Employee Spotlight: Linda Wodele

Hinda Relationship Manager Linda Wodele has been in the incentive business for 25 years and counting, dabbling in safety for most of that time. Is she a safety program specialist? She would disagree. "My specialty is employee programs," she says. "However, it eventually all comes around again. Safety incentive programs are one of our oldest programs."

Linda mentions how safety is becoming more and more important to the bottom line for companies in the current economy. "In a tough economy, companies are cutting back everywhere they can. A higher emphasis on safety programs helps those companies cut back on their workmen’s compensation expenditures," she says.

According to Linda, training is another thing that goes a long way in improving the safety level of a workplace. She says the safety training methods need to go beyond the initial training day. "Those training tips need re-enforcement and rewarding small steps with scratch cards are a great way to make that happen."

Rewarding small behaviors is a incentive method Linda has seen as the most effective way to re-enforce training and influence behavior. "Rewarding employees for doing the little things like wearing safety goggles or ear plugs does a lot in regards to raising the bar for safety," she says. "You start by rewarding the small behavior modifications and work your way up from there."

Do the types of rewards impact the effectiveness of a program? According to Linda, it certainly does. She explains how many safety programs that offer one really large prize for no accidents run the risk of encouraging un-reported injuries, making for a counterproductive safety program. The beauty of rewarding with points is that they can be smaller awards that are given more frequently. This helps greatly with the reinforcement of behaviors you wish to see. Participants can choose to redeem their points immediately, or they can save those points over time to potentially redeem for a larger, more coveted reward.