Incentives, Rewards, & Recognition

Incentives, Rewards, & Recognition: What To Do and What Not To Do

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Many efforts for improving safety performance include rewards or incentives. While the theory of incentivizing safety is well intentioned, the practice varies from effective, to ineffective, to harmful. Additionally, there are many new discoveries about how incentives and rewards really work and new thinking on how to best use them.

If you already have a program of rewards or incentives for safety in place, don't suddenly stop it. This can do more damage than good. The best approach is to transition your existing program into a more effective program over time.

The correct use of motivational strategies for safety is critical to the accomplishment of safety excellence in any organization. If you are like many companies, you have probably experienced widely differing results with many of the off-the-shelf programs available. Consolidating these various strategies into a coherent and effective set of best practices is becoming increasingly important because of the tendency of incentive programs to either fail or go horribly wrong.

Some incentive programs have simply become a waste of resources because they have not improved motivation or performance. Others have done serious harm to the safety culture, to safety results, and to relationships with represented workforces. Avoiding these problems is possible by following some basic guidelines which is well worth the effort in terms of results.

Improvements in the effectiveness of safety motivational programs is possible regardless of whether you have existing programs, past attempts, or have never tried. The guidelines shared in the workshop are designed to help make the best use of safety motivational strategies.