The non conformance report: what’s in it for me?

In a previous blog post we gave a few tips on when to write an NCR. However, a lot of employees still don’t write an NCR (non conformance report) even though they should. The main reasons for not writing the NCR are; 1) they don’t see the added value and 2) they are afraid to get punished for it. In this blog post we will dive deeper into these reasons.

Not seeing the Added Value

Many employees don’t write an NCR because they don’t see the added value. This is a shame, because there is a lot to gain for not only the employer but also the employee. A proper follow up and root cause of the NCR provide valuable insights into what is going wrong within the organisation. Without this analysis the company is not able to improve the way of working, which ultimately benefits the employees and should make life easier for them as well. Hence, it is very important that employees write NCR’s in order to gain these insights.

In order to get employees involved in process improvement, communication is key. Many are willing to share their knowledge when they see that management takes them and their feedback serious. Always make sure to communicate the results of a root cause analysis with involved employees and ask for potential improvements. It is even better to include them in the entire process. This attitude will prove them that they do have a voice in the improvement process of the company. Moreover the direct effect of the NCR they wrote becomes visible.

Afraid of Punishment

Surveys show a major part of the workforce marks “making errors on the job” as their number 1 fear. We are all humans, and everyone makes mistakes. A company can only learn from her mistakes when the employees are willing to write NCR’s, and therefore admit them. Particularly important is to realise that nobody makes a mistake on purpose and that sometimes a mistake actually is a flaw in the (management) system.

It is crucial that management never punishes employees for making mistakes and reporting it. Ultimately this causes the learning cycle of the company to stop. Management should guide and train the people who have direct responsibility over the root cause of the NCR’s and never punish anyone. For instance, when a particular employee is involved in a number of NCR’s it is of major importance that management has an open mind about why this happens. It could very well be that the company didn’t provide the person with the right tools or training.

Based on these two reasons we can (again) conclude that company culture plays a big role in the willingness of employees to write NCRs. When people feel happy and aren’t afraid they will be more open and share all the things that went wrong easier. Therefore it is important that management does whatever it takes to prevent a blaming and shaming culture within the organisation. Such a culture would be detrimental to a company who would like to learn from its mistakes.

Please share your experiences in the comments.


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