Root Cause Analysis

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Health Assured team

03 December 2021

Some problems can be fixed on the spot. But if they’re not solved thoroughly, they could resurface–in an even worse state.

Root cause analysis allows you to regulate business tasks and processes. Check whether blips can be ironed out, or if they’ll lead to bigger unforeseen issues.

We’ll look at root cause analysis methods used when managing workplace problems. And learn how to protect your staff – and business – from future complications.

What is root cause analysis used for?

Root cause analysis (RCA) is used to spot a problem and figure out a permanent solution for it. It’s not about seeing a problem and fixing it as quickly as possible.

Root cause analysis falls under total quality management (TQM). Through these methods, you can uncover the core-problem, make amendments, and stop it from reoccurring.

RCA is useful for documenting workplace performance and improvement. But remember, this is just for highlighting causes. Once they’re discovered, it falls on you to reinforce change in your business.

What are the 5 Whys?

The ‘5 Whys’ is a simple method which allows you to reach a causation in theory.

Root cause analysis steps which involve this technique continually ask ‘why’ a problem happens. Through continuous questioning, you’ll be able to figure out the cause of the problem.

Root cause analysis 5 whys - example questions:

  • A potential candidate accepted an offer with another company before you finalised your offer with them – Why?
  • The candidate didn’t receive their offer e-letter until two weeks after their interview. – Why?
  • The HR team failed to send out the offer e-letter in a reasonable amount of time – Why?
  • The HR manager was unable to find the candidate’s personal information – Why?
  • Their paperwork was accidently shredded before the data could be typed up- Why?

In the end, it falls on human error. By not following the correct procedure for storing personal information, a potential candidate was lost.

But by asking ‘why’, you’re able to track down where the fault lies and how to prevent it from reoccurring.

What are different types of root cause analysis techniques?

To tackle the problem fully, RCA utilises a large selection of tools and techniques. Some techniques are used for general problem-solving; whilst others are used to identify causation. For example:

Events & casual factor analysis

This is commonly used for solving one-off problems. It allows you to quickly collect evidence and build a timeline to uncover the causation.

Change analysis

This technique is used when a workplace structure has significantly changed. These changes can derive from:

  • Management and employees.
  • Work equipment and materials.
  • Statistics, data, and documents.
  • Workplace conduct and practices.

Barrier analysis:

This method is used to highlight methods in your prevention methods and assessments. These strategies can either alter, eliminate, and determine malfunctions.

Management oversight and risk tree analysis:

It’s common to use tree-diagrams as an overview for finding solutions. Through these graphs, you can clearly visualise the extent of the problem and why it happened.

Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making:

This technique is predominantly used for the most important business decisions. These need to be dealt with through diligent and precise analysis.

It uses four distinct methods for solving workplace problems. The steps include evaluating the ‘situation, problem, solution, and potential problems.

Some of the most common tools used within RCA techniques include:

  • Fishbone diagram: This tool finds several potential causes for a problem. It then categorises them into groups.
  • Pareto chart: This tool uses bar-chart graphs to present which causes have the most significant impact.
  • Scatter diagram: This tool uses Cartesian graphs (rectangular-coordinate graphs). Each axis represents different variables; and the correlation found is used to identify causes.

How do you perform a root cause analysis?

There are vital steps which determine how to conduct effective root cause analysis.

Most RCA tools can be utilised by either individuals or entire groups. They’ll apply your techniques – creating positive change.

You can introduce this root cause analysis example procedure to your business:

  1. Assign a root cause analysis team.
  2. Choose a workplace area where you’ve identified problems.
  3. Accumulate data and understand the extent of the problem.
  4. Decide on a technique to resolve the problem and put it in place.
  5. Hold regular meetings during the analysis period.
  6. Track the solution and see if the problem has minimised or eliminated.

For bigger or more complex issues, a deep root cause analysis might need to be followed. This could involve a longer analysis period; and could utilise several techniques simultaneously.

Be wary not to stop analysis too early. Don’t just settle for, ‘because that’s the way it is’.

A workplace problem could also have numerous root causes. Here, you might need to action analysis for each cause and deal with them individually.

Get expert advice on root cause analysis with Health Assured

Workplace engagement are commonly followed using root cause analysis. Mental health and wellbeing can also be tracked. This means you can protect your staff’s welfare, whilst providing a secure working environment.

But employees will inevitably face problems; but it only takes one to ruin engagement and trust.

They could resign or even raise claims of unsafe working conditions. Compensation fees and tribunal hearings can cause significant impacts to your reputation.

Health Assured offers expert advice on employee engagement & performance. We provide a 24/7 helpline, that’s open 365 days a year – helping you care for your staff all year round.

Arrange a call back from a workplace wellbeing expert today on 0844 891 0352.

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