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By Krystall Valencia

HPI champions promote safety, reliability and quality

WAPA’s Human Performance Improvement and Just Culture Program, or HPI/JC, continues to develop a framework that focuses on optimizing the performance of individuals and business units, within the complex and high-risk environments in which we work, to produce repeatable outcomes.  

With an emphasis on safety and preventing incidents before they cause harm to people, property and reliability, HPI/JC aims to help employees at all levels perform their jobs more effectively by providing a framework and tools for success.  

“Consistent with WAPA’s core values, I advocate for Human Performance Improvement and Just Culture because it promotes continuous learning and improvement,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tina Ko. “It encourages WAPA teams to view errors and incidents as opportunities, emphasizing open communication, information sharing, feedback mechanisms and formalized learning from successes and failures – all parts of a healthy organizational culture.”  

Human performance refers to the abilities, skills, knowledge and behaviors of individuals within an organization, as well as organizational systems intended to provide guidance or direction for individual and team behavior and performance. It encompasses decision-making, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, situational awareness, and physical and mental capabilities. 

Human performance improvement ensures that individuals carry out their tasks and responsibilities effectively while maintaining safety, reliability and quality. Launched in 2020 the HPI/JC program continues to evolve and expand across all work groups.  

HPI/JC revamps Champion program

Each year since its inception, the HPI/JC program has distributed a WAPA-wide survey and received tremendous engagement. Once the survey is complete, HPI/JC works with the program’s Steering Committee and uses the results to identify upcoming program initiatives.  

Feedback received last year showed employees want to know more about the program and how it applies to the work they do. As a result, in April 2023, we launched a revamped Champion University program. 

HPI/JC champions promote human performance tools and techniques within their WAPA organization. They also serve as liaison between their department and the human performance program manager.  

The Champion University program will last for nine months and consist of a kick-off meeting, monthly webinars and collaboration on program initiatives, with the goal of expanding the reach of HPI/JC across WAPA.  

Champions periodically meet with their respective leadership teams to discuss human performance trends and improvement initiatives. When a performance-related incident has occurred, champions help their organizations take an objective approach to analyzing the root causes of the incident, seizing on it as a learning opportunity for future error prevention.  

Champions also empower their peers to recommend appropriate corrective actions related to an event. With the support of a champion, WAPA teams can take a step back to address and proactively correct behaviors that lead to safety incidents or other impacts to performance, often before they happen. 

“I wanted to continue as an HPI/JC champion because I see the value in approaching human performance improvement from an objective lens that removes the stigma when individuals make errors,” said Sierra Nevada Safety and Occupational Health Manager Tiffany Cooney. “These mistakes can cause unwanted events such as a spreadsheet error that costs time and money, an operation switching error that causes power interruptions to customers or an event that leads to a safety incident.”  

People respond better to the analytical methodologies and positive feedback encouraged by the program, which shows in their performance and recovery after an incident.  

As the program continues to grow, the HPI/JC program is here to assist all employees to take up the HPI/JC philosophy and become a champion within their work group.  

What’s next for the program? 

HPI/JC will soon offer several opportunities to all employees WAPA-wide to learn more about the program. Employees will have the opportunity to respond to the annual survey and learn more about human performance from an external speaker, along with additional ways to explore HPI/JC methods through videos and other resources.  

“As a champion myself, I believe HPI/JC promotes a culture where individuals can share ideas and best practices and report errors and near-misses without fear of punishment,” said Senior Vice President and Desert Southwest Regional Manager Jack Murray. “When a near-miss or unwanted event occurs, we focus our attention on the challenges beyond the individual that are deeper within the system, such as manufacturing flaws and ineffective tools, to help us to identify hidden organizational conditions.”  

Left unaddressed, these conditions may lead to additional reoccurrences.  

“Adopting and practicing with the tools and tactics of the program enables all WAPA organizations to learn from mistakes and improve,” added Murray. 

Note: The author is WAPA’s Human Performance Improvement and Just Culture Program Manager.  

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Last modified on March 8th, 2024