Supporting the University's Robust Employer-Employee strategic theme and Excellence Canada initiative, Lean methodology provides a consistent framework and set of tools for improving processes. It is founded on the principles of continuous improvement and respect for people, and empowers employees in finding solutions around inefficient processes.
In the 2017 Share Showcase, put on by High Performance Solutions & Consortium (HPSC), University of Waterloo Lean leaders took home first place, winning the Best Practice award. The Share Showcase is an all-day-event featuring presentations from 18 cross-organizational teams across 4 consortiums who have implemented Lean methodologies to improve processes. The University of Waterloo team presented improvements made to the staff approval to recruit process at Waterloo, using a Star Wars theme to add flare to their presentation. The Lean team illustrated the lengthy approval to recruit process that required several levels of approval and manual signatures, and significantly delayed hiring.
As a first step towards improvement, a visual representation of the approval to recruit process, listing every step from start to finish (a process map), was documented and issues were identified; including the type and number of approvals required. Opportunities for improvement were identified and metrics were captured; such as the time to complete the entire process and waiting time between steps. With all of this information, a future-state process map was created and eight wastes (inefficiencies or unnecessary tasks) were identified.
A future-state process was defined and has now been implemented. The average time, from the beginning of the approval to recruit process to the end, went from 99 days to an average of 7.39 days. The time to complete actual steps went from an average of 8.4 hours to 6.9 hours. The number of Provost approvals was reduced by 77%, and the number of times a position went through the approval cycle was reduced from 3 times to 1.
If you would like to learn more about Lean at Waterloo, please visit the Lean site. You can also contact Kimberley Snage, Director, HR Projects, Technology & Analytics, internal Lean consortium lead, or Marilyn Thompson, Associate Provost, Human Resources, Executive Sponsor.