This month, we are featuring Process Improvement. As you prepare for a new year, an important measure of success can be making sure your internal processes are running efficiently. Here are some guidelines on how to make Process Improvement a successful incentive plan measure.
Ensure current processes are efficient and well documented and that managers understand these processes and can use them effectively.
WHEN TO USE THIS MEASURE
Use this measure when you want to encourage employees and managers to focus on improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of departmental systems and processes. This measure is often considered a precursor to a full-fledged service measure as it is necessary to ensure the department is functioning efficiently before it can provide excellent service to customers or other departments.
Performance on this measure can be quantitative or subjective depending on the nature of the process. If the process involves manufacturing, then the obvious factors of volume, quality and timeliness apply. If the process involves service, then it is likely that success will be more subjective. When measuring service-oriented processes, volume, quality and timelines remain relevant, but instead of being determined empirically, results will depend on input from those using and benefitting from the process (i.e., customers, users, managers, peers, colleagues, and subordinates.)
HOW TO USE THIS MEASURE
When Process Improvement involves subjective elements, it is useful to think of it as a six-part process:
Part 1 -- Determine the necessary/desired improvements.
Part 2 -- Develop a detailed plan for implementing the desired/necessary improvements.
Part 3 -- Get the plan approved by whomever will be judging its ultimate success.
Part 4 -- Implement the plan.
Part 5 -- Communicate improvements to users in writing and/or face-to face training as appropriate.
Part 6 –- Determine if desired improvements have actually occurred.
Each of these six parts should be included in a well-designed incentive plan measure and associated goals. For example, Threshold could be achieving Parts 1 & 2, Target could be achieving Parts 3 & 4, and Outstanding could be achieving Parts 5 & 6.
WHO IS THIS MEASURE BEST FOR?
This measure can be used virtually anywhere since every department, regardless of its purpose and size, has processes that can always be optimized.
CAN THIS MEASURE BE GAMED?
If you follow the recommendations above, there is little concern that this measure might be gamed or abused in some manner.