How do we motivate workers to take ownership for quality?
Robert from the Dallas area asked a question on the Linked In / AME Group, What are the best ways to motivate workers to take ownership for quality in their processes? (LINK) He further inquired: “Assuming that the workers do actually know how to make a good product, what are some activities or methods of helping them to "take over" responsibility of the outputs of their respective processes?” The comments that followed were insightful and well written such as the sample of excerpts that follow without attribution. “We must make sure that the process and product is clearly defined first and workable standards are in place and understood. Too often this is not the case and quality fails as much through ignorance than lack of engagement the Operators to feel ownership for the process is the best way to motivate.” “As said before, most of the quality issues are caused by the process. In order to motivate people to take ownership for the quality of their products you should listen to what they say about the quality issues they encounter every day. But listening is not enough, you need also to show them that you understood what they say, by starting fixing the problems.” “Give them the opportunity to propose solutions and, if possible, give them even the chance to implement and test their own solutions (the QCC circles are a good example of people's involvement in solving quality issues).” “Still too many comments focus on "them" the workers. The "them" must be everyone in the organization. Good process and tools first, then good training, people support systems installed and top management taking an active role in the quality system.” All these comments circled around TWI but no one mentioned it so, of course, I had to and contributed the following: “TWI JI or Training Within Industry Job Instruction - it seems to me - offers a formalized system for involving all levels in production in the ownership of the quality of the product. First the system asks the operators how they do their work. The resulting, agreed upon "best way" Job Instructions are then used to train everyone who does that job. This involves the operator (ownership) and removes variability from the process.” As I continued to read the comments I couldn’t help but be amazed that so few offered any concrete suggestions for activities or methods, most offered platitudes. I don’t mean to be critical but maybe that’s a reason why we continue to ask questions like Robert’s. Steve Grossman, Director