Can You Prevent Costly Employee Mistakes?

One of the most important jobs as a boss is to ensure employees are given the tools they need to readily do their job well (e.g., laptops, project guidelines, workplace policies, company core values, annual goals, etc.). However, in our busy world, we fail to ensure our employees’ readiness to handle certain responsibilities. We forget they may lack experience and discretion due to limited people skills, poor planning abilities, or an inability to base their decisions for win-win-win outcomes (e.g., company, employees, customers, vendors, etc.).

This lack of managerial awareness on your part will allow for mistakes or roadblocks for everyone, including upward mobility in your career. When problems occur, they will eventually (if not immediately) devastate profitability and morale when not resolved appropriately. It’s important to address problems as they happen. Better yet, prevent them from occurring.

Prevention is Key

First and foremost, use scientifically validated assessment tools for hiring, coaching and managing your employees for success. Studies have shown employees that fit their work responsibilities have greater communication effectiveness, are more likely to know when to ask for guidance, and have an interest in ensuring their decisions are in everyone’s best interest. [Contact for more information.]

Second, ongoing training is critical. Most people benefit from ongoing training since the potential mistake or issue becomes less conceptual and they benefit from the experiential role-playing. It helps them clarify how to handle difficult situations and cautions them on what they share with others. As the boss, it’s very important to reinforce the training and set an example.

For example, the biggest problem in many companies is that everyone gossips. Unfortunately, employees can be so busy talking on their cells or with the person seated across from them, they forget people seated at the next table in a coffee shop or co-workers seated on a nearby bench in the company’s lounge are listening in. Remind everyone that certain information is not to be discussed (due to HIPPA, non-disclosure agreements for new products, employment laws, etc.). They also need to be responsible for where, when, why and how they share certain data with others (e.g., don’t forget to include a caution regarding emails, texts, and social media venues).

Third, encourage questions. Do not be fooled into assuming theft, harassment or safety violations won’t happen. When challenges happen, and they will, having prepared yourself and your employees in advance is critical. Encourage questions and provide training for different types of situations or issues, along with reviewing the expected protocols to follow. This will make a positive difference when something does happen and everyone is operating from the same page to get it resolved.

Fourth, finesse is necessary.  Empower your employees to handle basic disagreements on their own. However, when the issue is delicate, it is your job to step in and resolve it for win-win-win outcomes. Don’t put off addressing situations based upon how you feel, or your inability to make a decision. Failure to do so will create disgruntled employees and potential lawsuits. Talk out alternatives with your business coach, mentor, and/or attorney to broaden your perspective. Then, meet with a select few executives to reach a resolution.

Now you’re ready to take the actions required to prevent potentially costly mistakes and ensure win-win-win outcomes for everyone.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2016

Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and facilitator for over 23 years; she guides the creation of new solutions for a myriad of business challenges and is the author of Hire Amazing Employees ( and It’s Time to Brag! ( Check out her website: and contact us!

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