Akhilesh Gulati’s picture

By: Akhilesh Gulati

Efrain entered his office on a bright, sunny morning, a smile on his face. He poured a cup of coffee and took his seat behind his desk. From his vantage point, he could see his staff walking in and settling down to the day’s work.

His executive placement firm had risen from a downswing and was quickly regaining its lost glory and more.

As he sipped his coffee, he reflected on the events of the recent past.

What had started as a simple staffing firm and grown to a high-level executive placement and search firm that commanded respect in the field of professionals had begun a slow drop in its service level and, as a consequence, a slow decline in client confidence. Although he tried to maintain a calm demeanor externally to avoid negatively affecting the morale of his staff, internally his frustration was building. Their placement lead times were getting longer and longer. The company’s overall performance was dropping, and the projections for the future did not seem encouraging. The number of returning clients and new prospects was on the decline. These thoughts kept Efrain awake many a night.

He decided to have an informal meeting with his staff to try to understand the root cause of the company’s decline.

Ray Hein’s picture

By: Ray Hein

The manufacturing industry is at a make-or-break point. An underqualified workforce coupled with a disruptive pandemic has made it difficult for companies to attract top talent. Manufacturers are having trouble filling open roles with employees who possess necessary skills to carry out the desired work. Often referred to as the “skills gap,” it’s a significant problem.

A study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute found that the skills gap could result in 2.1 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030. This could have a substantial negative effect on the U.S. economy, and the absence of workers could be setting the manufacturing field back by decades.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

‘I would bet 10 percent or more of our remote staff, especially programmers, are working two remote jobs! We need to stop this before it escalates and get everyone back to the office.”

Thus spoke the chair of the board of a Fortune 1000 tech company when I met with the board to help them figure out the company’s plans for permanent post-pandemic work arrangements. Having helped 19 organizations determine their hybrid and remote work plans, I have heard such sentiments all too often.

So I asked him where he got his information. He told me he sits on other company boards, and that’s what he heard from other board members, so he guesses the same thing goes on at this tech company.

Tom Taormina’s picture

By: Tom Taormina

The quality profession has been evolving since the Industrial Revolution. I’ve lived part of this journey since the 1970s and have experienced its effect. ASQ and other organizations have continually pushed the envelope in creating training and certifications in the skill sets we’ve developed over the decades. These initiatives have facilitated an improvement in overall defect levels combined with a steady decline in organizational risk. Unfortunately, the positive trends appear to have flattened during the last decade.

As the timeline below depicts, we’ve successfully matured by creating conformance and performance tools. In my experience, however, we’ve never had a unified mandate to evolve beyond conformance to business excellence. Regrettably, we’ve reached a virtual event horizon that could be correlated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

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William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is growing in popularity as a metric to guide investment decisions. What does ESG have to do with productivity, quality, or stakeholders, aka relevant interested parties? The answer is—with the exception of generally accepted practices for workplace safety and reduction of all forms of material and energy wastes—almost nothing. ESG underscores instead the well-known principle that measurement of the wrong performance measurements will deliver dysfunctional results.

What is ESG?

Investopedia1 provides a good overview: “Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing refers to a set of standards for a company’s behavior used by socially conscious investors to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria consider how a company safeguards the environment, including corporate policies addressing climate change, for example. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.”

Matt Zajechowski’s picture

By: Matt Zajechowski

We spend about one-third of our waking hours at work. That’s often more time than we spend asleep or hanging out with our family and friends. It’s no wonder then that workplaces develop their own languages.

Workplace jargon can help streamline our jobs and bond us to our colleagues. But sometimes it just gets on our nerves. So which buzzwords can we expect to hear this year, and which do we hope to never hear again?

To find out, we surveyed 1,002 people and asked them about their perceptions of office buzzwords.

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Key findings

Slightly more than one in four people report hearing corporate buzzwords multiple times a day.

“Vibe” was voted the most annoying word Gen Z brings to the office, and “circle back” is a phrase we all want to eliminate.

The corporate jargon people find most annoying in a job posting is “like a family.”

Mike Figliuolo’s picture

By: Mike Figliuolo

You put a lot of time and energy into leading slackers, but you don’t get anything back in terms of results. Your job as a leader is to figure out what will motivate them to perform.

Slackers are in the lower left corner of the leadership matrix. They have the talent to get work done, but they just don’t care. They’re not motivated to do it. Leaders spend a disproportionate amount of time managing slackers. They require constant supervision and motivation. What’s so frustrating about them is they have the capability to do the work; they just choose not to.

Identifying slackers

There are some easy ways to spot a slacker. They tend to be smart with a strong resume. They can tend toward self-promotion. They might be a frequent job changer. They’re difficult to get work out of because they constantly debate the merits of your request rather than doing the work. They might renegotiate their deadlines frequently. They’re more interested in other people’s work than their own. They can be outspoken. They annoy other team members because they always wander into a team member’s lane instead of focusing on their own responsibilities. Other team members frequently push back on covering for the slacker because they know the slacker has the capability to do the work.

Belinda Jones’s picture

By: Belinda Jones

The worldwide pandemic presented unique challenges for every manufacturer in the United States. Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division was no exception. While its factory operations team has always pursued continuous improvement, the disruptions and slowdown related to the pandemic offered a transformative opportunity. The company’s operations team executed a major implementation of a Smart Factory Manager (SFM) platform and Parts Manager system to significantly enhance operational communication, granularity, and decision making in its operations. 

The company’s 58,000 sq ft manufacturing complex in Quonset Business Park (North Kingstown, RI) supports the production, assembly, calibration, and testing operations for extremely precise, multi-axis, tactile, and noncontact automated coordinate measurement machines (CMMs). The facility also serves as the main manufacturing center for fabricating critical machined components. These finely machined structures—machine ways and air bearings—serve as the principal axes of the measurement systems and are supplied to Hexagon factories worldwide. 

Kate Zabriskie’s picture

By: Kate Zabriskie

‘I can’t take it anymore! We’re short staffed, I’m killing myself to hold it together, nobody says thank you, so goodbye! Life is too short for this. I can work somewhere else.”

Thoughts like that happen many times every day in organizations large and small. If you haven’t heard something like that one, how about the following:

“I was doing just fine working from home. Now they’re making us go back. Call me crazy, but spending three hours in the car doesn’t excite me. I’m updating my resume this afternoon.”

Or this one:

“I’m not passionate about this place. We’re all about stuff I don’t care about, I don’t connect with my manager, and the pay isn’t that great. I need to find a better fit.”

While a certain amount of turnover is healthy and normal, when an employer hemorrhages staff, it can take years to recover. And let’s face it: Retention is tough in a lot of places. Although you can’t make people stay, you can take some critical actions to address the main reasons people say sayonara, so long, and see you later.

Here are five reasons people quit, and what you can do about it.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

What’s your decision-making philosophy? Do you toss a coin, or do you consider all the risks of your decisions? As a quality professional, you've probably developed a well-thought-out approach to decision making and risk management. But have you considered how other people’s decision-making philosophies may be very different from yours, and what it can mean for your professional and financial life?

Let’s say there’s a game with a 51-percent chance that you can duplicate Earth, giving yourself two Earths and all the value that might entail—or a 49-percent chance that it all disappears. Would you play that game? And would you keep on playing it, double or nothing?

The vast majority of us wouldn’t risk playing that game even once. After all, it seems morally atrocious to take a 49-percent chance on all of human civilization disappearing for a 51-percent chance of doubling the value of our civilization. That's essentially a coin flip.

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