How To Reduce Workplace Human Error Quickly

workplace human error

Workplace human error is a component of most businesses. Whilst some of these mistakes may be harmless, others could be costly both to your finances and to your reputation.

Because humans aren’t like machines, there’s no easy to fix to workplace human error. However there are things you can do to reduce it and make it less harmful.

Here are just a few tricks to help you reduce workplace human error safely, efficiently and quickly.


Reduce workplace human error by training your staff thoroughly


Your employees are more likely to make mistakes if they’re not entirely confident about what they should be doing.

Make sure that you’re dedicating time to training your staff up to a competent level.

Putting routines and rituals in place can often help to prevent mistakes – break down tasks into steps that have to be performed in a set order so that they’re more memorable and so that no step gets left out.

This is particularly important when it comes to matters of security and health and safety.

Where possible, always tell people what to do, show them what to do and then get them to do it themselves.

workplace human error

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You should then supervise them until they are able to do the task independently.

Creating a handbook could help to give employees a point of reference if they go blank and forget how to do a task.

This should placed somewhere that everyone had easy access to (it could be stored on every computer or in a booklet stored in a communal place).

You can also use signage and markers to help guide your employees.

Make sure that the person doing the training is of a expert level – otherwise your employees could be learning to do tasks the wrong way.

Similarly, don’t just rely on e-learning to train staff – not everyone is a visual learner and some people the hands-on, interpersonal training.


Avoid workplace human error by automating tasks


An easy way to eliminate workplace human error is to stop letting humans do the tasks and let machines take over. Not every task can be done with machines – some tasks require emotion, creativity and an interpersonal touch.

However, when it comes to routine admin tasks there are often ways to mechanise them. This could include buying a laser cutter rather than having to cut materials by hands, or downloading accounting software such as Quickbooks rather than doing accounting manually.

workplace human error

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Obviously, machines and software vary in reliability, so it’s worth always reading reviews before choosing a solution.

Automating tasks does cost a lot of money and it could cause people to lose their jobs in extreme cases, so you should be careful as to how you implement automation.


Increase your quality control


Quality control is another way to reduce workplace human error. By constantly checking yours and other people’s work, you can catch mistakes early and amend them before it’s too late.

Encouraging everyone to check one another’s work is a good way to do this – this could include proofreading an email or having someone on the gantry of a restaurant kitchen check every dish before it goes out to the customer.

It’s also possible to automate quality control. For example, programmes such as Grammarly can check for spelling and grammar mistakes in a text.

workplace human error

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You may also want to automate quality control of machines rather than getting human workers to check for faults – the likes of companies such as Intermax produce automated quality control for industrial machinery.

Usually there still needs to be human intervention somewhere as even machines can make mistakes from time to time as the result of glitches.


Get to the root cause of any workplace human error


Too many business owners focus on the errors themselves rather than getting to the root cause of what led to these errors.

When a machine plays up, the fault can be easier to get to the root of – it could be a worn part or a glitch as the result of faulty software.

When it comes to workplace human error, the chain of cause and effect can sometimes be longer and harder to get to the bottom of.

workplace human error

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Often there can be personal reasons behind recurring human error. There could be conflicts in the workplace between staff or an employee may be having problems back home.

In other cases, someone could be taking on roles that their personality and talents aren’t suited to or perhaps their workload is too great.

Talking to employees individually could help you to get to the bottom of these errors.


Stop finding someone to blame


Blaming individuals doesn’t solve anything. It could simply make those that are being blamed less likely to speak out next time they make an error. This could then cause more mistakes to take place as a result.

Instead, focus on solutions so that your employees feel that you’re working with them.


Encourage communication


Communication can also help to reduce mistakes. If an employee is unsure how to do a task, they should be able to ask someone for advice.

If they don’t feel comfortable doing this or there’s no-one around to ask, there is a clear problem with communication.

To make people feel more comfortable communicating, try to encourage camaraderie and take firm action against bullying.

workplace human error

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You may also want to consider your own management techniques – if people aren’t telling you information, they may not find you approachable, in which case you need to make them feel more at ease.

If it’s an issue of not having people around to ask advice from, try to always have a means of contact wherever you are.

This could involve anything from giving everyone a walkie talkie to setting up a WhatsApp group so that everyone can talk to one another.


Realise that workplace human error is inevitable


Humans aren’t perfect and can never be made to be perfect. Whilst preventative measures may help to reduce human error, you can never prevent human error entirely.

workplace human error

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

For this reason, it’s wise to prepare for the worst. Insurance schemes such as public liability insurance can help pay compensation to customers in the event of costly human error that leads to lawsuits.

Having emergency plans for dealing with fires and security breaches is also important and there should always be a first aid kit available in case an employee (or customer) gets hurt.

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