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It is important to understand the word KAIZEN. Although Kaizen is defined in English as "Continual (& not
continuous) Improvement", it is much more than the word signify. Kaizen is a way of life, an attitude, a spirit,
that prevails at all times in an organization. It is said by Mr.Masaaki Imai that Kaizen is for "Everyone (all
employees, managers included), Everyday (not like a month end sales promotion.....but a way of life) and
Everywhere (all departments - not restricted to the shop floor).
The third principle of Kaizen itself says ENGAGE PEOPLE (People involvement/People development at all
levels). Traditional manufacturing was based on separating planning from production. However Kaizen thinking
strives to utilize its human potential to the maximum by involving all from Executive to the Chairman.
Gap exists in all areas/departments or industries and Kaizen helps in driving the change for good.
In a nutshell, the entire body of work of KAIZEN focuses on:
1. Identifying
2. Reducing and
3. Eliminating the three enemies of competitiveness which are Muda (Waste - there are 8 kinds of wastes found
in any organization/department), Mura
(Variability), Muri (burden/strain)
These three enemies causes obstruction to FLOW of both materials and information within a shop floor,
within an enterprise, across an industrial sector, within an ecomony and between economies. Thus, this concept
applies at all levels and needs to be addressed at all levels.


Lack of Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting & Budgeting

No standards for following targets which leads to directionless journey
No team spirit and that creates divide which leads to unaccomplished tasks
Blaming each other
Communication gap (No proper channel or structure for information flow)
Delegation of work is not done leading to delay in decision making and resulting in delayed delivery.
(Employee empowerment missing)
Too complicated structure to work (No transparency)
No process follow ups
Procrastination of activities (Time bound targets are unavailable)


Kaizen has a wide applicability in HR Processes. Kaizen literally means "Continuous Improvement". As such it
involves continuously assessing the output of processes and the efficiency of processes in keeping with the
Service Level Agreements.
Some ways to track process outputs and create improvements could be:
1. Assess and analyse the extent and types of escalations / complains over a peroid of time. Do not jump to
conclusions and try and create changes.

2. Assess the time taken to complete a single instance under normal conditions and observe if it is meeting your
time constraint.
3. Examine the output and see if it is meeting the quality levels assured to the customer. E.g. does a HR report
presented to a manager contain all data requested for ?
4. Deliberately, use controlled conditions and test in possible worse case scenarios. (Eg. Operator / Person not
available, system down/error etc.)
5. Test using faster communication methods e.g. E-Mail instead of Post or Phone instead of a communicator
chat. This helps improve time taken.
6. Eliminate redundant activities (E.g. Cross Checking at two levels, unnecessary signatures, approvals deemed
granted etc.). This can help shorten the process time.
7. Avoid employee movement. Instead of having an employee come to another location to submit a requisition
or collect a form, have it e-mailed or faxed instead at his/her location. A process that minimizes employee's
movement, leads to better and productive time utilization for the employee and avoids crowds at the HR Desk.
Use a ticketing system where possible (Though a costly resource...)
8. Have an entire team trained in multiple processes. This ensures that the absence of one or two does not bring
an entire system down
9. Every process should have an efficient complaint redressal system. Having a non performing process and
further an ineffective complaint redressal is simply like pouring fuel over fire.
10. Have a good authentication system in every process. E.g. an employee asking for a bonafide certificate,
which in turn may be used to secure a faulty loan reflects badly on the company. Instead a simple declaration in
the form of an E-Mail of the intent / purpose of every certificate desired would help
Ultimately, in the spirit of Kaizen and in the words of quality Guru Deming, "continously improve the system
and process..."