How to Spot the Most Critical Observations in Incident or Quality Reporting?

Every organisation is interested in recurring deviations, whether it’s about security or customer experience. In order to improve the business, the most critical deviations need to be instantly addressed. This is obvious to most managers, but the problem lies in finding the best ways to determine the most critical deviations among a wide array of positive and negative observations.

Base the Level of Criticality on Objective Data

An employee might get instructions to make observations about one’s workplace or a specific process. He or she might be asked to inform supervisors or management if there’s something unusual or important, but
an employee shouldn’t be the one defining what’s critical and what’s not.Otherwise, most of the incidents could be highly critical.

The main reason for this is subjectivity. The opinion of a single person is always subjective, which is not the right way to go in terms of successful business operations. Defining the criticality level of an observation is the job of the top management, not of a sole inspector.

However, if the employee cannot be responsible for it and the management team has other duties away from the field operations, how can the most critical deviations be spotted?


Templates Find Critical Patterns

Modern software helps spot the critical deviations more easily than using an old-fashioned pen and paper, Excel sheets, or word of mouth will. Suitable software provides extra value by introducing specific observation categories and templates.

The software categorizes incidents either automatically or asks the user to do it. The criticality can be built into each incident category, but what makes the observation objective and not subjective? The template. Every inspector or staff member answers the same questions, whether it’s about an inspection or an incident report. The questions are not subjective, such as, “Is the room clean?” but rather objective in the style of, “Are the tools in their pre-defined places?”.

When the software notices a recurring deviation, the application immediately sends a notification and informs the management of a critical pattern. The information is not based on subjective answers but objective and template-based data.

By using a template, the top-level management can define the deviation categories that seem the most crucial in terms of business operations. If the data further proves that something should be adjusted, the categories can be altered to fit those immediate needs.

If you want to broaden your understanding about the importance of incident and observation reporting, check our new blog series about the VUCA framework. For more ways to become a better manager and direct your company towards success get a case study introducing how our incident reporting tool was adopted in the Kämp Collection Hotels:

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Arttu Vesterinen

Chief Executive Officer