A gemba walk is usually recognized as a walkthrough meant to observe employees and ask them questions about their tasks to determine productivity gains. But, there are still more to this approach. Read on to understand more about gemba walks.
A Good Gemba Practice
Gemba walk is the act of seeing where the actual work gets done. It is an approached conducted by supervisors, leaders, managers to promote continuous improvement. A good Gemba Walk involves performing the employee observation in the actual workplace, taking note of the processes done, getting insights from employees and learning from them as well as asking methods which work well and those that don’t. The walk should not be the time to criticize; instead, to see what is happening. Also, it provides the opportunity to take note of great ideas, complaints, feedbacks, and problems in the workplace.
How to Conduct an Effective Gemba Walk
Following up on the pieces of information collected is important to keep things on track. Below are some tips to carry out a gemba walk effectively:
- Focus on areas with key performance indicators (KPIs). Gemba walks make it easier to recognize opportunities for improvement. These are areas must be prioritized. Use improvement charts as a basis for collecting data. Also, determine your target employees or audience.
- Schedule the walk. Avoid doing the walk unplanned. You want to ensure your employees are comfortable with the approach first. Scheduling your gemba walk and informing the concerned employees about it is a better idea. Think about doing it once every week in every department for around forty-five minutes.
- Ask important questions. This will result in interactive sessions with your employees and help in building a positive relationship between employees and managers. Asking the right questions will help you know where the gaps are.
- Take the time to learn and show respect. Business leaders and managers should manifest the proper attitude while doing the gemba walk. Keep in mind that approach is about the process and not about the employees. Do not give suggestions or share personal views. Instead, stays focused and learn new things from the employees’ insights.
Aside from being a data collection process, a gemba walk is an effective initiative for fostering teamwork. When you implement this activity, you will be able to record what is happening in the workplace or determine the processes that work and those that don’t. Also, this helps develop a good working relationship between you and other employees as you learn insights from them and they feel appreciated for being heard.