Human Sigma focuses on reducing variability and improving performance. But while Six Sigma applies to processes, systems, and output quality, our approach looks at the quality of the employee-customer encounter, weaving together a consistent method for assessing it and a disciplined process for managing and improving it.
As we developed our thinking about Human Sigma, we arrived at several core principles for measuring and managing interactions between customers and employees:
- It’s important not to think like an economist or an engineer when you’re assessing the employee-customer interaction. Emotions, it turns out, inform both sides’ judgments and behavior even more powerfully than rationality does.
- The employee-customer encounter must be measured and managed locally, because there are enormous variations in quality at the work-group and individual levels.
- It’s possible to arrive at a single measure of effectiveness for the employee-customer encounter; this measure has a high correlation with financial performance.
- To improve the quality of the employee-customer interaction, organizations must conduct both short-term, transactional interventions (such as coaching) and long-term, transformational ones (such as changing the processes for hiring and promotion). In addition, the company’s organizational structure often must be adjusted so that the employee-customer encounter can be managed holistically.
by John H. Fleming, Curt Coffman and James Harter (adapted)