Incentives for Workplace Safety
Accidents are costly - in lost time and equipment, disrupted production and delivery, and in compensation, insurance, and indirect costs. Reducing accident costs is an important strategic issue for many companies, because of global competition, and experience rating in compensation assessment. Major savings can go right to the bottom line.
The Right Incentives Motivate Employees to Cut Accidents
Safety must include technically-sound motivational methods as well as excellent engineering of facilities, equipment, materials, and processes. In the past, motivation techniques have often been used casually, with limited impact. However, there is now a technical basis for reliable motivational methods, particularly incentives. Research shows that sophisticated incentive programs like Northport's IncenTech are the most effective way to further improve safety in well-managed workplaces.
Research and workplace experience show that well-designed incentives are the best way to support positive motivation for safer behaviour. Accident reductions of 30-50% are common - a European truck fleet improved over 80%. Benefit/cost ratios around 3/1 are realistic - a large U.S. mining company had returns over 20/1. Program payouts can be tied to actual benefits - with the company, managers, and workers all sharing the savings. The question is not if incentive programs can be effective, but rather how to design or redesign them to maximize the benefits and sustain them over time.
Safety Incentives Also Help Improve ProductivityA good safety incentive program produces benefits beyond the direct safety improvements. It shows that the company is concerned about its people, focuses workers' attention on a corporate priority, and gives employees a common cause with each other and management. Developing and operating a program provides opportunities for positive communication between management and employees, among work team members, and between departments. The resulting healthier climate builds teamwork, morale, and productivity - everybody wins.
IncenTech Supports Other Safety InitiativesIncentives complement and support other management and engineering safety initiatives. Effective incentive programs are easiest in those companies with well-engineered hazard control programs and organizational cultures strong on trust and communication. However, good incentive programs may be especially critical in companies who wish to improve. A sophisticated program could lead an organizational-development effort to improve hazard control.
Incentives Complement Other Influences on Safe Performance
Many factors are critical to effectiveness in incentive programs. What the program does and how it comes about will determine how much benefit it produces. The way in which a program is developed will have strong impacts on how it is perceived by both management and employees. There are about thirty known factors that can be critical to success, and many program design options and variations. Maximizing effects requires the right design, implementation, and operation of the program for your company's needs. These will vary with different companies' scale, management style, corporate culture, and the variety of operations. Matching the program to the operations is required for a program that really works.
IncenTech is founded on the in-depth theoretical understanding and broad scientific knowledge in risk taking and risk reduction. Northport Associates combines this with a hands-on practical approach to implementation. The behavioural technology is powerful, but successful implementation is not automatic. Specialized knowledge is needed to build a program that really works and produces satisfaction in both management and workers. We are the specialists.
The Development Process is Important to a Quality ProgramA number of steps are necessary to develop or refresh an effective incentive program. The development and operation of the incentive program will vary according to the particular needs of your organization. The process need not be complicated, time consuming, or costly, but it has to be right and be seen as right. The program will be more effective when it involves employee participation and responsibility - people show greater commitment to goals they have helped define. We would work with your staff to develop a custom plan for you.
Who Does What to Produce Effective Results?Northport Associates provides a flexible service in support of incentive program interventions. We are prepared to customize a service package to meet the needs of your organization. Some options are:
Provide a generic program plan for staff implementation
Train your staff to plan, implement, & maintain programs
Develop a custom plan, "turnkey" or with your staff
Our aim is to get your program up and running as efficiently and effectively as possible. We will provide ongoing advice, consultation, and review, as needed.