Thursday, April 26, 2012

ASQ Influential Voices: Are you happy?

In his blog this month, ASQ CEO, Paul Borawski asks the question, "Are Quality Professionals Happy on the Job?"

When thinking of "work" happiness, I like to reference the 5 dimensions of employee engagement: 1) credibility; 2) respect; 3) fairness; 4) pride; and 5) camaraderie.  These were identified and made popular by Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin in their book, The Great Workplace.  While these are typically considered at the company-level, I don't see why we couldn't use these to evaluate engagement at the profession-level.  Here's my assessment of how Quality professionals stack up against the 5 dimensions:   

Professionals with competency in Lean, Six Sigma, ISO, and/or other quality disciplines seem to garner their fair share of credibility within the marketplace.  There's always a demand for people that can systematically analyze and solve problems.  

One of the tenants of the DMAIC model is respect for all employees and all ideas.  We know that innovation can come from any level within the organization.  An essential part of our job is to foster a respectful and collaborative work environment.

One of the great things about quality and Lean Six Sigma, in particular, is its impartiality.  Analysis is never based on speculation, or personal opinion, or the sentiment of the day.  Rather, decisions are made based on measured data that is rigorously gathered, analyzed, and correlated.  True process improvement is agnostic to any personal agenda or bias.

We all want to feel valued, and experience the satisfaction that comes with a job well done.  This sense of pride is inherent to the quality profession.  Whether it's increasing profit, reducing cost, improving customer satisfaction, or simply making work easier for employees, our work is centered on achieving meaningful results. 

Thanks to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), quality professionals have access to a global community of colleagues and resources.  This gives us the ability to freely share ideas across industries as we discuss and debate the latest best practices.  The opportunity to learn from such a broad network creates a tremendous sense of solidarity.

Obviously, we all know that the specific values, culture, and rewards of our own company factor strongly in our engagement level.  But, as a profession, I'd say that the quality field satisfies all the dimensions that lead to a happy and rewarding career.

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