Employing Continuous Improvement as a Means to Engage the Disengaged

Noel Hennessy: Continuous Improvement Director, Lake Region Medical.

How to deal with the 62% of people who potentially suck the energy out of your business was a central component of Noel Hennessy’s doctorate and presentation.

Over the course of 4 years and 50 hours of interviews he sought to establish if there was a link between continuous improvement and employee engagement?

New data clearly shows that twice as many people reported to be disengaged as engaged within organisations.

In looking for the answer Noel dug deep into Social Exchange theory which centers on constantly weighing up risk and reward.  This led to the 3 main objectives of his research.

Noel found clear evidence of social exchange within continuous improvement with employees articulating the importance of trust/obligation and respect.  He also found that a close connection with managers has a deep impact on their connection with the organisation.

So if it exists what are the catalysts that enable it? Noel highlighted some key areas including:

  • Leaders providing resources to get things done, direction, emotional support, (people need someone else to believe in them).
  • People  should be able to influence their own working environment.
  • Employee recognition is a huge factor builds loyalty, trust and making a connection.
  • Personal development opportunity – showcase their skills, show potential, achieve ambition.

Some of the impacts of continuous improvement can lead to powerful transformations and range from pride, a greater understanding of the organisation and people pulling together to get things done.

In finishing up Noel shared his key takeaways:

  • Continuous improvement is a perfect way to engage employees and results in more satisfaction and a greater contribution to the organisation.

However the benefits also extend to the managers who find continuous improvement can:

  • Break down barriers
  • Gain new advocates
  • Develop loyalty and trust
  • Develop new skills