Why Go for Six Sigma Certification: Is it Worth?
As more companies embrace Six Sigma, the need to hire and train employees in the methodology grows. One issue facing managers and human resource departments is how to determine whether an applicant truly possesses the Six Sigma skills required by the company. If he or she has a certificate, does it have any value? If not, how does your organisation verify employees’ Six Sigma skills? Once you get beyond the marketing hype of Six Sigma, what will really help your organisation eliminate or even prevent problems?
These questions and much more based on your particular needs should be addressed as you review what you and your organisation will accept as qualified Six Sigma Certification.
Understand your needs
Whether you decide to grow your own Six Sigma practitioners or hire from the outside, management must understand the role that it wants Six Sigma to play in the organisation. Just stating in a job posting that a person must be Six Sigma-certified is meaningless unless the organisation knows what it really wants.
The first step in any good Six Sigma program should be a needs assessment of the organisation. Management must understand the skills that current or future employees have or should have and then review the gap between the organisation’s goals and its use of Six Sigma. Some of the questions that should be reviewed include:
- How well do current employees really know how to use these tools and techniques? Should future employees know these techniques as well?
• What level of understanding about Six Sigma deployment (e.g., methodology, team building, change management, a voice of the customer, a cost of poor quality, etc.) should each employee have? This includes top management, middle management, engineers, staff workers (especially human resources and accounting), and general workers.
• What related tools and techniques (as prescribed by typical Six Sigma processes) do the organisation currently use?
• What internal resources already exist to teach any of the needed tools, techniques or methodologies?
• Are there any potential barriers to certifying individuals in Six Sigma that are counter to your work practices? For example, some unions don’t allow testing of the unionised workforce.
• Are there any specific industry needs that should be considered before your organisation implements Six Sigma?
What to look into a SIX Sigma Certified Professional?
Once you understand your needs, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for from a potential Six Sigma-certificated employee. In the same way, if you’re looking to hire an outside organisation to train your employees and issue a certificate, you’ll have a better understanding of what kind of knowledge and experience that certificate should guarantee.
Review the program you’re considering to understand its body of knowledge (BOK) and how the issuing organisation’s process is maintained. In all cases (internally developed, consultant, university or professional organisation), will the certification process meet the needs of your customers to provide defect-free products and services in the future? There are many good, fair and poor programs out there for certifying people in Six Sigma, and the cost varies greatly.
Questions that should be asked of any certification provider include:
- How long has the program been in existence?
• How is the material updated?
• How are certificate holders checked or re-evaluated to ensure that they maintain a certain level of proficiency?
• How often is the certification process itself reviewed and updated to meet evolving trends?
With the sheer number of certification programs available, it may not be enough anymore to just say that a candidate has a Six Sigma certification.
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