How overconfidence could cost your company money

Confidence plays a huge factor in a lot of matters, particularly judgements made in the workplace. Confidence in an individual or team comes from many sources and is influenced by many things, such as education, perception of a situation, and a work environment. A lack of confidence is as detrimental as overconfidence, which in the construction industry could translate to a loss of money, and even life.

What exactly is overconfidence?
Overconfidence isn’t necessarily arrogance or a poor personality trait – it is more when an individual is so confident about undertaking a task that they fail to assess potential dangers. It may be that an individual has had so much training, they feel they don’t need to learn anymore.

So when an individual goes into a project or building site, they have already made assumptions, which are not based on fact. They may not feel the need to fact-check or look at the details before undertaking a role. Overconfidence can then lead to poor decision-making, which can have disastrous consequences.

How overconfidence leads to poor decision-making
Typically, a risk assessment and method statement will clearly highlight the potentials risks. The individual or team could assume the job looks straightforward in their experience, and overconfidently begin work. A practical example is a slinger / signaller going to work on a site having not undertaken a rigorous assessment of the perimeter in which the crane will work. Having failed to assess the risk of worker traffic crossing this perimeter, he will inevitably endanger co-workers’ lives.

Whilst this is one example of the risks that can occur, smaller everyday risks are often taken on construction sites. From minor to major injuries, overconfidence is a real problem for construction sites and project managers.

How to reduce overconfidence on-site
Putting in more precautionary measures doesn’t always foster a better sense of safety on-site. It can have the opposite effect and make employees and contractors feel immune to any risks.

We’ve created Mosaic Perception, which is designed to address overconfidence at its root. This system uniquely measures a contractor’s confidence vs. knowledge ratio via an online assessment tool. This tool can be used on-site and in the office, and especially where there may be undiscovered gaps in staff knowledge. Where there is a high churn rate, Mosaic Perception can help reduce overconfidence.

Mosaic Perception helps companies to identify potential shortcomings within their workforce’s knowledge. Training is essential for many reasons, and retesting using Mosaic Perception will help ensure a return on investment. Not only does this keep costs down, it will also help to reduce associated risks and potentially save lives.

How we’ve helped businesses
We’ve helped a number of businesses, especially high-risk construction businesses, address and reduce the issue of overconfidence in their workforce. Speak to us today for a free demo (or even trial) of Mosaic Perception and our suite of supportive apps and software.




Our level of confidence is a prominent factor in our decision making. However, reducing overconfidence through training can improve safety!

We’ve all thought it before at one time or another: “It won’t happen to me”. While this confidence may come in various forms, it’s often the cause of us arrogantly brushing off safety initiatives. Each time our confidence fuels the decision to not take even minor safety precautions, we’re actively choosing the option associated with the greater risk.

The Psychology of Overconfidence

Adam Kepecs, professor of neuroscience at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, believes that confidence isn’t just a feeling, but a scientific calculation used to make decisions.

“The feeling of confidence ultimately relies on the same statistical computations a computer would make,” 

While we can’t pinpoint the exact algorithm, the brain uses to calculate confidence in our decision making, we do understand enough about it to know that confidence can inflate itself over time. When we don’t experience a bad outcome from our risky decisions, we’ll be more confident that things will turn out fine the next time we face the choice to follow or violate safety protocols.

In other words, it becomes easier and easier to make unsafe choices because those experiences made us overconfident. And that overconfidence, in turn, makes us underestimate the risks we face.

Education Prevents Overconfidence

Knowing the role that confidence plays in decision making can help us drive home safety initiatives.

It’s important to have more than just safety procedures and standards in place. If those work well, they can still encourage employees to believe they are immune to safety risks. Safety professional need to focus some of their efforts of education as well. By making sure the facts about the risks, hazards, and dangers in their workplace and those like theirs are in the forefront of their minds, workers can keep their confidence in check and resist the temptation to ignore safety protocols.

Ensuring everyone’s safety is about more than just enforcing safety standards; it’s also about educating the employees so they never forget why those standards were implemented in the first place.

What we do…

We often work with clients who work in high risk industries, such as the construction and utility sector, who tend to have more disparate and fluid workforces than most. We are able to initially help identify and thereafter improve and monitor either teams or individual working performing safety critical tasks. Results can be viewed instantaneously in the form of real-time data on the competence and confidence of each individual at specific times and dates.

At Mosaic we understand that simply holding a record of employee qualifications, licences and training courses is insufficient in the current working environment. You certainly need piece of mind to know that your workforce can deliver in the way that is safe and productive. What we do is work closely with our clients to create role specific assessments that align with goals and corporate strategy.

To read more about our Mosaic Perception product then please follow the link

Source: Makkugo GL