Employee Motivation & Total Participation

By Angela M. Corriero

Employee motivation and total participation go hand in hand.

It has been well established through research and experience that people need a purpose in order to feel engaged in what they are doing. In this way, the company`s and employee`s needs are aligned. Total participation means that all employees actively participate in the success of the company. Total participation is not only a profitable strategy, it is also a motivating and purpose-filled one. Employee motivation remains high in organizations that effectively implement total participation.

Special consideration: total participation is essential, however, it has been our experience that it is often managers that have difficulty in implementing this new way of management. Total participation in process improvement and kaizen means that the answers or process improvement ideas come from subordinates. And the subordinates are recognized for their contributions. This is very empowering and uplifting for the employees and the company. That`s ok in theory, but in reality, some managers have difficulty in loosening the reigns and encouraging and mentoring their staff members rather than trying to maintain full control. Please consider the emotional and human aspects of transitioning to a total participation system.

Employee contribution and Company success

"Reinvent or die. Companies must ensure that their employees are ready for the future." said Honda President Takanobue Ito to his staff in Japan. He asked his employees to think about the role the company`s domestic operations can and should play in the future. His message was that Honda will be unable to keep paying its employees in Japan more than those in emerging coutnries - unless more value is created in Japan through the development of competitive new technologies and methodologies. All staff members must be active in adding value to the organization. Total participation is key to the survival of Honda Japan.

A model of total participation

Kirin Brewery Co. is considered a model firm in Japan`s beer industry. The current president, Koichi Matsuzawa has a unique and effective management style. He says he developed his management philosophy from his long experience in the plant.After working in the management division of Kirin`s technology development departement, Mastsuzawa was appointed head of the brewing division at the firm`s Kyoto brewery in 1989. He managed 90 people at the production site and personally cleaned 20 - 30 tanks by hand each day. During this time, he became keenly aware of the difficulty of having to follow instructions from top management to a T. Headquarters did not seem to understand the realities of the production site, where things changed daily. Matsuzawa felt that having production people communicate with each other, think up ways to improve things and resolve problems one by one was the key to helping the company move forward. That belief remains unshakable even now that he has become president. He visited 40 plants and sales locations in 2010 and spoke with 1500 people on the employees front lines. Listening to staff, understanding the current realities on the front lines and giving respect. - the essence of total participation and employee motivation.

Return from Employee Motivation and Total Participation to Total Quality Management

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