Employee Engagement & Dr. Deming


The cover story on the ASQ April 2016 Quality Progress magazine about the cost of employee disengagement made me flash back to my first day on the job as an engineer.My boss gave me a big box of VHS videos to watch - yes, VHS! 

My first assignment in the "real world" was to watch the Deming video library covering his System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK) and 14 Points for Management.I learned about Dr. Deming in College, but the videos really brought his approach to life.

The ASQ article makes some great points that show how much we still can learn from what Deming said more than 25 years ago.  It references a Gallup study that shows 50% of employees are not engaged and 20% are actively disengaged, costing the U.S. economy more than $440 billion annually in terms of lost productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee morale.

The article suggests DemingÕs management method can help increase employee engagement, and I concur.

"DemingÕs 14 Points and System of Profound Knowledge can help organizations overcome the management practices causing disengagement and provide a method to support a culture of employee engagement."

Deming often talked about how 94% of problems are due to the system, 6% are due to the worker, and management is responsible for the system.If employees are disengaged, itÕs because management has not provided a system that provides a culture of engagement.

DemingÕs SoPK includes 4 components - 1) Appreciation for a system, 2) Knowledge about variation, 3) The theory of knowledge, and 4) Psychology - that are supported by his 14 Points, which address many management issues responsible for low employee engagement.Just a few examples of what management must do include:

  • Clearly defining and communicating the organizationÕs system and its aim
  • Ensuring every employee understands how what they do contributes to the aim
  • Ensuring every employee is enabled with education and resources to succeed at their job
  • Recognize and embrace that people are different from one another
  • Create a culture free of fear, intimidation, and internal competition

Click here to learn more by watching the first video covering the Deming System of Profound Knowledge from the Innovation College curriculum taught at Eureka! Ranch: