Human and Organisational Performance (HOP) builds on a number of principles to think about and reflect on humans performing work within organisations, and to help improve organisational performance by focusing on the interactions of humans and organisations. The principles shape and influence the way organisations think and act, and how they view success and failure. A key element is that ‘learning is vital’ and that organisations need to create an understanding of how human behaviour is shaped by the context surrounding the work. Organisations have to explore and understand normal work (the blue line), contrast this against work-as-planned (the black line), and identify occasions and reasons when actual work matches and differs from planned operation. Insights from the field promote operational excellence: the ability of an organisation to continuously and effectively learn from itself. The aim is to make operational and organisational knowledge readily accessible to help management make well-informed decisions.
The Southpac Field Insights utilises a number of different methods to examine the performance of humans and organisations and their interactions in an operational context. The insights result from directly engaging with the key stakeholders in their varied roles, including the workers, supervisors, engineers, site and senior managers etc. Methods involve work observations, conversations and reviewing company documents. Work observations provide insight into people’s roles, the ways work is performed, and the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the work. Conversations give people an opportunity to express their views while building relationships and trust. Analysing company documents offers an understanding of organisational planning, strategies and structures that influence how work is done. The data is analysed using quantitative and qualitative analysis methods, such as statistical analysis, document analysis and thematic analysis. The findings are provided to client management in a report and/or presentation, outlining the key findings, learnings, conclusions and recommendations for improvement.
Field Insights are conducted in the absence of a negative event, when operation looks perfectly normal and safe. Field Insights offer an understanding of how people at various levels within the organisation create success, and how work activities usually succeed rather than fail. The insights provide company decision makers with an independent view of the blue and black lines, the proximity of operation to risks and hazards, occasions and reasons when planned and actual work differ, and an idea of how safety and risk, efficiencies and inefficiencies are produced within the organisation on a daily basis. Field Insights present an opportunity to develop a valuable complementary perspective to incident prevention by helping organisations learn from and understand everyday work, including:
- Planned and actual work and potential gaps thereof;
- Occasions when work is successful and/or challenging;
- The availability or lack of resources (e.g. time, equipment, tools);
- Why it makes sense for people to do what they do or did (local rationality);
- People’s reasons to adapt performance to make operation safe and successful (performance variability);
- What people rely on to maintain safe operation;
- The conditions that influence people’s actions, behaviours and decisions (e.g. goal conflicts, enablers and constraints, demands and pressures).
Based on the Field Insights, organisations can promote operational learning and workforce engagement, create solutions to identified challenges, develop lead indicators for safe operation, and identify opportunities for improvement.