Posted by: Knightbird | May 30, 2010

Lean Human Resources

One of our successful Kaizen tackled the recruitment recruitment process for new employees. When I started working at Chugachmiut, we did not have a human resource department. One of my future executives ( she was promoted later) did what she could to help us in hiring new employees and managing our benefits programs. We realized we needed a professional, so one of our first hires was a Human Resource Manager. The recruitment process in place at the time I started required the Executive Director to approve a position description. That approval was followed by another approval form  authorizing staff to start the actual recruitment process. When the advertising copy was drafted and returned from the newspaper, I had to approve the advertising. Then I had to approve the purchase order to pay for the advertising. Then I received copies of all of the resumes that came in response to the recruitment. Finally, a rating matrix showed up and I was asked to rank the applicants and invited to sit in on the interviews. I realized that the time I spend in the recruitment process was wasteful and really slowed us down. It took me about 4 months come to this realization and delegate this process to the manager who was doing the hiring. We didn’t measure the delay that all of this work I was doing (all of it waste in my view) added to the recruitment process.

When we reviewed this process through a Kaizen, the current state was amazing. It was taking us about 124 days on average (work days) to recruit a candidate. Often the candidate had already accepted another job and we had work our way down the list of candidates that remained. This meant we were not getting the best candidates for our positions, and had to settle for what was left. We often had to repeat the recruitment because no suitable candidates were available. Sometimes we didn’t follow through with the recruitment. And sometimes we would find out about a new employee only when they submitted a time card to get paid. Imagine the problems this caused.

In visioning the future state, we found that we could actually get to a recruitment period of around 33 days. One of our greatest time savings came from putting together a new recruitment check list. This list had every question a hiring manager needed to answer before going to HR for the recruitment. The process went down from two weeks plus to about 5 or so minutes. Another time savings came from setting an interview week in advance. It had been difficult to chase down members of the interview team for a time slot. We decided that the team who was available at the time for the interview would conduct the interview, and the rest of the team would have to trust them to make the hiring decision.

We have continued to improve many other parts of human resources management, but this first HR Kaizen taught us a lot.


  1. I have finally looked at the blog “Kaizen Daily.” It is humorous, but nothing lean about the care she is receiving, to the best of my observation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: