Yes, poorly designed recognition (or incentive if you prefer) programs can miss their target, but properly built programs always, and I do mean always, hit their target to the benefit of all. And they do so without the Dan Pinkesque, nefarious sounding, problematic result of turning the award into the sole objective.
Mr. Galloway’s last sentence starts off “Rather than starting with incentive and reward programs, first get to know the individuals…”. Most people, managers included (maybe especially) do not roll out of bed every morning with a burning desire to get to know everyone they see. And yet, creating a culture of engagement (getting to know people) is by far the best way to get safety messaging through to its intended audience.
My company has built countless programs that demonstrate that “starting” with a properly built recognition/rewards program is absolutely the way to go because it helps managers engage with workers. In fact, in every study done on the subject the only thing that approaches recognition in importance is compensation. So, offer appropriate compensation and then recognize (and where appropriate) reward the behaviors that lead to a more engaged and safer workforce.
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