Fourteen staff members in the Office of Human Resources (OHR) recently celebrated becoming Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Certified Green Belts by hosting a poster board session in Craig Hall on April 6. The session allowed the 14 LSS participants from OHR to discuss their projects and experiences in completing Green Belt certification with various groups and across the University.
Lean Six Sigma is a combination of two process improvement methods that streamline organizational and operational processes and solve problems: Lean, a methodical approach to streamline processes, eliminate waste and deliver value to customers; and Six Sigma, a method of efficiently solving a problem.
Over the course of six months, 20 participants (14 from OHR and six from business and operations) took part in educational trainings and retreats where they learned how to effectively apply Lean Six Sigma methodology by using software applications, holding Kaizen events and getting a deeper understanding of the many processes that take place at the University.
Projects Aim to Find Solutions to Improve University Processes
Either by working individually or on a team, participants identified a University process to take on as a case project, using their newly found LSS process knowledge. Participants explored how to make their chosen process leaner by implementing effective automated solutions or by finding ways to reduce internal cycle time. Their training culminated by taking an extension exam and, for some, presenting their proposed process solutions to various University leadership teams.
“Going through the LSS Green Belt certification made me look at processes, both at work and at home, in a different way,” said Kristen Korbich, functional lead in OHR. Korbich worked with Michelle Fullem, OHR project manager, on their project, Value Added Benefits of Retention which helps identify at what point in their employment employees leave the University and why they decide to do so.
“Identifying these reasons (why employees leave) could help us retain talent and reduce the money spent on recruiting and training replacements moving forward,” explained Korbich.
Jason Killmeyer, project and data manager in the Office of Human Resources and an LSS participant, said that taking on a work-related project as part of the LSS training made the concepts and methodology more relatable and easier to apply.
“It’s exciting to envision the possibilities to apply the concepts we learned to our future work,” said Killmeyer. “It’s great to see how Lean Six Sigma can be used in the higher education and service sectors.”
He also said he thought that he was provided with a great support structure in the leadership team, which included Greg Scott, senior vice chancellor of business and operations; Cheryl Johnson, vice chancellor of human resources; LSS instructor and consultant Rick Schleusener; and fellow LSS participants.
Said Johnson: “The Lean Six Sigma participants exhibited grit and tremendous perseverance. This opportunity doesn’t just expand their educational portfolio; the University also benefits by having more streamlined, time efficient and cost-effective processes. Their contributions will culminate into a more favorable employee experience. I am enthusiastic about the expertise and guidance they will share with the University community."