Continuous improvement (CI) systems still have room for improvement due to the difficulty in sustaining the system and attaining a high level of employee participation. This study looks to analyse the level of implementation in manufacturing companies of 16 CI routines, and how these routines foster CI and employee participation. Based on a general survey of CI managers from Spain which yielded 147 valid responses, a Cluster Analysis (CA) and a Factorial Analysis were performed in order to group both responses and the variables used into more comprehensive categories. Statistical tests were run to test for significant relationships. This paper introduces a new perspective on the issue of CI maturity levels by using CA to group companies into three categories based on the score of a set of 16 CI enablers, which were in turn reduced to four factors using Factor Analysis, allowing for the identification of improvement challenges depending on the maturity stage of each company. Three different maturity groups of companies were identified, named as Leaders, Followers and Laggards. Results show that companies with better scores on these factors believe to have more sustainable CI systems and a higher level of employee participation.