Lean Human Resources Workshop

Leapers DiscussingThere is enormous potential in applying lean management to Human Resources Management (HRM). When done correctly, it will introduce stability, develop people and bring about a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organisation. The Lean Human Resources Workshop has been developed to introduce HRM professionals to lean management and train them to apply lean management in their department.

The Lean HR workshop is run on demand. If you are interested in attending, please register your interest using the form below. We will alert you as soon as the next workshop date is confirmed.

Why combine lean and human resources management?

Organisations that strive to continuously improve through the application of lean techniques must place Human Resources Management (HRM) at the centre of their lean management programmes. The lean HR workshop has been developed to guide organisations in applying lean to HRM.

work /wǝrk/ noun:

1. The addition of complex labour to raw material in order to create value.

While the above definition of work would be easier to interpret in industrial settings, it can be applied in other contexts too. This definition highlights the central role of Human Resources Management in building a lean management system that creates value for customers. HRM in a mature lean organisation develops people differently than in traditional management systems.

Human Resources in a lean organisation has three key roles:

  1. Stabilisation of the work environment. This includes the day-to-day work, such as maintaining good industrial relations, managing daily work, maintaining a healthy and safe environment, and transactional HR duties.
  2. Developing people. In a lean organisation, this is not simply skills training. Developing people is much broader, and is about total people development from their skills and competencies to their wellbeing and attitudes.
  3. Productivity and continuous improvement. This goes to the heart of lean in people management. Managing productivity and continuous improvement means creating an environment for people to work better and more productively. It is about creating an organisational value system that appreciates the potential of people and ensuring that their systems and processes are structured to optimise the ongoing value of this potential.

The Lean Human Resources Workshop:

The workshop combines presentations with group work and the exploration of an on-site case study of application of lean management to HRM. The workshop will cover:

Day 1:

  • Introduction to lean and the DNA of a lean organisation.
  • How to apply lean principles to HRM.
  • Introducing the 3 components of lean HRM:
    • Workforce stability
    • People development
    • Productivity management
  • Introduction to the case study.

Day 2:

  • “Gemba walk” – an opportunity to go and see how the case study company is applying lean management in HRM.
  • Report back, questions and reflections with head of HRM at the case study company.
  • Group work to discuss applying lean management to participants own HRM departments.
  • Report back from individuals on their thinking and guidance from course facilitators.
  • Summary of workshop

The Facilitators:

Thapelo MolapoThapelo Molapo is Toyota South Africa’s former Vice President of HR and Training. Thapelo spent 6 years at Toyota in the above position through which he gained vast experience in the daily application of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and the Toyota Business Practice (TBP). In 2013 Thapelo received the Global HR Leadership award from the World HRD Congress as well as the IPM HR Director of the year award. Thapelo founded Molapo Industries in 2013 and is its current CEO. He is also, among other roles, the Chairman of the Automobile Manufacturers’ Employer Organisation, Member of the Governing Board of MerSETA and member of the Council of the University of Venda – appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training.

Roeland Vertriest

Roeland Vertriest is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sataaya. Prior to taking on this role he was the Senior Vice President of Strategic Services in Liberty Mutual’s Corporate HR and Administration group where he launched the global operational excellence program that delivered 60 million USD of cost savings in the first 12 months of operation. Prior to joining Liberty Mutual, Roeland was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company where he led the Operations Practice in Sub Saharan Africa.  Roeland has lectured and published extensively on the topic of operational excellence, including at McKinsey’s Lean Academy where he was the Dean from 2009 to 2011.


Want to know more?

This article published in 2006 by Dr. Tracey and Flinchbaugh entitled “How Human Resource Departments Can Help Lean Transformation” [PDF, 365KB]  will give you a sense of the role of HR in a Lean Transformation, not only in the department itself, but throughout the company.

From the article: “Many anecdotes from practitioner experience attest that the human side of lean is the hardest. While the authors’ survey statistically confirmed much of this wisdom, it also revealed a few surprises. Their conclusion is that to sustain lean operations, the human resources function must support them, beginning with hiring people who are likely to be happy and to succeed in a lean working culture.”


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