Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Job Satisfaction in Quality

ASQ CEO Paul Borawski asks the question on April's blog: "Are quality professionals happy on the job?" I have asked this question to myself many times while working as a quality engineer, later as a continuous improvement leader and now as a lean/six sigma black belt. I must say that my happiness increased as my knowledge and skills developed further, but it also depended upon the organization I worked in and its management. At times, it was a roller coaster ride. If an organization does not appreciate quality much and asks quality dept to fix all of their problems, employees may find themselves in a difficult position that creates a lot of stress and frustration. On the other hand, in organizations with embedded quality culture and systems, employees seem to be more satisfied and happy because their role is well-understood and valued within the organization and they can be more proactive rather than being reactive all the time. Quality professionals who are involved in all stages of product development as well as continuous improvement projects are most likely to enjoy what they do and be more satisfied with their contribution. I'm personally going through this stage. In the early years of my career in quality, I was much more stressed because of the feeling like the only person who is willing to solve the problems and no one seemed to care as much as I did. Management was supportive when it comes to training and certification, but they lacked in establishing an effective strategy for quality. There was no vision or a good structure that eventually led to the collapse of the quality organization. I needed a change. When I made the transition to continuous improvement, I noticed the difference. I had the opportunity to focus on improvement initiatives and lead teams to make a difference. The vision was clear and the structure was good. I had excellent mentors who stood by me and coached me along the way. As I became more experienced, I looked for opportunities where I know quality and continuous improvement are valued. Thankfully, I still feel the same way about my current position. So, here is my view on happiness on the job. Working with a group of people who share the same views on quality and an organization that embraces continuous improvement are must-haves for job satisfaction in quality.