Sun setting over King Library

September 2014

Human Resources Lean Journey

Human Resources (HR) began its Lean journey in 2011. The department recognized very early that it was charged with a unique role and expectation for the adoption of Lean by the University. By setting institution-wide leadership expectations for its entire staff and coordinating and designing training that is the foundation for Lean, HR has been instrumental in the development and growth of a Lean culture throughout the University.

Several HR-led projects were important to the development of the continuous improvement culture that thrives within HR today. The Housing, Dining, Recreation and Business Services/Physical Facilities Employment Project shortened the time required to hire new employees for these operations, enhanced the match between employee skills and job requirements, increased diverse hiring, and improved efficiency while achieving a cost-avoidance of $10,000. The Student Employment Payroll Life Cycle Project shortened the delay in student paychecks by 21%, facilitated the hiring of student employees, grew the number of students who use direct deposit, improved the productivity for student time reporting by 50%, and generated a cost reduction of $10,000 and a cost avoidance of $10,800. The Automated Standard Work Project led to the adoption of standard work for workshop preparations resulting in a cost avoidance of $9,394. Overall, HR led projects have produced a cost avoidance of $531,500 and cost reductions totaling $42,030, for a combined project benefit of $573,530.

Not only has the HR department embraced the Lean philosophy through its involvement in projects geared towards process improvements, but it also is regularly called upon by departments from around the University and from organizations outside the University for Lean training and for its knowledge and expertise in organizational change. Some examples of training initiatives, spearheaded by the Staff Development Office and led by Becky Dysart, include the development of Lean Overview, Lean Overview Train the Trainer, Lean Orientation, 2-Day Lean Training and Kaizen Event Training. In addition, HR has been instrumental in the development of the MU-Lean Leader Certification & Development Program which provides ongoing leadership training for university employees and is critical to developing the University’s future Lean leaders. The Lean leader program is comprised of 100 hours of Lean-specific and soft-skill training, project participation and other leadership requirements. The Lean leaders developed through this program are helping to expand the Lean program at Miami University today and these experiences are preparing them for even greater leadership roles in the future. Currently, 86 people have entered the Lean certification program, with 28 having completed all requirements to become senior Lean leaders.

HR’s Lean journey is far from complete as it continues to embrace continuous improvement practices through 21 active projects. Future initiatives are also in the planning such as the development of new educational programs and coursework for employees and Lean leaders and national accreditation for the Lean coursework through the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

As Human Resources continues to build training and development programs in support of Lean processes at Miami, it is important to recognize that HR’s Lean journey was fully supported and aided by Carol Hauser, retired Associate Vice President of Human Resources. Carol was instrumental in the development of the University’s and the Human Resources Department’s Lean initiatives. These efforts were nationally recognized in the fall of 2013 when the Central Association of College & University Business Officers (CACUBO) awarded the University $1,500 and second place in its Best Practices competition for the submission, “Facing Challenging Times by Creating an Engaged Culture and Embracing System Change through Lean Methodologies,” prepared by Carol Hauser. While Carol is recently retired, the staff in the Human Resources Department remains committed to not only sustaining what Carol helped to establish but to strengthening the Lean culture at Miami University into the future.