The importance of accuracy and precision in the workplace cannot be understated. The accuracy of work can literally make or break a business, directly impacting the company's bottom line in numerous ways. Your company's reputation will be damaged – and repeat customers are unlikely – if you cannot deliver a required quality product.
The time spent correcting inaccurate work and the money wasted on poorly handled raw materials causes a significant fiscal impact to the business, requiring supervisors to spend an inordinate amount of time resolving messes. Even though solving the accuracy issue may require additional time on the front end, the overall savings in time and money make this a worthwhile investment.
Provide a Clear Explanation of the Goal
Provide a clear explanation of the goal of improving accuracy in the workplace. Explain the importance of accuracy and precision. Employees cannot provide accurate work if they don't understand what is expected. Set "SMART" objectives – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely – so that performance can be measured.
Train Employees on the Correct Process and Procedure
Train employees on the correct process and procedure. Failure to understand how to properly complete a work task causes inaccuracy. New employees often receive on-the-job guidance from others in the department, causing sloppy practices to be passed on unintentionally.
To improve performance and accuracy, all employees should be fully competent and receive formal instruction on the best practices for the task. Reinforce the message with a procedures manual to help employees remember the steps.
Provide Enough Time to Employees for Their Tasks
Provide enough time for employees to complete the task appropriately. Under pressure, employees may be tempted to rush through the process, skip double-checking requirements or take other shortcuts, which can affect the overall accuracy of the work product.
Brainstorm the Issue if Accuracy Problems Persist
Brainstorm the issue if accuracy problems persist. Include front-line staff in the brainstorming exercise to improve the accuracy of work, as these employees perform the task on a daily basis and will likely have the best ideas and information regarding areas for improvement. Don't allow negativity and resist saying "It will never work" or "That's been tried already." Allow employees the freedom to devise their own solutions to the problem.
Increase Process Automation
Automate processes as much as possible to reduce the opportunities for human error to help improve the accuracy of work. For example, if staff are frequently required to fill out a form or complete a letter, build a template that requires only a few details to put together a completed letter.
Include Checks and Balances in the Process
Include checks and balances in the process. Build in mechanisms for staff to check each other's work, or route work through the supervisor for a final accuracy check before it is considered complete. Although this may increase the time taken to complete the task, having an extra set of eyes on the process should result in dramatically improved accuracy.
Don't Expect Perfection
Don't expect perfection. It's unrealistic, and a culture where mistakes are not tolerated will not eradicate the mistakes, but will simply make employees more stressed about making an error, or more inclined to hide the errors they do make – both of which will have a negative impact on productivity.
For more than a decade, Tia Benjamin has been writing organizational policies, procedures and management training programs. A C-level executive, she has more than 15 years experience in human resources and management. Benjamin obtained a Bachelor of Science in social psychology from the University of Kent, England, as well as a Master of Business Administration from San Diego State University.