Study Shows Most Companies Strive for and Reward Quality Improvement

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<strong>Seattle &mdash; March 12</strong><br />Want to increase the quality of your work experience? Simple. Help your company get better in almost any area, from improving interactions with customers to making projects run more efficiently. According to a recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), quality management issues are front and center in most organizations &mdash; and innovation is rewarded.<br /><br />The study drew responses from 231 organizations and showed that 85 percent of companies use quality management/continuous-improvement programs and policies, and the majority have reward programs in place for employees who contribute. Of the polled companies, 82 percent reported that they benchmark quality achievements, and 73 percent reward quality-related innovative ideas and programs. Rewards range from cash bonuses to promotions and special recognition programs.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve come a long way since the days when quality was mainly geared toward manufacturing processes,&rdquo; said Jay Jamrog, senior vice president of research at i4cp. &ldquo;Now, companies understand that quality is crucial everywhere, from the HR function to the customer relationship desk.&rdquo;<br /><br />Instead of just targeting the improvement of products, services or processes, about two-thirds of respondents said their companies also have programs aimed at more employee-centric issues such as &ldquo;working conditions/job quality&rdquo; and &ldquo;project management/improvement.&rdquo; Almost 60 percent of respondents said they use these strategies to improve their contact with customers.<br /><br />When it comes to tools used for quality improvement, 42 percent use Total Quality Management, followed by Six Sigma (33 percent), Lean (24 percent) and a hybrid of Six Sigma and Lean (22 percent). However, companies appear unclear on ownership of the training process. Of the respondents, just 56 percent said they use their HR departments to conduct training for quality tools.<br /><br />The Quality Management &ldquo;Taking the Pulse&rdquo; Survey was conducted by i4cp, in conjunction with HR.com, in February 2008.<br />

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