The Dos and Don’ts of Creating a Safety Award Program
Safety recognition programs are an essential part of a healthy and safe work environment. Not only do they help keep everyone safe, but these programs promote employee engagement and reduce the costs associated with workplace accidents. In fact, one of our biggest custom award categories is safe driver awards for trucking companies! Our awards have been used to celebrate years of safe driving, safe miles driven, safe winter driving, and other unique safety achievements.
As with any initiative, careful planning is key. Here are our “dos and don’ts” to avoid the pitfalls, and maximize the effectiveness of a safety award program.
Don’t - Focus on injury reporting when creating the criteria for the program. Many companies have made this mistake, resulting in employees underreporting their injuries in order to receive their incentive.
Do - Use behavior-based metrics. Recognize and reward employees for actively participating in safety practices. This could be participating in meetings or committees, making safety suggestions, or carrying out improvements.
Don’t - Use contests or group rewards in the program unless teamwork is a strong part of the company’s culture. This has the potential to create negative peer pressure.
Do - Get management support before launching the program. Managers are key to ensuring the program runs smoothly. Without their buy-in, the program is prone to inconsistencies in reporting and ultimately, failure.
Don’t - Expect employees to participate enthusiastically if they see management isn’t.
Do - Involve employees in the process. No one is more attune to relevant safety concerns than the people in the field. Create opportunities for employees to participate in committees, safety tours, investigations, demonstrations, and other initiatives. This helps engage employees and creates an open dialogue about workplace safety.
Do - Keep it simple. The safety award program should be easy for everyone to understand and follow along.
Don’t - Make it complicated; especially when launching a brand new program. Companies should pick the metrics that matter most and concentrate on those. Other awards can be added as the program grows.
Do - Have a kick-off event where the criteria is clearly explained. This will help mark the start of the program and allow people to ask any questions.
Do - Make sure the criteria is always available for all employees to reference. If the company uses a point-based recognition system, employees should be able to easily check their progress.
Don’t - Make frequent changes to the program. Constant adjustments will squash morale as employees won’t be sure what’s expected of them or how to achieve their goals.
Do - Make sure safety is a core value in the company’s culture if it’s not already. This will help drive the program’s long-term success.
Do - Use the safety award program to create a positive experience with safety compliance. By recognizing desired behaviors, the program avoids negative reinforcement that results in reduced morale, communication, engagement, and safety.
Do - Keep the program in the forefront of people’s minds. This can be done through spotlights on specific employee performance, updates on how the company is progressing toward it’s safety goals, personal thank-yous to team members, and more.
Don’t - Replace a full safety program with the award program. The award program is meant to complement and strengthen an existing safety program. It is not a substitute for corporate safety compliance measures.
Do - Award people often. Managers shouldn’t wait for formal award ceremonies to celebrate their team member’s success. Combining timely frequent recognition with formal awards is a great way to keep the program fresh and relevant.
Don’t - Let awards become inconsistent. It’s important that the criteria, qualifications, and awards are evenly enforced across the company. Irregularities will chip away at the structure of the program and may invite accusations of favoritism.
Do - Make sure the awards are meaningful, valuable, and desirable. Safety is a critical value for many companies, and that value must be felt when recognizing employees. As custom award experts, we’ve spent the last 54 years creating unique and treasured awards for a wide variety of industries. Jewelry awards can be proudly worn by their recipients and can even be upgraded as they continue to achieve their goals.
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