Is a Six Sigma Black Belt good for HR professionals

The Management and Strategy Institute offers industry-specific Six Sigma certifications for four industries – Government, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Human Resources.  Today we’re going to take a few minutes to discuss the HR profession and why having a six sigma certification, specifically a Black Belt, can be a benefit.

HR professionals are deeply involved in the “human capital” aspect of business.  They are usually the first line of contact when a new employee comes on board.  In many organizations, they also manage the personnel files and even assist with performance reviews.

When an organization decides to implement a Six Sigma Project, one of the first departments to be notified is HR.  This is because the HR department is interconnected with every department in the organization.  It often serves as a central hub for communicating with employees and departments.

With this in mind, it only makes sense that an HR manager or director be certified in Six Sigma so that they understand the “language of lean”.  HR Managers may be used to help select key project candidates such as the Black Belt, Green Belts, and Yellow Belts.  They will often work with the Six Sigma Champion to help allocate personnel from different departments to work on the project.

Here are just some of the benefits for why an HR professional should hold a Six Sigma Black Belt certification in HR.

  • Helping to explain the project – When a company first embarks on a Six Sigma project it can be overwhelming for employees within the company.  Especially if management does a poor job of explaining the purpose of the project.  When employees hear words like “Cost cutting” or “process improvement”, the thought of layoffs may come to mind.  HR professionals can help “create the narrative” for the project and disseminate the true meaning of the project.  It’s important that employees understand six sigma projects are about waste reduction, not reducing the workforce.

  • Helping to set expectations – It’s important that project expectations be realistic.  When project stakeholders and the project champion create the Charter, HR should be involved to ensure excess burden isn’t placed on employees.  HR managers will often have insight in to how well a department is running.  Are the employees already being pushed to their limit?  Are they over or under staffed?  A properly trained HR manager can guide the project stakeholders and help them understand employee capacity for a new project.

  • Understanding what’s happening at each project level – The new Six Sigma project will have employees at different levels working on different tasks.  An HR professional should have a strong understanding of the Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, and Project Champion roles and responsibilities.  HR Professionals can help make sure clear lines of communication and responsibility are maintained.

  • Improve the HR department – You may find that even the HR department itself can benefit from a Six Sigma project.  Whether it’s a full scale project for a smaller Kaizen event, eliminating waste and improving process work-flow can be a benefit to any department.