Six Sigma Skills and Employability
Globalization opens the doors of opportunity for a nation to increase its development in political, social and economic sectors. It stimulates the growth of economy by providing more job opportunities, thus increasing the employment rate. Despite the increasing number of job vacancies, globalization also brings about competition among individuals who seek for jobs.
It is extremely crucial for employees to incorporate the skills needed in order to increase their potential of being hired. What are the skills that employers look for when hiring an individual? Does the certificates, educational background and working experience of an individual carry a higher value than interpersonal skills, time management and adaptability? The answer is, both hard skills and soft skills play an important role in increasing individuals’ job employment potential.
Here is a list of the most popular skills set that employers look for when hiring individuals.
Communication is essential in workplace to maintain strong working relationships between employees.
When it comes to skills and criteria employers seek for in individuals, communication is most likely at the top of the list. The ability to communicate with co-workers, superiors and staff is crucial, regardless the type of organization. Verbal communication which consists of spoken words and non-verbal skills such as gestures, eye contact and body languages are important in establishing connections in organizations. The combination of both verbal and non-verbal skills is the most effective which makes an individual a good communicator.
Communication promotes productivity and efficiency as well as resolves conflicts in an organization. Effective communication at the workplace is essential as it is one of the tools used to deal with errors and problems. Miscommunication frequently becomes the root of issues and conflicts that arise among employees and employers. As a result, harmony between them is disrupted.
Instructions and guidelines that are unclear contribute to errors and mistakes when executing tasks. Not only do they interrupt an individual’s work progress, they also interfere with the organization’s progress towards achieving its goals and objectives. Individuals who have good communication skills are able to interact with one another, understand their work and also responsibilities to ensure that they run smoothly.
In other words, communication holds the bond between the employers and employees and creates unity which helps organizations move forward. Individuals who are not only able to perform tasks but also communicate well are definitely on the employers’ checklist.
Are you a team player?
One of the qualities that is sought after by employers when hiring an individual is the capability to work with the coexisting employees.
‘Two heads are better than one’. Creativity is sparked when there are more ideas coming from individuals of different backgrounds and expertise. When people unite as a team, activities such as brainstorming and group sketching help team members offer various possible solutions to address issues.
Teamwork requires communication and collaboration between employers and employees which can lead to unity in an organization. Unity maintains harmony in organizations due to the presence of communication, resulting in a less conflict environment within the organization. In a working environment where individuals move together in unison towards specific goals, teamwork helps employees to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and possibly allow one another to compensate for each other’s shortcomings. Conflicts can also be reduced with the practice of teamwork because individuals set aside personal differences to obtain the same set of goals.
Individuals who incorporate teamwork as a part of their work ethic display the ability to communicate and cooperate well. It is certainly a skill that employers would want to have in individuals who work for their organizations.
- Persuasion and Negotiation Skills
Persuasion and negotiation skills resolve conflicts and encourage efficiency.
More often than not, people are prone to purchase or be involved in a deal if persuasion and negotiation takes place. These skills are not limited in sales and marketing but also in daily conversations that involve interactions. What attracts a person to purchase a product despite unreasonably high prices? What makes a person willing to accept an idea even though the idea seems unacceptable in their point of view?
People who practice persuasion and negotiation skills have the ability to influence others to understand and accept one’s ideas, beliefs and opinions and allow one to handle disputes professionally.
The art of persuasion is a skill listed among the top five soft skills employers need the most in individuals because having a good idea is pointless unless one is able to persuade others to agree with it. Employers also value negotiation skills due to their capability of forming agreements with others and reducing conflicts. Good negotiation skills allow one to have the ability to build better relationships with others, deliver lasting solutions to problems and avoid future problems and conflicts. These combined skills which are applicable in various fields and sectors makes them popular among the employers.
Are you tech-savvy enough?
Hard skills are the key to showcase one’s professional capability to conduct tasks efficiently. One of the popular hard skills these days is cloud computing. Cloud computing is the number one demanded skill in the list of ‘Most in-Demand Skills In 2019’ by LinkedIn. Cloud computing is a practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. It has gained the interest of the employers due to the increasing use of technology in today’s world. This hard skill requires individuals to have a good expertise in technology which proves that the demand for tech-savvy individuals is rather high.
The large percentage of internet users around the world, especially in Asia is an indication that the world is moving towards globalization. People are interested in convenience that is offered by the internet, powered by technology in this fast-paced world. Competing in this modern world where information is accessible with just a touch of a fingertip signifies the importance of technology in the world of job employment. Jobstreet.com has listed ‘technology-savvy’ as one of the skills that is attractive to the employers and it increases the percentage for individuals to be hired.
Tech-savvy individuals possess the ability to reach out to much wider areas of information and knowledge. In terms of marketing, they are able to extend their territories and have wider reach of target markets, which in turn, affects organizations positively. Being a tech-savvy individual also proves that one is able to keep up with the trend as a proactive individual that follows the growth of globalization. Employers love individuals who are passionate and have the drive to explore more opportunities and go to greater heights for the benefit of the organization.
Creativity allows an individual to explore endless possibilities.
LinkedIn places creativity as the soft skill that employers look for the most in 2019. This recent finding made by one of the world’s famous business and employment-oriented services shows that employers seek for individuals that are able to think out of the box and do not rely on standardized solutions to address issues.
IBM 2010 Global CEO Study also found that creativity is the most preferred criterion that leaders believe to be a factor for future success. Creativity contributes to innovation that helps organizations to stand out from the rest. Creative individuals are able to generate new ideas and introduce better problem-solving methods from different angles, making them valuable assets for organizations.
Employing creative individuals allows an imaginative approach to be implemented in an organizational structure. Aside from pushing the boundaries which makes it a desirable criterion that employers look for when recruiting individuals.
- Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma practitioners are in high demand in this era where employers need individuals who have the capabilities of improving an organization’s performance in various sectors.
Lean is a methodological approach to remove waste and concentrate on improving the processes by eliminating non-value added tasks. It allows cost reduction by eliminating needless steps that consume time and resources in both manufacturing and service processes.
The application of Lean allows the Voice of the Business which permits the characteristic of speed through Lean processes and operations.
Toyota is an example of a company that has successfully incorporated the Lean learning culture in their organizational structure. As a result, the global multinational automotive manufacturer has achieved immense growth over the past years.
Six Sigma is a quality improvement method that helps to reduce the amount of defective products and improve overall operational efficiency. The application of Six Sigma is by using a statistical tool to measure the quality of a product or service.
The Six Sigma includes DMAIC Cycle which is an acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.
Six Sigma allows the Voice of the Customer including customer’s inputs and preferences which facilitate the characteristics and the measure of quality.
Now that we understand what Lean and Six Sigma are, what is Lean Six Sigma?
Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma is the combination of both Lean and Six Sigma methodology which emphasises on two essential components of business processes. The implementation of Lean helps to eliminate waste and non-value adding activities while six sigma solves problems which result in increased revenue and greater customer satisfaction.
The combination of Lean and Six Sigma skills introduces the Voice of the Employee as a third voice. It brings about the employees’ feedback in which helps to motivate employees’ engagement and increases productivity and profit. Lean Six Sigma allows three voices which are the Voice of the Customer, the Voice of the Business and the Voice of the Employee.
The Application of Lean Six Sigma Skills
DMAIC, an integral part of Lean Six Sigma, is a problem-solving methodology which is used to improve processes. It is a well-defined process approach that consists of five phases which are Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.
Define phase identifies the problem statement and goals. It recognizes what the problem is and the possibility of solving it. A problem statement is developed to highlight the improvement that is needed by defining the measurable criteria or metrics. The goals are the direct reflection of the problem statement and they help to identify when the DMAIC implementation is considered as successful. Any improvement in the processes should be aligned with the goals set.
Measure is a phase where ‘Critical to Customer’s Quality’ (CTQ) is measured and the metrics are determined. Aside from measuring the current performance, it is also the phase where a problem or any improvement that should be made is mapped out in detail. The focus is to quantify the problem and establish the baseline data.
During the analyze phase, root causes of the problems are identified. It is a crucial step as it determines the next step that needs to be taken in order to solve the problems. By paying attention to the primary cause of the problem, correct solutions can be implemented. It saves time as well as resources.
From the previous phase, solutions are made and tested during this phase. Activities such as brainstorming takes place to generate solutions and are tested by conducting a pilot. Data collected from the ‘Improve’ phase are compared to baseline data that have been developed during the ‘Measure’ phase to identify for room of improvements.
The improvements identified are captured and documented in order to maintain the solutions of the problem. The process needs to be managed and monitored properly.
Lean Six Sigma Roles
Lean Six Sigma has six roles in which each role is obtained by receiving different level of trainings. Each role is important in striving for success and selecting the right Six Sigma role can help organizations to reach out for their goals and objectives.
The Lean Six Sigma roles are white belt, yellow belt, green belt, black belt, master black belt and champion.
Here are some examples of companies which have applied Lean-Six Sigma and achieved great results!
- Al-Mawarid managed to increase daily meat production by 25%
Al-Mawarid is a part of the Gulf Resources Meat Companies located in Kuwait which runs a meat processing plant which processes beef, lambs and chicken. The issue of the company was that production processes which were not smooth due to the overload of products in the processes and high daily operational costs. By using Lean Six Sigma, the company managed to increase its meat production from 1, 800 kg/d to 2, 250 kg/d.
- Lean Six Sigma skills helped to improve flexibility, robustness, cost-efficiency and agility of Ericsson Group.
A case study was conducted on one of the production facilities in Ericsson Group, where the study focused on the assembly and testing processes of the MINI-LINK production line. The application of Lean Six Sigma resulted in improvements in various aspects including lead-time and time for repair process. The working environment had also improved with reduced stress among employees and a cheerful working atmosphere. Lean Six Sigma strategy ensures more flexible, robustness and cost-efficient processes over time.
Lean Six Sigma methodology can positively impact individuals’ careers in the future as they are able to possess the knowledge to improve business processes, reduce costs while increasing the quality that is required by organizations. It is also applicable in any industry which makes it flexible and adaptable to any organizations.