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KaiNexus Blog

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Beyond the Problem – Bonus Benefits of Kaizen Events

Posted by Noah Paratore

Oct 21, 2019 2:08:00 PM

Kaizen events, sometimes called rapid improvement events, are an effective way of solving difficult challenges within organizations. A team of stakeholders and subject matter experts takes a few days away from regular order to focus on improving a process. Because the effort is concentrated, root causes can be identified, and potential fixes implemented in short order. The obvious goal of a Kaizen event is to solve the issue at hand, usually defined in a project charter.

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Topics: Kaizen, Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Trick or Treat? The Scary Facts About Employee Engagement

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 17, 2019 10:35:00 AM

It’s almost time for Halloween when all the ghosts and monsters come out of hiding to give folks a scare. Fortunately, it’s all in fun. But there is something that should be truly frightening to business leaders, and that’s research about employee engagement and motivation.

Gallup has measured the state of the workplace for more than twenty years. Their research digs deep into the motivating and demotivating factors for employees and sheds light on what leaders can do to create the conditions for attraction, retention, and engagement.

There’s definitely some good news in the data, but let’s start with the scary stuff.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition

How to Introduce CQI to New Hires

Posted by JJ Puentes

Sep 4, 2019 8:11:00 AM

I've noticed something interesting in all of the articles and blogs I read about CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement). Most of the writing addresses how to launch a new CQI program for the organization, which is obviously essential. However, I've found less written about how to bake CQI into the onboarding process for new employees. After you've been doing CQI for a while, it will be second-hand nature for your existing team, but your new hire may have no experience with Kaizen or daily improvement.

Here are some ways that our customers have had success getting new team members ready to contribute to positive change right out of the gate.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Quality

The Motivation-Hygiene Theory of Employee Engagement

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 15, 2019 8:54:35 AM

It is relatively common for people to use the terms “employee engagement,” and “employee satisfaction,” interchangeably, although we have never been comfortable with that framing, especially when it comes to software. Tools like employee NPS and employee pulse surveys do an excellent job of measuring employee satisfaction, but they don’t have features likely to increase employee engagement. Understanding the difference can help organizations that want to attract, retain, and develop talent find the tools that can help them do so.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

5 Pillars of an Effective Employee Engagement Strategy

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 17, 2019 12:42:47 PM

When we sit down with a prospective client, we find it is very important to understand the challenges the organization is facing and their long-term goals before we start talking about our solution. One of the themes that come up, again and again, is employee engagement, or lack thereof. What we often find is that leaders and managers implement all sorts of employee engagement activities, but they rarely have a well-crafted, cohesive plan for maximizing the human potential of their workforce. Our clients who have done it successfully have found five key elements that are essential to an effective approach.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition

The Reasons Employee Engagement Software Usually Fails

Posted by Kade Jansson

Jun 26, 2019 12:05:00 PM

With as many as 70% of employees reporting that they are not fully engaged at work, employee engagement (or lack thereof) is a significant problem for employers in the US. So, it’s no wonder that many software companies offer solutions purported to improve it. The market for employee engagement software is growing, according to Zion Market Research’s recent report (paywall). The global employee engagement software market is expected to reach approximately $346 million by 2025.

Yet, the problem persists.

Many of the companies that come to us looking for help creating and supporting a culture of improvement have already tried some type of employee engagement solution. They’re frustrated that despite their best efforts, most employees are content to stick with the status quo, keep their heads down, and produce the same results as always.

What these leaders are glad to hear is that it isn’t their fault. The fact is that the paradigm under which most employee engagement software is developed is flawed. The reason it doesn’t work isn’t a bad implementation or lazy managers; it’s much deeper than that.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

Framed to Fit: Why Managers Endorse Ideas

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jun 5, 2019 9:43:57 AM

Dr. Ethan Burris is a Professor of Management and the Chevron Centennial Fellow at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Director of the Center of Leadership Excellence for the McCombs School. He earned his Ph.D. in Management from Cornell University and has served as a Visiting Scholar at Google and Microsoft. He teaches and consults on topics relating to leadership, managing power and politics, leading groups and teams, and negotiations.

Dr. Burris’ current research focuses on understanding 1) the antecedents and consequences of employees speaking up or staying silent in organizations, 2) leadership behaviors, processes and outcomes, and 3) the effective management of conflict generated by multiple interests and perspectives. In particular, he has investigated how leaders shape employees’ decisions whether to speak up or stay silent and how leaders evaluate those who speak up.

We were pleased to have him join us at our annual user conference in Austin last year. This post is a recap of his presentation; we highly recommend that you watch it to learn more about the science behind which ideas for improvement are more likely to get promoted by managers.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Spread Continuous Improvement, Improvement Process, Operational Excellence

6 Tips for Crowdsourcing Innovation Ideas

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 23, 2019 7:11:00 AM

When we ask people about innovation, they usually leap to radical breakthroughs like self-driving cars, alternative energy sources, or space colonies. While these things are innovative, the term innovation simply means a change to an established method or idea. Storing your forks closer to the dishwasher is innovation. In companies, incremental changes like optimizing a process, or solving a long-standing problem can be as necessary for success as introducing a new product or selling to a new market.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Innovation Software, Employee Engagement

When Being Right is the Wrong Strategy for Change

Posted by Maggie Millard

May 16, 2019 8:32:00 AM

Frequent readers of this blog are probably familiar with Mark Graban. Mark has been an enormous contributor to the ideological foundation of the KaiNexus continuous improvement software.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Mark is an internationally-recognized expert in the field of “Lean Healthcare” and the author of LeanBlog.org and author of the Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award-winning book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement.

His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, is a management book about using simple, yet practical statistical methods that help leaders at all levels overreact less to their metrics, which frees up time for real, focused, sustainable improvement.

Mark joined us for a recent KaiNexus user group in Austin to share with the audience his thoughts on why being right isn’t always the best strategy for change. This post is a recap of the presentation, but we promise its worth your time to watch the whole thing.

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture

How To Measure the ROI of Continuous Improvement Efforts

Posted by Mark Graban

Nov 16, 2018 3:01:27 PM

You may or may not know that we host a regular webinar series, with topics ranging from employee engagement and the ROI of continuous improvement to A3 Thinking and improvement software demos.

You can see what's coming up next here.

My favorite part of the webinars is that they give us a chance to listen to the audience; to see what questions people are asking, what topics resonate with them, and what their struggles are.

For example, one of the attendees in our webinar produced in partnership with Gemba Academy called "Congratulations, You Have Lots of Employee Ideas. Now What?" asked this question: 

“We have successfully implemented a Quick and Easy Kaizen program where all our staff identify a problem, improve the problem, and submit the improvement for tracking. The problem I run into is in the submitting the problem and tracking the savings.  Is it common for employees to say how much time they save for each of their ideas?  And do organization often tie a dollar amount to the time savings? Are there pitfalls I should be aware of? (Example: Sally makes $12.00 an hour.  She improved her process by one hour a day, so the total time savings is $12.00 an hour with an annual savings of $12.00 x number of work days left in the year.)  Are there different ways to calculate the savings?”

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Topics: Employee Engagement

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