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Is it Possible to Eradicate Human Error in the Workplace?

Human error in the workplace is usually caused by employees trying to take shortcuts or simply overlooking detail. It can happen just as easily to an experienced member of staff who isn’t fully focused as it can to a new employee who isn’t familiar with the IT software.

IT professionals blame human error for 30 percent of data loss incidents and 50 percent of data security incidents – and the consequences of human error in the workplace can be catastrophic. In early 2017, Amazon Web Services went down for 4 hours, costing S&P 500 companies $150 million and US financial-service companies $160 million in lost revenue. But human error can cost more than just money—it can cause dangerous accidents and serious harm to people depending on the industry.

It may never be possible to completely remove human error in the workplace. But businesses that utilize the latest technology and tools correctly can do their part to minimize the likelihood and severity of mistakes which would have a negligible effect on their bottom line.

Common causes of human error in the workplace

One of the most common causes of human error in the workplace is a lack of instruction.

Naturally, the more information and direction we get regarding tasks, the more likely it is that we can complete them to a high standard. Therefore, one of the principal ways to reduce human error is to create structured business workflows. But even the most judicious workflows can still be susceptible to human error.

Watch out for these common mistakes that can occur when you’re creating workflows:

1.  Gaps in communication

Poor communication can cause several problems during a workflow’s lifecycle: Information can become outdated, employees aren’t on the same page, and expectations and deliverables can be unclear.

2.  Over-complexity

It is often the responsibility of IT teams to create business workflows. With so many employees to serve, workflows often end up being large and complex, with long and uninterrupted diagrams that look and feel daunting for end users. As workers adapt these workflows to their own team, department, or tasks, the workflows can bend or break completely. With employees approaching the same workflow in different ways, mistakes are bound to occur.

3.  Lack of planning

As workflows become long and complex, planning plays a more important factor. A poorly planned workflow can cause key information to slip through the cracks and can leave the processes less adaptable to change. Underprepared employees then become less productive and more likely to make mistakes.

4.  Lack of adaptability

Many administrators focus only on the ideal of a workflow – they don’t consider what will happen if things go wrong. It becomes easy to think of a workflow as a direct path to a goal, but workflows that are created with no flexibility are more prone to human error. A workflow should act as a unifying method for your team, not as a micro-managed, entrenched structure.

Reduce human error with process automation

Human error, by definition, implies that a human has made a mistake. But if workers are using broken processes like those mentioned above, they have been set up to fail. Broken processes make human error more likely, and the resulting mistakes take time, effort, and money to fix.

Process automation removes many of the manual, mundane, and time-consuming steps in traditional business processes. The result is a process that is more streamlined, more efficient, and more accurate, reducing or sometimes removing tasks that need human interaction, which will reduce the risk of human error.

A dedicated process automation platform can improve:

1.  Ease of use

Process automation software provides users with a dedicated interface for building workflows, making processes feel less daunting and easier to manage. Features like a visual drag-and-drop interface and integration with popular business apps make simple workflows available to every member of the business.

2.  Flexibility

A flexible automation platform allows end users to create diverse workflows customized to their individual or departmental needs. Building a workflow step by step will allow it to shape itself around the task at hand, making it easier to use and less likely to cause mistakes.

3.  Management

By mapping their processes, users can take control of workflows from start to finish. Process mapping allows users to better understand, map, and manage enterprise-wide processes to drive collaboration, visibility, and accountability from within a single interface. With end-to-end control over workflows, you can dramatically remove the likelihood and severity of human error.

Remove human error without removing the human aspect

The Nintex Platform is designed and dedicated to improving business processes. With more capabilities than ever—including Advanced Workflows, DocGen®, Process Mapping, and more—businesses have a full toolset when it comes to optimizing, managing, and monitoring business workflows, leaving less room for human error to creep in.

We all make mistakes from time to time. The Nintex Platform promises to minimize human error by automating repetitive parts of the process, leaving employees with a clear mind to tackle high-value tasks.



Take an interactive tour of Nintex to experience the simplicity of drag-and-drop workflow automation, and how to get started yourself. For more information on how process automation can reduce human error, get in touch with Nintex today


Patrick Nguyen

Pat Nguyen is a Senior Business Analyst at Nintex. In his role, he leverages the Nintex Platform to build custom workflow solutions that solve business challenges. In his spare time, Pat enjoys exploring Seattle on his longboard. He’s a University of Notre Dame alum and a Fighting Irish fan.

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