Serious businesses will want to improve workplace health and safety. I mean actually improve H&S, and not just have figures that indicate good H&S. In this short article I explore:
- Why over-relying on incentives can be a bad thing.
- How one software feature can address this problem.
WHY OVER-RELYING ON INCENTIVES CAN BE A BAD THING
One way to do encourage safety is by offering incentives to encourage workers to report minor incidents, near misses, dodgy-looking practices, and other issues which, if people don’t take the initiative to report them, will get missed. Incentives may include vouchers from staff canteen, or taking part in a draw for a big prize. And the reason behind such incentives is a good one: The company’s leadership want to ensure that all issues are identified, so they can be resolved, and workplace H&S improves.
The downside of relying on incentives is that it can twist the reasons why people report. From: This can be dangerous, we need to do something about it, I will report it …. to … Oh good, there’s danger potential there, I can get a free lunch, I will report it.
In both cases, a report is made, and the issue is addressed. So you could say that in both cases the result is a good one … So far so good … But what will happen if incentives are removed? Or changed to a plan that doesn’t strike staff’s fancy? …. Will the people in the second example go: Oh, that can be dangerous, but I won’t get anything by report it, sod it, it’s too much hassle.
So we see how over-relying on incentives may seem like a great idea, but could in practice lead to difficulties.
HOW ONE SOFTWARE FEATURE CAN ADDRESS THIS PROBLEM
I’m a great believer that software in itself doesn’t improve H&S at all. If the processes are no good, the company culture does not support H&S, etc, simply installing snazzy software will not lead to much change.
But software can be a great tool. One particular feature is quick and anonymous reporting using handheld devices.
So, if Bob notices something dodgy, he can quickly take a picture, complete a short form highlighting the issue, and off it goes to the designated person.
- This can be done anonymously so that Bob does not feel that he is ‘causing problems’.
- The form need only be a short one, which is quick, as it is only meant to alert the designated person. They can then investigate and collect further information.
- Having all this available on multiple devices means that Bob can simply use his phone or tablet, there and then. This is discreet, and makes the process really simple and easy, encouraging Bob to report the issue.
I guess the question here is this:
Do you want to create a culture where you only report issues because you can get something out of it? Or one where you report issues because it’s important to do so, and we will make it easier for you to report these issues, because we believe it’s very important?
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