Superstorm Sandy, Safety Incentives and Spot Recognition

Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm that pummeled the Northeast late last October, left an incredible wake of destruction in its path. From massive power outages to fires to flattened buildings, Sandy showed no mercy – but she did create a perfect opportunity for local safety and recovery professionals and emergency response teams to shine.

Incentive Magazine covers this topic in its January/February 2013 issue. “A Safe Recovery” by Andrea Doyle talks about how safety incentives played an important role in East Coast efforts to rebuild after Sandy. Hinda relationship manager Linda Wodele offered some insight on the importance of safety incentives, both with regard to Sandy and in other facets.

“The most successful safety incentive programs have successful safety habits at their core,” she says. “People are creatures of habit and fall back on what they know. If their habits are strong, they will hold up in a crisis situation such as Hurricane Sandy and the groundwork for working safely will be in place.

“We have seen an uptick of at least 15 to 20 percent in safety incentives in the last year,” she continues. “[Hinda’s] safety solutions take a behavioral approach to remind people to do the right thing on a daily basis.”

Reinforcing behavior is a great way to spread a culture of safety and instill safe habits within employees’ daily lives. An effective method for reinforcing behavior is with spot recognition – one example of which is Hinda’s “Scratch and Win” cards, which are pre-loaded with points that can be redeemed for merchandise.

“These types of awards are particularly popular as they encourage companies to take a preventative, day-to-day approach to safety,” Wodele says.

Michael Kelleher, Director of Sales and Operations for Kelleher Enterprises (Ann Arbor, MI), and a partner of Hinda, agrees and confirms the importance of having a culture of safety in place.

“The firms that have successful safety programs in place will be at an advantage because their employees will have safety protocol engrained in their daily work,” he says. “Safety incentive programs can effectively complement the training and communication programs that firms use to influence the behaviors of their employees while on the job.”

What does your company do to ensure a culture of safety among its employees? Does your company recognize its employees for following a high standard of safety protocol? Talk to Hinda if you’d like to learn more about how we can help establish a safety incentives program at your company, and read more about this topic here.

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Why Millennials & Baby Boomers Differ in Recognition & Rewards

We've discussed how Millennials will change the recognition scene, now let's take a look at why.

According to research from Inspiring Talent, a global survey of employee attitudes based on responses from more than 4,000 employees in 14 countries, Millennial workers are much less likely than Baby Boomers to believe that working harder and taking more responsibility will get them recognized and rewarded by an organization. Human Resource Executive Online recently posted an article online that nicely highlighted the findings of this research.

The research found that 38% of older workers (ages 56 to 60) believe they will be recognized and rewarded if they work harder or take extra responsibility. Only 19% of Millennial workers (ages 18 to 25) feel the same way.

This statisitic alone shows us there is a huge generational gap in the mindset of today's workforce when it comes to recognition and rewards. Realizing this is the first step toward effective incentive programs in the workforce. The research shows that Millenials believe they will be rewarded for results, not for how much time they spent on a task or what they did to produce those results.

Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant and director of professional oppotunities at DePauw University states that Millennials are motivated by the process of work, more than just completing the assignment.

Baby Boomers tend to have loyalty to a particular company or organization and feel as though their employers should reciprocate their loyalty by rewarding their achievements and providing job stability. Millennials expect more immediate rewards and are more inclined to move when they don't get what they want.

To accomodate the generation gap, employers should be flexible when creating their recognition programs and realize that one-size-fits-all will not be as effective as a tailored approach.

What do you think? Can you spot the differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers in your workplace? Do you agree with these findings?

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When to Recognize

While browsing through World at Work's most recent Trends in Employee Recognition report, I was intrigued by one particular statistic. Of companies with recognition programs, 90% offer some sort of Years of Service recognition, making it the most common program.

Years of Service programs can be controversial in nature. While employees should be rewarded for reaching milestone anniversaries within an organization, managers must be careful that these don't become their default recognition program. These programs reward presence and not behaviors, actions and achievements. In order to motivate employees, it's best to reward success and results.

The good news is that other types of recognition programs are on the rise. In the table below, you can see which programs are the most popular. It's clear to see that organizations are continuing to leverage newer programs that can have a more direct impact on business results such as above-and-beyond performance, peer-to-peer and suggestion/idea programs, as well as programs to motivate specific behaviors. In particular, programs designed to motivate specific behaviors were implemented by 25% of organizations with incentive programs in 2008. Now, 34% of organizations are implementing these programs. That's a 9% increase in three years.

Do you think programs designed to directly impact business will continue to rise? Will employers ever get rid of Years of Service recognition? Personally, I think it's best to have several different recognition programs in place. Do you agree?

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