What is Human Performance…and being mindful of what causes potential errors?

 As humans, we instinctively look for simple ways to carry out tasks and develop skills to the extent that we don’t need to think about what we do. We are also influenced in our performance by those around us and can learn good habits from the best.

This serves us well until we become blind to potential errors in a situation. We need to be more mindful around what causes these errors, and mental health could be a very key issue to consider.

At a simple level the approach around Human Performance is about getting us all to stop and think before we act – HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON – but also to be curious about the systems, culture, mental attitude, and ways of working we have in place that can lead to errors arising.

What role do errors play in good performance?

We all make mistakes (around seven per hour if we take the statistics from Goldberg (The Blunder Book), and for good performance we need to be aware that errors happen.

However, research has proven that 80% of human errors happen as a result of latent failings and errors in our organisations (INPO database 2008). In other words, on a certain day given certain conditions where a person is prone to making an error there are often a string of weaknesses already in the organisation that can create conditions for that error to happen. Consider supervision, design, procedures, culture, and mental attitude.

What a lot of organisations don’t consider enough of, is the mental health and stress issues that employees might be faced with, and how this could impact on them delivering good performance at work.

How do Oakridge support organisations?

At Oakridge we have developed programmes that help attendees:

  • Identify where latent and hidden errors may sit in the organisation and in their role
  • Extract learning about errors from real events and case studies
  • Highlight the error traps that can be at the root of problems, for example, poor communication, lack of assertiveness and complacency, identifying stress and where there might be mental health issues
  • Work through specific tools that can help us stop and think before acting and during tasks and projects and improve performance as a result (either as a leader or a team member)

What specific tools are being applied to best effect?

Some simple tools that we are focussing on in our training programmes include:

  • Peer checking and verification – ensuring another colleague carries out a simple check before action is taken.
  • Drift and Accumulation – spotting where drift from standards may occur.
  • STAR: Stop, Think, Act, Review.
  • Applying Emotional Intelligence in solving problems.
  • Raising awareness of the changing workplace (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity – VUCA) and identifying mental health and stress issues in the workplace
  • Engaging two-way communications – checking back that messages are understood.
  • Co-coaching – what the goals will be, what reality informs us, what other options we may have and what the best course of action could be. Being aware that habits can lead to errors.

CASE STUDY: Leading a Safety Culture in Manufacturing – Putting Human Performance factors into Action [PDF]


MENTAL HEALTH BLOG: Please also read our Blog on Mental Health and Taking 10 Together HERE.


EVENT: 14 MARCH 2018 – We are also talking at an event on the 14th March which is in association with Elcons, Employment Law Consultants, on Managing Absenteeism including Long Term Absence and Mental HealthFor more information and to register to attend please follow this LINK

For more information about Oakridge’s Human Performance Programmes, please email info@oakridgecentre.co.uk or contact a member of our team on 0161 327 2031.

Mark Burbridge - Shareholder_Main Board Director  Mark Burbridge, Oakridge Director.

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