Precautionary Procedures to Avoid Becoming the Next BP

In the face of a corporate disaster, it’s imperative to look beyond equipment failures and natural disturbances to determine if human factors or people-management practices were an underlying or contributing cause.

Aside from taking accountability for any “critical accident”, investigations play a strategic role in identifying red flags of impending disaster that could serve as a warning to moving forward. recently published the article, A Checklist for Predicting Corporate Disasters – Is Your Firm the Next BP?, by Dr. John Sullivan. He says, “HR functions have a strategic responsibility to determine if measures of overtime, absenteeism, temporary labor use, training hours attended, engagement, etc., can be used to predict potential business problems”.

Sullivan says that it’s disturbing that so few HR leaders are acknowledging their role and stepping forward with solutions to help predict and prevent disasters. It has become uncommon recently that HR leaders will step up prior to disasters, or attempt to proactively predict upcoming disasters.

As corporate scandals and disasters grow, it has become more evident that people-management plays a major role in creating situations that allow disasters to happen. Here, Sullivan provides a list of people-management factors that can serve as predictive indicators. A few include:

Short-Term Indicators (Weekly/Monthly Monitoring):

– Absenteeism %

– Vacancy rate

– Performance/engagement/satisfaction rates

– Accident rates

– Error rates

Longer-Term Indicators (Quarterly/Annual Monitoring)

– Complaint levels

– Performance management issues

– Managers fail to meet goals

– A rigid company culture

– No if-then scenarios

Develop a process to more accurately predict upcoming problems in your organization. The key is to develop a process for identifying these precursors and using them to trigger action early enough to prevent minor problems from becoming disasters.

To read Sullivan’s precautionary short-term and long-term checklist in depth, click here.

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