by Taylor Jones
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.