You might feel far removed from the current oil disaster taking place in the Gulf of Mexico because your firm is not involved in oil drilling or sophisticated mechanical operations. However, assuming that there are not important lessons to be learned from BP’s handling of the issue would be shortsighted. Any organization experiencing a “critical incident” needs to look beyond equipment failures and natural disturbances to determine if human factors or people-management practices were an underlying or contributing cause. Apart from establishing accountability, investigations play a more strategic role in helping identify indicators of impending disaster that could serve as a warning moving forward.
If people management practices play a role in creating situations whereby a disaster is more likely, then it stands to reason that people management metrics (long collected, rarely leveraged) could provide vital insight into disaster risk.
Put more simply, 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.
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