Human mistakes are inevitable when you’re running a business. Someone doesn’t track their time, a manager forgets to assign a certain task, or someone misses a deadline. We’ve all been there.
While some level of human error is unavoidable, you can take steps to minimize it and keep your team running smoothly. Below, we dive into the leading causes behind human error and offer tips to help you minimize it in your workplace.
Leading Error Causes
It’s important to explore the things that cause human error so that you can take the best steps to minimize them. While the potential causes are manifold, these are two of the biggest ones.
Stress is one of the most prominent causes of human error in a business environment, and many other causes can be linked back to the root of stress.
Messiness, for example, is a surprisingly potent source of stress and anxiety. Many workers find an untidy environment causes anxiety and distraction in a way that leads to more difficulty processing information, and inevitably more human error.
A heavy workload, changes in the workplace, and impending deadlines are just a few of the things that can cause stress in a work environment.
Overwork can lead to other stressors, like the need to multitask, which has been shown to reduce productivity by 40%, as well as have a considerable impact on mental and emotional wellbeing.
Overwork can also lead to burnout, which can have serious health consequences like heart disease, in addition to severely hindering productivity and quality of work.
Poorly trained employees are inevitably going to make more errors. Because of a lack of information, many talented people will make mistakes by virtue of not knowing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing.
Often, new hires will need more guidance and support than older employees, but when moving to new technologies and processes even seasoned workers will need help. This can lead to long-term problems and a compounding effect if the company is in the process of a larger change or shift.
How to Reduce Human Error: 4 Tips
There are a variety of ways to reduce human error, from automating tedious tasks to continually training your team. We offer four tips below.
1. Identify Areas Prone to Errors
The first step to preventing errors is discerning which areas of your business are most vulnerable to human error. This helps you focus later efforts and invest your resources carefully.
2. Continuous Training
Training new hires is a vital component of effective onboarding, but offering continuous training to employees is what will help you reduce human error in the long run.
Training your team on new processes and technologies encourages internal mentorship and helps reduce the risk of costly business mistakes. This not only builds communication within your company but also helps new employees do better work in the future.
It is also worth noting that too much training can cause burnout or frustration among your employees, so it is important to keep a careful balance and ensure you’re not overtraining more senior employees.
3. Automate What You Can
Menial tasks can often be automated away. New tools and technologies are being developed all the time that can help automate tasks like planning, payroll, scheduling, data entry, or any other sort of task that is both crucial and error-prone.
By reducing these tedious tasks, you reduce workloads and stress on your employees, while letting them focus on their most crucial work. While they may need some new training in these tools, with continuous training efforts that should be no problem.
4. Reduce Clutter
Messiness in an office environment causes anxiety, so it is important to keep a clean workplace. Not just physically, but for lines of communication as well.
Reducing the number of ways that your company communicates internally helps employees focus on a single method, like email or Slack, rather than half a dozen different and confusing technologies that can become overwhelming.
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but by taking certain steps we can reduce how often it happens while increasing productivity and employee well-being. It’s important to explore options for minimizing errors in your workplace, to prevent these mistakes before they happen.