Sunday, February 02, 2014

Business Growth Linked to Employee Engagement

In ASQ's most recent Manufacturing Outlook survey nearly 46% of global respondents say the economy continues to be the biggest hurdle to operations, while 18% said the shortage of skilled workers is the biggest challenge they foresee in 2014. Smart manufacturing, defined as “the integration of network-based data and information that provides real-time understanding, reasoning, planning, management and related decision making of all aspects of a manufacturing and supply chain enterprise" is slowly gaining momentum and credibility in industry.

Similarly, The Conference Board conducts an annual CEO Challenge survey. The 2014 CEO Challenge reveals that today's CEOs are cautiously optimistic about the global economy and are turning their attention to leadership development, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, innovation, brand management and culture change - all aided by the use of big data - for improved business performance.

According to the 2014 CEO Challenge, CEOs around the world are more focused on their business performance , and rank big data analytics as their number one "hot-button" issue. Big data analytics are seen as a unique opportunity linking employee skills development and organizational culture to improved competitiveness, productivity and business success. The use of big data provides the CEO with greater insights to the synergistic benefits of leadership, strategic planning, hoshin kanri, project management, PDCA and the balanced scorecard.  As a result, CEOs become more aware and willing to re-evaluate their organization's culture in order to improve customer focus, employee engagement,  personal accountability, and organizational agility for distinct competitive advantage. Hence, Human Capital is the number one CEO challenge in Asia and Europe, and number two in the United States and Latin America. A talented, engaged workforce and a diverse leadership team are imperative to innovation and superior customer experience.

The adoption of Six Sigma as a leadership development tool has dramatically increased the use of data by senior leaders and executives to make better business decisions. Big Data analytics is the next, natural progression of the use of data to improve organizational performance. I am reminded of W. Edward Deming's System of Profound Knowledge, his 14 Points for Management, and the principles of statistical thinking whereby the knowledge and management of variation are keys to success.