So, how can businesses avoid the blame game and encourage staff not to shift responsibility on to someone else when things go awry? Actually, one of the most effective ways of achieving this is through generating a strong, transparent and supportive company culture. Here are 4 ways in which HR can help create a company culture that turns the blame game on its head and boosts teamwork, productivity and efficiency.
1. Promote ‘Just Culture’ In the Workplace
Many industries, from aviation to healthcare to manufacturing, understand the importance of ‘just culture’ in the workplace. ‘Just culture’ – which makes up part of overall company culture - can be described as companies creating an environment wherein mistakes are seen as part and parcel of everyday business. Instead of being lambasted for their errors, employees are encouraged and supported to come forward if they do something wrong.
Businesses and HR departments that promote just culture facilitate honesty amongst employees and ultimately improve a company overall. It is only through employees owning up and having the confidence to face up to their mistakes that companies can learn and build upon errors that are made. A company that ignores ‘just culture’ risks having employees sweep mistakes under the rug, or incorrectly blame others for their wrongdoings, which can have hugely detrimental implications for a business.
As business owners and managers will know, more often than not mistakes are made because of bad management or incorrect processes. Harnessing a company culture that promotes admitting to mistakes allows businesses to learn and build upon them, ultimately improving company processes. Simply put, employees are much less likely to make the same mistake twice if their initial error has been openly discussed and they have been supported in rectifying it.
2. Ensure Psychological Safety
‘Just culture’ helps to foster an environment where employees are more honest and open, and therefore feel more psychologically safe. This is crucially important in business. Firstly, and most obviously, psychological safety of employees is essential in industries like healthcare and aviation where the psychological wellbeing of employees is vital to keep those that use the services safe.
However, it’s not just about keeping customers safe, ensuring employees feel psychologically safe is of paramount importance when it comes to the mental wellbeing of staff members. We all know the age-old mantra, a happy worker is a productive worker – and unsurprisingly a big part of that happiness comes from mental wellbeing. Businesses and HR professionals should empower employees to admit to mistakes by promoting the idea that, in owning up to a mistake, they are helping rather than hindering the company. This makes for a more open, happy workforce and more efficient and effective management processes. A win-win for all.
3. Encourage Looking Out For Each Other
Employees who feel isolated are more likely to try to cover up mistakes and, if they get away with it, they could fall into a vicious cycle of hiding wrongdoings. Making sure that employees look out for each other is an important way to improve teamwork and prevent covering up mistakes. Rather than making employees feel like they are grassing on one another, employers should encourage staff to assist those that seem under pressure and make sure workers know they can ask for assistance when necessary. Promoting the idea that employees are ‘all in it together’ is a great way to stamp out a cover-up culture and detect issues among staff early on. After all, early detection of an issue is the best way to prevent it from spreading and becoming a much bigger problem for the business as a whole.
4. Educate HR in Dealing with Reported Problems
Let’s be clear, mistakes in business are commonplace. There will always be issues that arise and making sure that the HR department is prepared to deal with problems which are reported is crucial to the smooth running of a business. Knowing how to support staff in need, how to correctly report, react and file an incident when it occurs, and how to treat those who have made a mistake in the correct and appropriate manner are all areas in which HR professionals should be well versed. As a department, HR is often the first port of call when it comes to reporting workplace problems – therefore it would be foolish not to ensure that all HR staff are well drilled in dealing with these situations as and when they arise.
Generating a company culture that treats mistakes as blips that are actually necessary for the advancement of the business not only empowers workers to admit to mistakes, it improves productivity and benefits a company in the long run.
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