Why do behavior based programs sometimes fail?
Every ad for a new behavior based safety process or program should carry a label “some assembly required.”
That means that there is no free lunch. Somebody has to open the box and put the pieces together. Here are some common reasons behavior based safety program fail…
- They can be overly complex and time consuming to administer
- Observations don’t include people intervening to help change behavior
- Pencil whipping (a common problem among older processes) wherein the observers just fake filling out the forms to meet a quota
- Too Much Negative Reinforcement (it’s like Kryptonite to behavior change)
- Hardly any positive reinforcement (it’s like steroids for behavior change)
Why do some labor unions and workers dislike behavior based approaches?
A wise CEO once told my father, “People who get unions deserve them.”
Unions arise because employees are mistreated, cheated, and negatively reinforced for so long that enough is enough.
In the worst of these situations, the union leaders may begin to feel that their existence is threatened when management tries to change their behavior. Thus, the cycle continues and unions will be with us for a long long time.
The solution for this is probably to locate union operations where behavior based safety has thrived. Get these people into your shop to help break down the walls of miscommunication & mistrust. Focus on positive instead of negative reinforcement.
What’s the big deal with “lagging” versus “leading” indicators?
We have a whole generation of managers who just need to retire. The worst thing has happened to them: They setup one reward/incentive program somewhere back in the 70’s or 80’s and injuries fell by 80%. Now, they faithfully continue paying people to hide injuries years later.
It’s like a gambler who wins one time with the slot machine and then loses everything he owns trying to re-create that first win.
Come on guys, give it up. Incentives are dead. We buried them in 2006.
Rewarding people because their team worked X days or hours without reporting an injury only produces two behaviors:
- Fraudulent or questionable work comp claims are eliminated as people decide it best not to hurt their buddies.
- People who are legitimately hurt will often hide the injury and “take one for the team.”
These lagging indicator reward programs don’t change any behaviors beyond the ones above. And you have to change behavior to get safer.
Why should I forget shooting for “zero injuries”?
Forget it, you’ll never get there. Shooting for zero injuries will leave you with a trickle of LTI’S and recordables. Instead, shoot for zero unsafe behaviors!
Now there you have something. And raising the bar means you have to get upstream and become “behavior based” in your thinking.
Isn’t A Paycheck Enough?
Well, not if you want the kind of performance and loyalty that it takes to excel in today’s competitive business environment. Doing more, with less is a way of life in business today. According to every major employee survey for the last 50 years, the number one factor in job satisfaction is not money. It’s recognition and appreciation. Money ranks 6th. But most managers don’t know how to systematically recognize and reward positive behaviors among their employees.
In addition, lack of recognition is the number 1 reason good employees leave their jobs. What does it cost you to replace a valuable employee? One and a half times their annual salary! Consider: almost every top executive in every industry receives a major portion of their income from bonuses or rewards. Why not do the same for all your associates? Your employees will perform better and stay longer with an effective recognition and recognition program. It’s human nature, and smart business.
Does Safety Recognition Cause Injury Hiding?
Poorly designed programs do, but we’ve trademarked a process that avoids that. We’ll design a program for you with rules that are carefully designed to ensure injury reduction without injury hiding. If you’re worried about injury hiding and would like to hear more, just give us a call.
Can’t We Do This Cheaper Ourselves?
Many people think that all you have to do is buy a few gifts and give them away. Other people think that they can save money by buying cheaper gifts. Unfortunately, some people considering recognition plans get hung-up on gifts and pricing. Of course, giving quality gifts while paying reasonable prices is very important, but the bigger issue is, does the program work? A recognition program could be free, but if it doesn’t cut accidents, boost sales, or produce money-saving ideas, then it is a failure.
We provide you with more than 30 years of experience that will help you develop the programs you need to show meaningful results. With our turnkey programs, you won’t waste valuable time or money trying to reinvent the recognition wheel.
How Do We Cost Justify Recognition Programs?
It’s easy to see how quickly poor employee performance can burn up profits. With a little more analysis, you can see how improved employee performance can add big bucks to your bottom-line. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you cost-justify your program.
Isn’t Cash King?
In a word, NO! Sure, if you take the unscientific approach and ask employees if they’d rather receive cash or gifts as recognition, they’ll say, Oh, I’ll take the cash. However, if you simply point out that they’ll lose 40% of the cash to taxes, while a gift can be tax-free, most employees will choose the tax-free gift instead of cash. Remember, you have to pay FICA, Social Security, and more taxes on cash and store gift certificates.
A plant in South Carolina found that of their $20,000 cash recognition budget, only $11,000 actually went to the employees, while $9,000 was wasted on taxes! Even more important, cash recognitions are simply not as effective as merchandise and travel. Goodyear recently tested a promotion with half of their 900 dealers on a cash recognition, and the other half had merchandise as their recognition. The merchandise program was twice as effective as the cash. Cash is quickly spent on groceries or household bills, and soon forgotten.