Rewards

by Taylor Jones
(Michigan)

Do staff members in Japan expect a reward if a Lean action was successful?

Answer: Quite simply, no. Lean or Kaizen actions are practiced with a positive mind set in Japan. The reward for staff is a shared sense of success and fulfillment. Also, after a good kaizen has been done, work gets easier and /or safer. We once overheard in a factory, "I do Kaizen because I want to, not because I have to."

A culture of continuous improvement is a powerful force for employee motivation.

It should be noted that companies do tend to award small reward money to staff who have introduced a successful kaizen. The amount is usually the equivalent of between US$20 - US$200. These token rewards are presented at annual meetings where staff are officially recognized for their contribution to the success and growth of the company.

We at Process Improvement Japan believe that this recognition, rather than a monetary reward, is a very important element for fostering employee motivation and total participation.

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Mar 26, 2011
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Interesting, but how do they do it so well?
by: Jake

I get what you`re saying, but how do they get high levels of employee motivation and participation in the first place. The Japanese have a very impressive disciplined workforce. The first step for us was establishing morale in our workplace and respect. After that, a rewards system was just a logical progression of that. The issue we are having is managing the momentum of good Kaizen suggestions.

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