Benefits Administration

Lean Six Sigma Expert Talks About eBenefits’ Dedication to Work Efficiency and Leadership

Workplace time efficiency and commitment to quality can be difficult to manage and improve within an organization. It can be extremely tough to have a comprehensive plan that puts these strategies into action.

Many organizations have dedicated human resources (HR) technologies and groups to improve the way they are organized—from leaders to all levels of personnel—as a response to this obstacle. We sat down with Eric Bakow, a Lean Six Sigma program director, to find out how eBenefits redefined its organization and platform using Lean Six Sigma best practices. Lean Six Sigma is a process to improve the flow of work that reduces defects and improves cycle time efficiency.

How does Lean Six Sigma fit into groups like HR that are already so busy?

It all starts with leadership, and the leadership group within eBenefits is very good in terms of prioritizing quality and process improvement—and that’s essential. Otherwise, you don’t improve. You’re static. There are lots of quality techniques that can be used. Lean Six Sigma is just one of many.

How important is quality and efficiency in organizations?

Quality and efficiency go hand in hand, and so our goal for Lean Six Sigma and other improvement strategies is to do two things. One is to reduce variation in a process so that work flows very smoothly. The second one is to remove waste. Wait time and continually correcting errors (defects) are sources of variation, and we do things better and more quickly when we take those out of the process.

What is the role of technology in process improvement? How do you know if a piece of technology is helping your efficiency?

Sometimes technology platforms don’t allow for a lot of change or modification, and sometimes they do. Using eBenefits allows us to get data from the platforms, look at that data, and then once we’re able to identify a source as a variation, we fix it and fix it to root cause. That’s important. So, it’s not that this problem occurs, it’s why does it occur. We find out why it occurs, correct it, and follow up with other sources of data to make sure we’ve done the right thing.

Can you explain the importance of quality and efficiency in relation to production goals?

HR departments are very busy. We know that. They’re asked to do more every day with the limited resources that they already have. But, if you don’t attend to quality, you get busy doing things that don’t turn out good products. I really wanted to stress the leadership commitment of eBenefits because it’s unusual to have senior leaders commit to a program and attend the program almost every week, unless there may be other time sensitive tasks that require immediate leadership involvement. We meet on a weekly basis, and we meet for hours. To do that is highly unusual. Lean Six Sigma is a powerful tool that complements eBenefits’ skills and efficient programs to develop a more efficient and productive workplace.