Tips for creating a continuous improvement culture
A continuous improvement culture is a culture whereby there is a constant effort to improve your business. This will include your performance, processes, products, and services, with the aim of minimising costs, reducing waste, streamlining work, improving efficiency and maximising output.
Within this article, we explore three key tips to help you to create a continuous improvement culture.
1. Defining your strategy
Firstly, we need to know where we are now and where we want to be, so that we can identify areas for improvement. This involves a strategic review of what are you trying to achieve, that is what are your goals and objectives; and subsequently how are you going to achieve these through the delivery of change and improvement projects. Are your current projects aligned to your strategy? They should be helping your business achieve its objectives and deliver improvements. If your projects aren’t doing this then you should consider why you are undertaking them. Are your projects usually delivered on time and within budget? If not, investigate why. This will help you devise a plan to ensure that there is improvement in the delivery of your projects.
An integral part of understanding your current performance is to review your key performance indicators. Are you measuring the right things? Are your measures aligned to your strategy? Are your targets realistic? Are your targets stretching? Reviewing your measures, and performance against your measures will aid you in understanding the baseline position of where you are now.
2. Achieving excellence standards
Have you looked at the various excellence standards and frameworks that you could achieve such as Investors in People, Customer service excellence or ISO standards? It may be that you are already doing most of the work to achieve an accreditation, so you should consider being recognised for what you’re already doing. If you aren’t already doing this, then it will help you to identify areas where your business could improve. Achieving various standards may also give you a competitive edge.
3. Measuring individual performance
So far we have looked at continuous improvement of the organisation as a whole. Often you will find that if you create a culture of continuous improvement at the individual level, this will cascade upwards throughout the organisation.
Individual performance is critical to the success of an organisation and should be regularly reviewed and discussed. How often do you conduct performance reviews? They should be done frequently to ensure that you are aware of an individual’s performance. This gives you a clear way to document improvements that have already been made and where there are further development opportunities. You don’t have to do a full appraisal each time, a simple 15 minute catch up may suffice and keep you in touch with your staff.
Are you monitoring your employee’s competencies? It is important to do this for each employee as the competencies required for each role will differ. This will show you who your top performers are, and where there is room for development. Where improvements can be made, the individual and their line manager should devise an action plan so that it is clear what the next steps are. Part of an action plan for an individual may include training. This should be followed up to ensure that the training was useful and is contributing to the continuous improvement of the individual.
For more information on how Clearview’s consultants can help your organisation develop a continuous improvement culture, or for software to support continuous improvement, please get in touch.