Going from “Blame-Shame-Retrain” to “Praise-Celebrate-Promulgate”

It is such a common pattern... You know what I mean... A well-meaning employee makes a mistake while trying to get a job done and gets injured or damages equipment. The investigation team comes in. The investigation wraps up fairly quickly and the answer is... You guessed it, human error! Now all that is needed is to blame the employee for acting so foolishly, retrain him or her on the proper way to get the job done (or to show him or her the door) and to make sure everybody else knows to follow the rules.

Here is a different approach to investigations. How about investigating what is going right? Have you ever “caught” an employee doing something right or safely? If so, were they praised for what they did? Were their accomplishments recognized? Was the word spread throughout the organization? We often spend so much time investigating errors, failures, and accidents that it can be easy to lose sight of the need to investigate what is going right and the accomplishments of employees when they get a job done safely. It is often said that we learn more from our failures than our successes, and investigating failures, errors, and accidents is a vital part of learning. However, when we take time to find out what is going right, learning can take place, and employee morale may be boosted. And happy employees are often productive employees!

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Have a great, and safe week!