How to Promote a Strong Safety Culture? Incentivize!
Googling “what motivates people” will lead to a variety of different answers, depending on the author opinion and some SEO magic. Psychologically, we have two principal kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is difficult to instill in others, but it is possible to motivate others with external (extrinsic) rewards.
Developing safety culture at the workplace produces its own rewards; however, most don’t end their day in celebration because they avoided injury. Bringing safety into conversations and developing a culture around the idea keeps work environments positive and families from suffering devastation. Pamphlets and safety handouts only do so much—but money talks!
Counteracting the safety resistance
One of the biggest challenges many companies face when integrating safety culture into the business is the conflict employees perceive with productivity. Both are necessary, but many employees feel that productivity outweighs the importance management places on safety. To successfully integrate safety into your culture, this perception and underlying attitudes must change.
Injuries are typically the result of valuing productivity over safety. It causes many employees to rush to meet important deadlines which isn’t just detrimental to safety but stifles efficiency by creating unneeded stress. While acute stress can enhance performance, good performers who constantly feel under the gun may experience chronic stress that can diminish the immune system and create fatigue.
Safety culture on the worksite shouldn’t command a lot of any one person or team’s time, but it can feel that way. Fixing this issue starts with taking a closer look at time management for both yourself and your employees. Find time to perform a risk assessment, properly train, and ensure execution moving forward. Making a solid strive for safety will minimize finger pointing and progress safety culture at the workplace.
It’s best to start by reevaluating deadlines, especially if it becomes apparent that projected timeframes are regularly too short for good risk management. Slowing down leaves more time for safety and improves quality. By reducing the need to rush through tasks, you’ll have the framework to build a great and effective safety culture. Solidifying the notion that safety is a genuine concern will be the next task.
Increase motivation with incentives
Everyone loves a bonus—an extra item falling from a vending machine can brighten someone’s day! Making safety into a priority involves making sure that following safety protocol isn’t going to dampen someone’s schedule and also offering rewards for following the rules.
Keep in mind, the goal of improving safety culture is to reduce injury, not reduce the number of incident reports. Make sure to understand OSHA’s position on incentive programs and measuring safety results before implementing a program of your own. Most importantly, realize incentives shouldn’t be built on hiding injury reports as this can lead some to hide a potentially serious injury.
Finance an event
Safety should be a group effort, especially in locations where workers are in close proximity or regularly interact. Incentivizing an entire group’s performance by funding something fun in your budget will lead to widespread behavioral changes. By setting up a system that assesses the overall group performance, you establish accountability for the entire team. If you don’t know what’ll be the most enticing, just ask—set up a survey online or ask during a meeting to learn what’s most popular!
Following are some great ways to encourage adherence to safety protocols.
Add bonuses to payroll
Keep note of who follows safety protocol whenever watching employees. This could mean observing some procedure or simply taking notice if proper PPE is being worn in passing. Every day someone follows the rules, factor this into a scoreboard. Those who have good marks for the days they follow the rules could have a small incentive that’s paid out at specified intervals. Add extra incentives for those who go out of their way to tackle unexpected health and safety situations, such as cleaning up a spill or repairing something creating workplace hazard.
If a team is doing well or someone stands out by taking on a little extra in the name of safety, then feed them! Perhaps set up a weekly or bimonthly schedule to pick up the lunch bill for a team that embraces safety culture. Those who step up to tackle a safety issue at the workplace can be individually rewarded. Not only does it reward their initiative, but a free lunch can resonate with bystanders and improve their motivation for following safety protocol.
Offer incentives beyond physical rewards
There’s a definite correlation between time and money, as a worker’s time is the currency they exchange for a paycheck. Some people simply can’t be bought, however—their time to themselves or with their family is what they hold most dear. Create time-based incentives such as extra PTO, vacation time, or personal days. Those who value their free time above all else will assimilate into safety culture in return.
Drive safety culture at your workplace
Developing an excellent safety culture often means reworking how you plan and execute projects. With more time and less rush, employees will be quicker to adopt safety culture—adding incentives will greatly improve workers willing to follow best practices. To build a great safety culture, talk to SafetyTek and find out how you create a better environment for your business.