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Workplace Solutions

Making a safety incentive program more effective

July 15, 2013

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My organization's safety incentive program isn't as effective as it could be. What changes should I consider making?

Responding is Jim Speir, vice president of sales, SVM, Des Plaines, IL.

Creating a safe work environment is one of the most important things you can do as an employer. Achieving that goal through a safety incentive program is a common method for many organizations, but all programs are not created equal. An effective safety incentive program can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line; insurance rates go down, productivity increases. Developing a program takes time and research and your approach largely depends on your organization’s industry, size, number of employees, and budget.

Here are a few guidelines and tips to make the most out of your organization’s safety incentive program:

Define and communicate

An effective program starts at the top—having upper level management’s full commitment and support of the program creates unity and ensures everyone is on the same page. Once management is on board, having a well-documented philosophy that clearly defines program goals, objectives and guidelines is necessary before implementation. This philosophy needs to be clearly communicated throughout the entire organization, which should include in-depth training and education sessions on best practices.

Choose incentives that motivate

Developing a program based on incentives that employees not only want, but need, can go a long way in strengthening safety and health in the workplace. Many incentive studies have shown that gift cards are one of the most popular and effective options within the safety incentive category. Seventy-six percent of respondents to Incentive Magazine’s “Gift Card IQ” survey, released in September 2012, are currently using gift cards in their reward programs. Gasoline cards and gift cards to stores like Walmart and Home Depot provide utility, practicality and flexibility for the recipient. Consulting a third party incentive provider can give an organization insight as to what gift card brands would be the most effective based on the unique composition of their employee base. Companies can also form a committee of employee representatives to review and choose incentives from a pre-determined list.

Find a turnkey solution

Accuracy in tracking, measuring and reporting is one of the most difficult aspects to maintain in any incentive program. If you are using gift cards as an incentive, consider using an aggregator who offers a variety of brands and quantities. Using a single source for a variety of gift cards will simplify the ordering process and save time and money. Resellers can handle the selection, distribution and even reloading on specific cards which also makes tracking and receiving your order a much simpler process as all cards will be arriving quickly in a single package, ready to distribute to qualified employees.

At the end of the day, employees’ safety and wellbeing will always be a priority and top-of-mind for employers. Having an effective safety incentive program can help provide peace of mind for management and ultimately, increase the bottom line.

Editor's note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

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