implementing better workforce solutions with Six Sigma

February 4, 2015

embracing DMAIC can result in vastly improved process efficiencies

When it comes to implementing a workforce solution, many project management methods fail not because they don’t add value but because measuring effectiveness or quantifying the value added is difficult. However, incorporating a Six Sigma approach may resolve this dilemma as it is uniquely driven by a close understanding of an employer’s needs and the use of facts, analysis, and diligent attention to manage, improve, and reinvent business processes.

One of the most renowned metrics available in Six Sigma, known for its proven ability to systematically improve program efficiencies, is DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control). A closer look will explain how it can improve the efficiencies of workforce solutions.

Define. From a business perspective, optimizing the hiring process can be extremely complex and challenging. In an outsourced recruitment relationship, the most effective way of meeting all stakeholders’ expectations is through VoC (voice of customer). As a first step to understanding the needs of hiring managers, conduct a due diligence and collect relevant information to proactively meet their requirements. For a typical workforce solution program, the critical questions to ask in determining the stakeholder needs and their relative importance and measurable CTQs (critical to quality) are:

  • What are the top five issues or pain points you currently face? Rate the criticality of those on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • Which stages of the recruitment process is critical to you? Rate the criticality of the process on the same scale.
  • How would you define the factors to measure the performance, and how do you know if your expectations are not met?
  • Collect recruitment data, attritions, hires made, sources of hires, and skill discipline from the past 12 months.
  • What is the organization’s talent management strategy and employer value proposition to attract the best talent?

Measure. The next step is to fully understand the due diligence data collected and identify how to best measure current performance. The results from the VoC should be structured into the detailed “as-is” process and identify the performance measurement criteria or service level agreements (SLAs), which typically includes but are not limited to:

  • How long it takes to source candidates from various channels and which is the most effective
  • How long it takes to arrange an interview with the hiring manager?
  • How often the candidate could be selected during the first interview round?
  • How long it takes to extend an offer to candidate?
  • How often the candidate agreed to the initial compensation offer

Analyze. At the beginning of this phase, the implementation team conducts a process analysis. Processes are the functional steps that enable the teams to define the necessary steps of the end-to-end recruitment. Document the existing process in detail to help the team identify existing problems and potential causes of failures.

Standardizing processes can deliver significant benefits and contribute to improving the overall experience. An ideal workflow should have a context that dynamically adapts to business rules and eliminates process wastes. Wherever needed, incorporate Lean philosophy, which is a powerful concept of Six Sigma that keeps the team focused on streamlining workflow and eliminating waste.

Improve. The improvement phase is predominantly the implementation phase starting with planning tasks and subtasks in detail – planning when, where, and who is involved and allocating the resources needed. In today’s world, both content and technology will be a major part of the solution. Technology can deliver significant ROI in cost savings and time-to-fill, improvements in quality of hire, and a robust pipeline of candidates.

Almost every stakeholder group is involved in this stage including internal stakeholders. The focus is to implement process improvements, define talent and sourcing strategies, establish account structure, and bring the supply chain mechan anism. The key objective is to enable the operational teams with robust workflows and artifacts obtained from best practices.

Besides workflows and processes, key to ongoing program success is to design an appropriate dashboard. The dashboard supports key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure expectations are monitored and reported.

Control. Control measures are all about ownership and monitoring, which sets upper and lower control limits, and the evaluation of program results. After the project is closed, document the results of key learnings – what was learned and what could have been better executed. Remember, what is measured will receive attention. So even after the program has been implemented, if someone does not own and continually monitor results, many improvements will be lost.

Continuous improvements
Finally, the lessons learned by various teams involved during implementation should be shared to further enhance processes. This is an essential part of Six Sigma called Kaizen – a philosophy where the teams strive for continuous improvement by evaluating both process and results. It ensures that your recruitment process is never static and continually adheres to current best practice for the best talent acquisition outcome. 

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