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The Role Of HR In Lean Management Processes

The Role Of HR In Lean Management Processes

Lean management can be adopted by any type of business, although most people associate it with the manufacturing and especially the automotive manufacturing industry. The aim of any lean business is to reduce waste and improve value, ultimately rewarding the business with streamlined processes and an optimised business model. For lean management to be successful, it needs to incorporate all areas of the business, and this means that employees will have to be involved. As such, it is vital that Human Resources becomes involved in the introduction of lean management processes.

Develop The Lean Management Team

At the heart of your lean management there will be a team of people that deal specifically with lean processes. Some of these employees may come from your existing talent pool; others may be employed specifically. HR will be responsible for developing this team, which not only means employing the right personnel, but it also means ensuring that they have the resources that are necessary.

Adapting The Organizational Structure

Lean management means identifying business processes, eliminating those that do not offer value, and minimising waste. There are likely to be considerable changes required to the structure of teams and departments, as well as to the organization as a whole. Making these changes will require top-down support including support from the board, and it is the HR department that will usually have to implement the changes and adapt the structure of the business.

Communicating Prospective Changes

As with any major business change, communication is a key facet in ensuring that the changes are adopted by the whole company and that there is little or no resistance. Human Resources are ideally placed to communicate with managers, departments, and employees. You should ensure that everybody is kept in the loop regarding changes, and you can ask for input as well as applications from those that might be interested in becoming a part of the lean management team.

A lot of resistance to change stems from the fact that employees fear for their jobs, especially when you start talking about eliminating waste and optimising processes. By communicating freely with everybody in the organisation, you can allay any worries and ensure greater take-up of the proposed changes.

Monitoring Reaction

Some employees will resist the changes more than others. Engaged employees tend to be the ones that not only accept but embrace changes and improvements, but there will also be some that still resist, no matter how well you communicate the changes and the benefits that they bring. What’s more, if you are new to lean management processes, some of your changes may prove more successful than others.

One way to monitor the success of your lean management campaign is to monitor the reaction of employees, including those that are in contact with customers, those that communicate with suppliers, and those that are responsible for back-end administrative work. Have an open door to discuss the changes with all team members.

Incorporating Lean Management Into The Talent

Lean management needs to run throughout the company in order for it to be successful. The HR department will need to consider employing lean management professionals, and can also introduce training in lean management techniques for those that are already within the organisation. Even if you don’t look specifically for those with lean management experience, you should ensure that any new talent has the skills and attributes to be able to adopt lean management processes.

Incorporating Lean Management Into Leadership

It is vital that lean management is adopted right through the business, from the top management right down. If team leaders and managers don’t adopt the processes and adapt to changes, then how can you expect everybody else to? Ensure that management and the management team are fully versed, send them for lean management training, and provide them with the lean management tools that they will need. Ensure that they understand the benefits to the business, and encourage them to instil lean processes in all of their team members. This way, you have a much greater chance to adapt to become a lean corporation with minimal waste and that offers maximum value to its customers.


EQMS offers lean management training, enabling HR, managers, employees, and businesses to get to grips with adopting a full lean process within their organisation. Minimise waste, maximise value, and improve your bottom line with tools like 6 Sigma.
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EQMS offers lean management training, enabling HR, managers, employees, and businesses to get to grips with adopting a full lean process within their organisation. Minimise waste, maximise value, and improve your bottom line with tools like 6 Sigma.

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