Using Lean Six Sigma to Create HR Bandwidth

HR leaders are continually looking to accomplish more with less, especially with the wave of experienced HR professionals leaving the workforce. Companies are finding success using basic Lean Six Sigma principles to create bandwidth.

Recent anecdotal accounts related to the struggle to find strong HR talent are backed up by statistics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs categorized under Human Resources Manager will grow 9% by 2026, which is 2% greater than the average projected growth of all jobs in the U.S.

But there is also a projected decline in labor force participation for all workers (age 16 and over) from its historical peak of 67.1% in 2000 to its projected decline of 61.0% in 2026.  It’s clear that HR and benefits departments will be challenged to find the resources necessary to meet business objectives.

“Our clients are asking the questions – how can we be more efficient, more responsive, more effective and deliver more value to our business without adding to staff?” says Nancy Pokorny, a Principal with Findley.  “It’s a perfect time to review people, process and technologies,” added Pokorny who is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

In fact, one Findley client recently gained 112 hours of bandwidth (on a single project) using the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC approach to identify opportunities for process improvement and automation. That’s nearly three solid weeks of one person’s time that could be reallocated to more strategic endeavors.

Pokorny cautions that there is an art to utilizing Lean Six Sigma principles and tools to optimize HR impact and efficiency, and it’s important to avoid creating a process that is overly engineered and unnecessarily complex.

“The key is to focus on using the tools that get to the heart of the matter quickly such as DMAIC, Ishikawa (Fishbone) Diagram, Root Cause Analysis and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA),” shared Pokorny. “Simpler is better, and the Lean mindset can provide a concise way to organize information and identify potential solutions. Organizations can then develop more efficient in-sourced or out-sourced solutions, which can help to alleviate the talent gap.”

For detailed information on how one company improved bandwidth using Lean Six Sigma, view the Findley Proof case study.

Questions? Contact the Findley consultant you normally work with, or contact Nancy Pokorny at or 216.875.1939.

Posted August 21, 2018

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