What Would You Do if an Employee Made a $600,000 Mistake?

June 26, 2015

What Would You Do if an Employee Made a $600,000 Mistake?

You might have already read our recent article on how to reduce mistakes at work. In a nutshell, we explained that the secret to reducing mistakes at work, is allowing mistakes at work.

But what if that mistake costs your company $600,000? Do you take the same stance, or do you take special measures considering the gravity of the situation?

I’m going hand this question over to Thomas John Watson Sr. – the former CEO of International Business Machines. Why? Because not only was he a hugely successful businessman, but also because this exact situation happened to him:

“Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. “No”, I replied. “I just spent $600,000 training him – why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”

• Thomas John Watson Sr., IBM

Are Mistakes Setbacks or Learning Curves?

This quote by Thomas John Watson Sr. is one of my favourites by far. And his advice is absolutely worth listening to – at least in my opinion, anyway.

Can you imagine firing an employee who’s just cost your company a huge sum of money, only to have your direct competitor hire them and benefit from the lessons that mistake taught them? It’s almost like paying another company’s training costs!

So what do you think? Are mistakes setbacks or learning curves?



Stay ahead with HR

Get free HR insights, expert tips and exclusive interviews, and start making more impact at work

Please enter a valid email address

See People HR in action

View our short video demo

Get started absolutely free

No credit card required

Talk with an expert to learn how People HR could help your organisation