StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Article

5 Ways To Minimise Business Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, but if you and your team are constantly making blunders, you may want to consider putting some measures in place to reduce the chance of error. Here are just a few ways that you can minimise mistakes.

Improve your training

If employees haven’t been trained properly, you can expect more mistakes to happen. Make sure that you’re not throwing new employees into the deep end by skimping on training. If you’re unable to train them, delegate the task to a senior employee. You can also adopt e-learning resources that allow employees to train themselves (this shouldn’t be your sole form of training, but could be a useful supplement). On top of this, you can create a handbook that employees can refer to, saving them from having to ask you questions if they’ve forgotten how to do something (although you should be prepared to show people things more than once).

Encourage team communication

If your team aren’t communicating, people may get their wires crosses and complete each other’s tasks or attempt to do things on their own that they shouldn’t be doing. You can encourage team communication by adopting an open plan office and holding regular meetings. You can also use software to record progress, so that everyone knows where they’re up to.

Make tasks simpler with technology

There may be ways to simplify tasks with technology. Programmes such as this oil and gas production software are able to automate tasks and reduce human error. There may also be tools that can add precision to a job such as food thermometers in a kitchen when cooking meat or a laser cutting machine for cutting materials more precisely.

Introduce checks

It’s worth adding checks in place that can help to reduce errors. These may be checks that can be done individually such as a waiter reading back a table order to the customers before processing it. You might also be able to use signs such as a health and safety checklist on a machine, which employees can go through before use. Alternatively, you or another employee could be put in charge of screening tasks before they’re completed such as having someone else read and edit an article or having someone employed to check product quality in a factory.

Limit distractions

Distractions could also be leading people to make mistakes. Whilst an open plan office is great for communication, it might not be so great for jobs that require intense concentration. Having a separate space for these tasks could be beneficial – employees could take it turn to use this space. You should also refrain from asking employees to run too many errands – unless they are of utmost importance, keep a note of them and set them as a task at the beginning of the next day so that employees can schedule them in. Be wary that you may even be able to outsource some distractions such as outsourcing a company to take phonecalls for you and filter the important ones through.

StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Article

The Invisible Human Errors That Nobody Notices

Human error is everywhere and often difficult to avoid without implementing the proper tools. More often than not, human error is the reason number One for the purchase of high-quality tech software solutions, so that a variety of business processes can be automated for best quality. Other entrepreneurs suggest deploying careful recruiting methods to ensure that you get only highly qualified professionals to work with you. However, while it seems that human error is another work for lack of skills and attention, it would be incorrect to assume that there is no other kind of human error. In fact, the workplace is full of invisible mistakes and behaviors that are perpetuated under your very eyes but that you don’t see. They can be damaging to your team, your production and your overall business. It’s time to start the hunt for the invisible human errors that eat away your employees’ health and sanity, day after day.

Do you know what’s going on in your office?

Unhealthy stress management

We get it: Every workplace is a stressful environment, from the impossibly short deadlines to the difficult client. The workload piles up, your staff stays longer hours, and somehow the stressful situation seems to normalize any unhealthy stress management behavior, from heavy drinking to the abuse of hard substances. It may be invisible to the naked eye, but you should pay close attention to people’s habits and natural warmth to detect the early signs of an addictive behavior. More often than not, a drug test can confirm your suspicion. That’s why it’s essential as a manager to monitor workloads and offer stress management classes before it’s too late.

Emotional abuse

Millions of employees of all ages, ethnic and racial backgrounds hate going to work. Why should they like it, when staying at home all day might sound a lot more appealing, you ask. These employees hate the workplace because they’ve fallen victim of emotional bullying, from colleagues, managers or subordinates. The problem with this form of emotional abuse is that it directly attacks a person’s competence, integrity and dignity over an extensive period of time in such a way that it can go unnoticed. The victims live in a state of psychological terror, which can be aggravated by bad-mouthing, isolation, criticism, etc. This destructive attack can lead to depression, anxiety disorder and extended sick leaves. It’s your responsibility to keep your eyes open for any peculiar behavior so that you can offer support to those who need it and help them to stop the abuse.

Air pollution inside the office

So you’ve got a trendy office in town with an air con and a fantastic view of the city? That’s great but how pure and fresh is your air? Fungal spores, chemicals and smoke can be harmful to human health as they create what is called indoor air pollution. If your office has not implemented any air purification solution — from using specialist plants to sophisticated ventilation systems — it’s likely that your team might be suffering from the sick-building syndrome.

In conclusion, it’s vital that companies rethink their health and safety protocols to offer sufficient coverage for several invisible human errors that impact both business growth and personal wellness.

StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Article

Human Error: The One Thing Holding Your Business Back

StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Article
Photo courtesy of Pexels

Running a successful and efficient company is all about time management and reducing errors. A business that spends as much of the day being as productive as possible will always be set for success. The same can be said for a company that doesn’t make a lot of errors, therefore doesn’t waste time correcting these errors.

Sadly, there is one thing that can cost your business and hold you back; human error. Yes, while employees are essential for your business, they are guilty of making errors from time to time. One simple mistake could cause disruption in your company that leads to half a day being wasted as you all try and fix it.

As a consequence, it should be a top priority for businesses to reduce human error. Is this even possible? Of course, it is, and here are two easy ideas you can use:

Use Software For Certain Tasks

To completely eradicate the risk of human error in some tasks, you can use software. This is particularly useful regarding various human resources tasks such as paying employees and managing staff absences. These are tasks that often have the most mistakes occurring. As it says on the HRIS Payroll Software website, the right software can free up time and minimize errors. By relying on a computer to do certain tasks, you haven’t got to worry about employees making mistakes.

Software isn’t going to work for every single task in the office, but it will be a great solution to plenty of HR or accountancy tasks. Essentially, anything that can be automated or done by a piece of software doesn’t need to be done by a human.

Hire Better Employees

A simple way to reduce human errors is to ensure you hire the best people for every job. Companies that rush through the hiring process usually end up with employees that make a lot of mistakes. You must ensure you hire the best person and that they prove their worth. Someone with a good track record and lots of experience in the same role is ideal for your business. They know what they’re doing right from the start and will make far fewer mistakes than someone who might be in their first ever job.

The best thing you can do is take your time when hiring someone. Review their resume, check their employment history, talk to their previous employers, bring them in for an interview, etc. I’d even go as far as to say you should give them a trial run before actually hiring them full-time too. This shows if they’re good enough for your business and will highlight their mistake-making ability.

There may only be two ideas here, but they’ll go a long way to helping with any human error problems you have. As it was mentioned at the beginning of the piece, human error causes disruptions and wastes time. By reducing the likelihood of employee errors, you can stop holding your business back and drive forward in the right direction.

StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Article

Reduce the Risks in Your Workplace Right Now

There are so many risks and dangers present in the workplace. As the owner of the company, it’s up to you to minimise them. It’s so easy to just coast along and tell yourself that everything’s fine and dandy. But sooner or later, your lack of safety precautions will catch up with you, and those risks will start to have a real impact on your employees and your business. Here are some great ways in which you can reduce the risks in your workplace right now.

Have Someone Oversee Safety Practices Each Day

Rather than leaving safety and security responsibilities up to each person as they carry out their work, why not hire a person to oversee all of those safety practices? They will then be solely responsible for all of the safety issues in the workplace. It will take a load off the mind of your other employees, and you will know exactly who to go to when there is a safety problem. Each day, they will be able to focus on this and nothing else. Although it will mean spending a bit more money on staffing, it’s something that could really be worthwhile.

StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Article
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Set Rules for the Use of Any Dangerous Machinery

If there is any potentially dangerous machinery in your workplace, you should ensure there is a clear set of rules in place for using it. Everyone should know exactly what to do and what not to do when they are using machinery that poses them a threat. They should be kitted out with the right personal protective equipment. And you can even get lanyards for dangerous roles. These snap off easily so that they don’t get caught in any machinery that is being used by an employee. Make the rules readily available, and offer extra training too if necessary.

Clear the Floor

The floor is where the majority of the dangers lie in waiting in the workplace. Many people don’t take blocked walkways and cluttered floor space anywhere nearly as seriously as they should. If you want to make sure that the floor is clear at all times, survey it each week and look for things that could be hazardous. For example, things shouldn’t be stacked up too high near to where people do their work. When that’s the case, a fall could result in someone getting hurt. And fire escapes definitely need to be kept 100% clear at all times.

StrategyDriven Human Performance Management Article
Photo courtesy of Jeff Wilcox via flickr

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

This is a good general rule to follow when it comes to safety in the workplace. When you are reactive rather than proactive, you will end up not taking extra steps to improve safety until you’re prompted to by something going wrong. That’s far from the ideal situation to be in because it means that you didn’t take risks as seriously as you should have done in the first place. Assess your workplace and carry out risk assessments to spot problems before, not after, they result in someone getting hurt. It’s a sensible and safe approach to take.

Measurement Culture & Five Common Traits of High-Performing Organizations

While culture was once perceived as a vague concept, many organizations are recognizing its importance. The position of chief culture officer (CCO), is held at a number of progressive organizations. The CCO’s primary duty is to focus on maintaining the core parts of the culture that contribute to the organization’s success.

While organizational culture is increasingly observed as a critical factor in success, the implications of measurement are also significant. To build a culture of measurement certain steps need to be taken.

High-performing cultures have been associated with strong financial outcomes; however, these cultures also have strong employee motivation and performance. Research has shown that there are specific cultural characteristics directly related to organization effectiveness and outcomes. High-performance organizations tend to have cultures that share five common traits.

  1. Empowering Style Leadership: Leaders communicate with respect and lead by example. Employees are empowered to use their judgment to make decisions and take action in their day-to-day jobs. Employees are not present to serve management or reinforce bureaucracy. Leadership is supportive of employees, with focus on helping to support employees so they can focus on caring for customers.
  2. Collaborative Environment: This type of environment is inclusive; employees have a sense of belonging, with everyone sharing the responsibilities of identifying problems and coming up with solutions. These types of organizations are highly participatory.
  3. Strong Core Values: Values of respect, loyalty, and integrity are embedded in leadership behaviors toward employees, and infuse the organization.
  4. Planning: Employees know what the long-term plans are for the company and how to get there. Strategy is well-defined and priorities are clear. Plans are clearly articulated and there are specific measures to assess a plan’s success. Employees know what is important for the organization and what is required to do their jobs effectively.
  5. Measurement and Feedback: High-performing organizations not only plan and prioritize what is most important for the business, but also provide indicators and measures to know whether they are hitting the mark or not. Data-driven organizations is another way to describe this environment. Employees receive ongoing feedback so performance is collaboratively assessed as it relates to the business.

Organizational cultural characteristics play a pivotal role in organization effectiveness. Measurement and feedback is one of the components of a high-performing culture. There are many benefits for creating a measurement-oriented organization culture. The following are just a few at the top of the list:

  1. Measurement cultures lay the foundation for organization learning. Information sharing is leveraged in the organization toward knowledge and growth. Data-driven organizations make this possible.
  2. Measurement cultures provide the way for departments to track their progress. Managers have the ability to track progress toward department goals. What happens if the project that is implemented is a flop? Or if needs are not fully met? Tracking along the way allows for modifications if needed to move outcomes in a favorable direction.
  3. Measurement cultures make data-driven decisions. The use of the hunch takes second place to making decisions based on data. If a project is not going in the direction it needs to go, then the data will validate this point. And collecting the right data should help pinpoint where things broke down.

The Leadership Development Practitioner as a Change Agent

Practitioners often view their role as one who influences an individual, group, or organization toward desired change. The change agent plays a significant role in leading the change effort or collaborating with the team assigned to initiating change. Trying to create an environment that is measurement friendly also involves a change agent— someone to lead this effort and manage the change process within an organization.

It is important to remember that building a measurement culture should be a strategic change. The change agent must set the stage with the ‘why’ behind building a measurement culture, make sure that the change effort is in sync with what’s important for the organization, and include action planning and feedback to keep the momentum building. Involving people who are senior in the organization also helps because they have the clout necessary to pave the way for building a measurement culture.

Identify a System to Routinely Review Measures

Adopting a systematic way to plan, collect, analyze, and report on initiatives in the organization sets in motion the process of communicating and reinforcing what is important to the organization, while sending a clear message to key stakeholders as to what needs to change to improve outcomes. This is particularly true when measurement has been planned in advance to collect data points that will tell the story in a comprehensive way.

When leadership development programs are aligned with results-based initiatives or what’s important to the organization, it becomes more likely that Leadership Development initiatives are easily measured and supported. The old adage rings true in this context: What gets measured gets done.

Adapted from Measuring the Success of Leadership Development: A Step-By-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI (ATD Press, 2015) by Patti Phillips PhD, Jack Phillips, PhD, CEO/President and Chairman of ROI Institute respectively, and co-author Rebecca Ray, PhD., EVP of The The Conference Board.

About the Authors

Jack PhillipsPatti PhillipsPatti Phillips PhD is president and CEO of ROI Institute, Inc. and renowned expert in measurement and evaluation. She helps organizations in over 60 countries demonstrate the value of investing in programs of all types. Phillips serves on the faculty of the UN System Staff College in Turin, Italy. She is Distinguished Principal Research Fellow for The Conference Board and an ATD Certification Institute CPLP Fellow. An author or editor of more than 50 books, Phillips’ work has been has been featured on CNBC, EuroNews, and over a dozen business journals.

Jack Phillips PhD is a world-renowned expert on accountability, measurement, and evaluation. With expertise based on more than 27 years of corporate experience, Phillips has served as training and development manager at two Fortune 500 firms, as senior human resources officer, as a bank president, and as management professor at a major university. He is the author or editor of more than 75 books. SHRM has recognized Phillips for his publications and contribution to the human resources industry. ATD awarded Phillips its highest honor, Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Development. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Fortune.

Rebecca Ray PhD is executive vice president, knowledge organization and human capital practice lead for The Conference Board. In this role, she has oversight of the research planning and dissemination process for three practice areas: corporate leadership, economics and business development, and human capital. She is the leader of the global human capital practice.