CASRE Meeting Information - Sept. 30 / Knoxville

Event: Transforming Business Productivity AND Enhancing Employee Quality of Life

Date: Sep. 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

Location: Room 262B, Student Union, 1502 Cumberland Ave, Knoxville, TN 37996

Host: The Tickle College of Engineering's Center for Advanced Systems Research and Education (CASRE)

The economic future of a country is dependent on the well-being of the society, in particular, its workforce. A healthy workforce can participate in a globally-competent development of a country. Unfortunately, a growing number of countries face the issue of unhealthy populations - caused by opioid and alcohol dependency, mental illness, depression, among other factors. These citizens are not only limited by their ability to participate in national development, but also require substantial social investment in their care and treatment. This phenomenon has multiple causative factors, with stress being a major cause of workforce health risk. Research has shown that the most significant type of stress in societies is work-related stress, which is influenced by their perspective on productivity. Literature shows three divergent perspectives - the named regions highlight where they are especially prevalent:  1. Enhanced balance of life leads to more productivity (some European countries), 2. Increased workload leads to better productivity (USA), and 3. Increased workload cannot lead to productivity (countries like Mexico). 

We present an operational excellence model in which the reduction of work-related stress and well-being of employees are factored into designing productive systems and organizations. We believe it is necessary to change the mindset that either productivity wins or employee well-being wins. One of the essential steps in this process is to change the focus on the word "efficiency" - which is code for making people work faster or harder - to "reliability" - the design of systems that provide employees with all the resources to allow them to complete the assigned work. Our model - presented in four modules - transforms organizational productivity while simultaneously reducing employee effort and stress. Modules 1 and 2 focus on defining the problem via an explicit and systematic manner such that it minimizes effort to achieve the greatest impact. Module 1 focuses on defining the critical path and developing an explicit strategy by understanding the fundamentals characteristics of the critical path. Module 2 tracks the project metrics to organizational metrics. Module 3 utilize the concept of reliability engineering and operational excellence to stabilize a system before designing flow. Module 4 ensures the sustainability of the system design by ensuring the motivation, engagement and cultural values are intact in the system design.