At this point in the process, you have put in a significant amount of time and resources into your FRMS and are probably ready to sit back and let it roll. You may have had some challenges, but I’m sure you have also received immediate positive feedback on many of your countermeasure implementations. Now comes one of the most often forgotten stages of your FRMS; the continuous improvement “Check” phase.
Do you remember anything particularly annoying about math teachers from your childhood? Personally, aside from preferences about style and personal characteristics, the one thing I remember that was pounded into me from early on was the phrase “check your work.” After every math worksheet, the final stage was the “Check” phase. This served me pretty well all the way through high school, university and today. Why do I need to check my work? Of course there is the obvious answer: to make sure I have done it correctly and gotten the correct answer. A not so obvious reason is because it allows me to also see where I have made mistakes, which is a subtle difference, but an important one. We can learn from the mistakes and misfires.
In the FRMS, we do the Check to identify whether or not our countermeasures have been effective and to what degree. This helps us understand and justify the time and effort we put into it. Once you have done the check, don’t be afraid to share the information. In fact, I highly recommend you share the information with your entire site. Communicating this information keeps people interested in the work as well as puts out a reminder that this is not a flash in the pan or flavor of the month. Rather, it is something that is becoming engrained into the regular operation and culture of the site.
Like our math, we also do the Check in our FRMS to identify where we may have had less than stellar results. At this point, we re-enter the FRMS wheel to identify why we did not accomplish what we intended and begin to re-assess where we are still having challenges and how we might approach solving them.
On the topic of timing for your Check phase, you don’t have to wait a certain period of time before conducting your Check. For one thing, you may have multiple roll outs during your implementation. If, for example, you conduct some initial training and education on fatigue, you don’t need to wait until you have implemented your other countermeasures before checking the effectiveness of the training. In fact, you may have multiple Checks for each countermeasure. Using the training countermeasure as an example, you might conduct an immediate Check following the training to determine perceived value of the program and any immediate feedback. Then have a 6 month Check to see if the concepts are being used and how you may be able to reinforce them.
While your Check phase should include a comprehensive analysis and review of operational, HR and other hard data, don’t leave out the subjective information you can gather as well. The subjective data might assist you in developing countermeasures that have a real and immediate impact for your employees.
And the FRMS wheel keeps rolling….