In honor of June being National Safety month, I would like to discuss how safety award programs can promote safety in the workplace and reward team safety efforts. Safety incentive programs will generally include goals for both individual achievements as well as team accomplishments and are generally implemented in conjunction with safety related activities such as training sessions and safety meetings to communicate the safety initiative.
Team safety awards have always been an important aspect of an incentive program because, as Susan M. Heathfield, author of Your Guide to Human Resources, notes in her article on teamwork, “The lone ranger, even if she is an excellent producer, is valued less than the person who achieves results with others in teamwork. Compensation, bonuses, and rewards depend on collaborative practices as much as individual contribution and achievement.”
Teams are great to use for multiple purposes but when it comes to safety, the message should be consistent and clear. Goals for each group as well as expectations should be clearly defined and communicated at the inception of the safety incentive program. In another article by Susan M. Heathfield, on teamwork, she recommends to managers, “Form team relationship guidelines or team norms early toensure team success.”
Team safety award programs can be communicated initially with emails, posters, statements and kickoff meetings. Communication can be maintained throughout the program with these tools and a safety incentive website that serves as the hub for the program. Newsletters, goals and program information can be integrated in the safety award program website for consistent communication over time.
Goals for groups in a safety promotion are usually taken from the guidelines defined by the safety program. Depending on what the organizational safety objectives are, goals may range from team perfect attendance over a single quarter and having all team members complete an annual physical to one time goals such as teams that establish a new safety practice that reduces or eliminates safety hazards and having a team with all members who attend a safety committee meeting on a given topic.
By adding incentives to any safety initiative, goals are met more often and on a more consistent basis. Betty Heim reports in an article titled The Power of Incentives, “Safety-incentive programs can also foster team work, lead to mutual respect between management and employees, activate stronger relationships and better communication in the workplace--all rewards in themselves.”
Safety incentive programs are a great way to make the connection between what people are being asked to do and what they can earn safety awards for. An Ezine article advises managers, “Safety needs to go beyond the training session and into the work environment. Safety is the responsibility of every person in the work environment, so make it everyone's job to ensure the safety of everybody and keep it fun and challenging.”