Preventing Human Error in Your Business


Human error is expensive and sometimes disastrous in a business, but it can often be prevented. Preventing human errors can keep your business on-track financially and ensure that you’re operating efficiently.

The following are some steps you can take right now to reduce human error in your business across the board.

Rely on Automation and Technology

Some small business owners tend to shy away from the idea of automation, but the reality is that you should be embracing it.

Using technology, for example, to create a touchless invoice processing system is going to improve productivity and reduce the risk of human errors substantially. You’ll be able to better spot issues and red flags with high-level and granular visibility when you introduce automation into your workforce as well.

Using automation and software can help improve your workflows so that rather than worrying about identifying and correcting errors, your employees can put their attention on strategy and utilize higher-level thinking.

Create a Positive Employee Culture

When employees are stressed, overworked or they don’t feel appreciated, they’re more likely to make mistakes. On the other hand, when employees are surrounded by a positive culture, and they feel like they’re heard and respected, they’re more likely to be accountable for their work and have fewer errors.

Create a workplace that’s positive where individual accountability is something that’s rewarded.

If mistakes happen, they should be framed as learning experiences rather than reasons for punishment.

Of course, with all of this comes the fact that you can’t have a positive employee culture if you don’t have the best employees. If there are repeated and avoidable mistakes happening on the part of one employee, they may need to go.

Follow the Principle of Least Privilege

There’s a concept that relates to human error in the workplace, especially when it comes to cybersecurity, where human error can be disastrous. This concept is called the principle of least privilege, and it’s something you should incorporate into your larger cybersecurity strategy.

What it means is that everyone has need-to-know access to data and systems. No one should have access to anything they don’t need to do their job.

Each employee should have access to only the bare minimum because then, if human error does occur, you’re mitigating the fallout.

It also makes it easier to track what’s going on throughout the business when there’s limited access.

Standardize Workflows

The idea of improving efficiency through standardization and automation was touched on a bit above, but even outside of automation and technology it’s important to have standardized workflows. Then, your employees are better equipped to check back over their work each time and reduce the risk of an error.

Document your processes and regularly review and audit those processes to make sure they’re still what you need. You can even have checklists for your employees to follow, leaving less room for error.

For your more complex tasks, you might want to break them down into guided lists from start to finish. The concept is similar to the checklists pilots must go through every time they’re about to fly.

Hire Smart and Train Often

If you take the time at the start to hire the best employees and to thoroughly vet and onboard them, you’re going to cut down on a lot of potential errors. Just like you standardize your workflows, standardizing your hiring and onboarding too. Ask current employees for their input as far as what onboarding should include because they’re going to be your best source of information.

Well-trained employees are also a huge asset to your business.

Training doesn’t end with onboarding. You want employees who are trained in their own role and also who are cross-trained. When you cross-train employees, they’re better suited to see how their specific roles and duties fit into a larger picture, which can help reduce mistakes and errors.

Cross-trained employees may also be able to spot coworker’s mistakes more easily and remedy them before they become bigger problems.

Training and continual learning should be prioritized in any business, and your employees should never stop learning.

Finally, make employee retention one of your major strategic priorities. The longer your quality employees stay onboard with you, the better trained they’ll be and the more they’ll become experts, meaning fewer errors.

It’s much less expensive to keep your employees than to hire new ones, so always remember that.

Some human error is going to occur because it’s unavoidable. However, with the right technology, processes, and training, you can do a lot to minimize errors and the impact they have on your business.