How to motivate employees and promote loss control programs
A new loss control program often produces a flurry of activities — many departments are involved, and there is a high degree of participation by all employees. But how do you sustain interest in the program? Without continued motivation, employee response will gradually taper off and, after six months, the interest may be at pre-program levels.
To maintain interest, management should direct and control the loss control activities so that the employees will benefit directly. Interest will be sparked by activities that appeal to employees personally. However, not everyone is motivated by the same incentive; therefore, consider these factors that determine motivation:
- Self-Preservation: Fear of personal injury
- Personal or Material Gain: Desire for reward
- Loyalty: Desire to cooperate
- Responsibility: Recognition of obligations
- Pride: Self-satisfaction and desire for praise
- Conformity: Fear of being different
- Rivalry: Desire to compete
- Leadership: Desire to be outstanding
- Logic: Special ability to reason
- Humanity: Desire to help others
Programs should be planned using a systematic approach aimed at the factors that are most influential to the affected employees.
There are many types of program promotions that can create and maintain interest in the loss control efforts:
- Posters. These should be located in high-traffic areas, selected to promote a theme or call attention to a problelm, and changed monthly.
- Handouts. These can be used in conjunction with a monthly poster theme as reinforcement. Usually, handouts are included in payroll envelopes or they can be mailed to the employee's house.
- In-house newsletters. A separate section can be devoted to informing employees of current and future loss control activities, messages by top management, achievement toward goals, and ideas that worked.
- Suggestions. Employees should be encouraged to submit written ideas and suggestions. Providing a box where they can deposit their suggestions gives them the feeling of having a direct line to management.
- Group safety meetings. Generally, these are the most effective when they involve top management, are planned to promote or train, and are of short duration (up to 30 minutes).
- Individual safety contacts. Discussions are usually performed by the employees' supervisor on a scheduled basis (weekly to monthly) with one topic as the basis of discussion.
- Safety contests and campaigns. These can be designed to reward individuals or groups. The best results are achieved when everyone is involved and many types of activities work together to promote the campaign or contest.
Programs that show an interest from top management, through supervisors to the hourly employees, help create the spirit of cooperation. Effective communication is a motivation tool for many. When top management knows and participates in the program, it communicates to all employees that safety is a company-wide effort.
Employees must be motivated to reach the loss control goals established by top management. Programs that are designed to reach those goals should be systematic and effective. The more employees are motivated to participate in the loss control program, the more successful it will become.