plant. In that post, I mentioned that employees who post on Glassdoor.com and other sites might not be a representative sample of the full employee population.
With that in mind, what happens when we search the Glassdoor surveys of some well-known “Lean hospitals?”
I posted a few of these employee comments on LinkedIn the other day (a short post that has received over 50,000 views and prompted a lot of discussion).
Here is one of those employee comments about a health system that many would consider to be a long-time leader in “Lean healthcare:”
“Management needs to have a better understand of the work, because of [Health System's] Lean Culture changes are made on a continual basis by people not in the work and who don't understand who is all impacted by the change.”
As I said on LinkedIn, in a Lean culture, improvement is supposed to be done WITH people or BY people… it's NOT supposed to be done TO them.Improvement is supposed to be done WITH people or BY people... it's NOT supposed to be done TO them. #Lean Click To Tweet
Here another sad comment from another well-known Lean hospital:
“[Redacted] has gone too far in its attempt to cut costs. Many behind the scenes employees work in squalor and are treated like slaves. They are encouraged to skip lunch and breaks and are in constant fear of being fired. As a new employee, It only takes a few days to realize that you will be asked to commit hari kari if you make an honest mistake. That is the Japanese (LEAN) way.”
The Lean way doesn't blame or punish individuals for an honest mistake. I don't understand how the leaders in these organizations misunderstand Lean… or maybe didn't bother to learn. If even one employee has this perception… I guess perception is the reality, as they say.
We need to do better.
Another comment says:
“There is so much focus on lean and no focus on building better managers.”
That's sad to hear. Lean is supposed to focus on developing people, including managers. Lean is a different way of leading and managing, not just a set of tools or projects.
Are those comments representative of what most employees think? Of course not. But, if even a handful of employees have major (and understandable) issues with what they're experiencing with Lean, then that represents an opportunity for improvement. Do those organizations need to be more consistent with what Lean really is? Do they need to invest more in additional or more capable coaches for those leaders who are perhaps misunderstanding or misapplying Lean?
We're almost 20 years into the “Lean movement” in healthcare. But, there are still way too many organizations where Lean is limited to relatively trivial things, including straightening up the workplace or having daily huddles at the frontline. I'd say a majority of those organizations that are “implementing Lean” don't have executives who are actively learning about Lean, let alone teaching it or modeling the behaviors we'd want to see in an effective Lean culture.Employee Complaints About Lean in Healthcare, Even at Some of the Best Organizations Click To Tweet
What health systems are these comments about? To harken back to a scene from the movie “Fight Club,” “a major one.”
Actually, it's “major ones.”
Here are some of the comments from LinkedIn about my post and those employee comments: