Working with people is always difficult, and the reason for this is quite simple: a human being is a totally emotional creature whose feelings have a great impact on every area of their lives. To make your collaboration as pleasant and efficient as possible, make sure you understand your employees’ needs and weaknesses.
Human Factor: Is It About Errors or Needs?
Research shows that there are two ways to consider a human factor:
- as the fact that any person has their own needs that must be satisfied to ensure their efficiency at the workplace,
- as an error a person can make for several reasons (“human error”).
According to Cloé Madanes, psychologist majoring in family and strategic therapy, any person has 6 basic needs that have a great impact on both their private and social lives. Any human being is unconsciously striving to satisfy them without taking care of the means and consequences. On the other hand, we live in a society, so our consciousness makes us responsible for all our deeds.
The needs mentioned above are certainty, variety, significance, love, growth, and contribution.
- Certainty is being sure you and your beloved ones are alright. It’s self-confidence and a sense of security.
- Variety is for entertainment and drama. People are emotional creatures, and they need changes to feel alive.
- Significance is about self-assessment, being sure your personality and efforts are appreciated.
- Love is about warm relations with others, a favorable atmosphere and collaboration.
- Growth means progress in any kind convenient for a person. It’s unique for everyone but equally significant.
- And last but not least is contribution. It’s about sharing something with others. Human beings are very caring in nature. They need someone in their lives to share ideas, experience, and other things.
Any person is guided by one or several leading needs in their life. All actions that they ever perform are focused on the satisfaction of these needs.
The elephant in the room is that the results of any work are dependent on these factors. And they can cause errors. For example, if the need for significance guides an individual, their KPI will definitely decrease if their efforts aren’t valued. Thus, it will slow down the process of accomplishing tasks, and this, in turn, may lead to failure. But you can artificially increase this employee’s efficiency: motivate them feeding their need for significance, and you will get positive results.
Errors can be divided into accidental and intentional.
- Intentional ones are violations that people perform on purpose, maybe even guided by the desire to satisfy one of their basic needs, or, on the contrary, because the needs are not satisfied.
- Unintentional errors can be dependent on knowledge or skills, or just occasional.
And no one is immune to making mistakes, even highly qualified experts.
Errors can be based on skills or knowledge.
- Skill-based errors are the ones that you make when performing a routine task, where you’re unconsciously unfocused on the very process. For example, forgetting to switch between languages when translating, put on gloves when painting, or type down an email address when trying to send a letter, etc.
- Knowledge-based errors are mistakes. In other words, mistakes are failures in making decisions. They can occur when a rule is violated or because of the lack of knowledge in the field. For example, a person makes a decision thinking it’s correct and as a result it leads to trouble because they’re mistaking.
Both types of errors can appear if one of the leading needs of an employee is ignored. This is what you as a team lead, manager, head, or business owner should keep in mind not to let it happen. Your responsibility is to make their basic needs satisfied.
Speaking or a human factor in project management, group dynamics should be also taken into account. This phenomenon is considered as a set of behaviors within a social group when a team aiming to reach a certain goal act as a unity. They have common ideas, principles, rules, standards, etc. and this fact ensures the successful realization of their goals. Some factors can ruin this unity that in turn, can lead to negative consequences.
What You Can Do as a Leader
It’s quite obvious that you as an employer are responsible for your team’s physical and mental comfort at the workplace. You should be sure all your employees are engaged. According to statistics, a disengaged worker is 87% more likely to quit.
Read more: 10 Most Effective Project Management Behaviors.
In project management, like in any other sphere of business, workers’ basic needs are the same, and managing people in your company is of absolute significance. You should act in two directions.
Satisfy Your Employees’ Needs
Your task is to create an inspiring atmosphere that motivates people to reach new goals, be creative and resourceful. Make sure everyone clearly sees the idea of what they’re doing in your company. According to statistics, only 40% of workers understand the core mission of the company they work for.
Use an individual approach. It means that every team member should be treated as an independent personality with their peculiarities and traits but also like a valuable team player. Knowing your team is a prerequisite of good relations and effective business. Understanding each person’s hierarchy of basic needs is key to their trust.
Balance Group Dynamics
Team building activities are of great help for group dynamics balancing. Your goal is to ensure a friendly creative mood where everyone feels safe and to make your team operate like a well-oiled machine without any outsiders in it.
There are several rules to keep:
- Make these activities as natural as possible. People shouldn’t think that you gather them for a poker game just because you have to make them feel like a team. Show your interest, and be a part of the team. The time spent is worth it.
- Don’t force them to do what you want or what you think is right. Ask your team what kind of activities they would like to be engaged in.
- Don’t make it a one-time event. It won’t bring any positive results. Speaking of your employees’ interests, gathering their ideas is helpful as you can implement them further throughout the year, and everyone will be satisfied.
- Hire a psychologist who will organize special events for workers and consult them individually if they need it.
As mentioned above, errors can be knowledge-based and skill-based. Upskilling is a necessary measure being preferred to firing and hiring a new employee. According to the Human Capital Benchmarking Report, a new worker “costs” $4,129 and around 42 days to employ them. So, encourage your workers for self-development and suggest them attending courses to improve their knowledge and skills.
Thus, a human factor is the thing that should always be taken into account when having a team to reach your business goals. In the global marketplace, there’s a trend to speak about technology replacing people, but we believe innovative technologies are developed to help people work better and bring more efficient decisions. Let’s see how technology can help a project manager and a team to avoid errors.
An overloaded employee is totally ineffective. They even can be considered as a burden. That’s why tasks should be prioritized and resources must be allocated properly, especially when working in a multi-project environment. Manual prioritization is hard as hell and sometimes lead to failure. That’s why software solutions that are capable of automated task prioritization is of great help. Find out how Epicflow helps with task priorities.
Mess in Data
To avoid errors in project management because of some mess in data, inserting all project-related information into the system is a good idea. So, not only every employee can have a direct access to it, but also a project manager can also review the information.
Epicflow prevents you from losing and confusing your data by making it possible to keep all data in one place.
Uncertainty in Decisions
To secure yourself from the consequences of wrong decisions, you should analyse the impact of any action in a time perspective.
Lack of Understanding Mistakes
Sometimes projects fail. To avoid it, project teams should analyze their mistakes. If a person doesn’t understand why their error has resulted in a project fail, they will make it again. The analysis of mistakes should be a regular agenda for your meetups. Your feedback, assistance and mutual understanding will create an atmosphere of trust where every member has a right to make a mistake but does their best to prevent it and deliver better results.
Read more: How to communicate Actionable Feedback.
An additional way to analyze bad project decisions is to review the workflow from the past up to the current date. Performance analysis is a significant part of project management.
Share your ideas with your team, analyze your achievements and fails, build strategies to avoid errors, give and accept feedback, and help one another. Be a cohesive team.
Cloe Madanes (2009). Human Needs Psychology.