By John Kenney, Cotney Consulting Group.
Typically, the two things that come to mind about employee recognition are progressive discipline and incentives. The construction industry has used a progressive disciplinary procedure as a safety performance improvement tool for years, which will work well for roofing contractors. Employees who violate any applicable federal, state, or local safety regulations, company policies, and owner requirements will be subjected to progressive discipline. The resulting consequences range from a verbal warning to immediate termination from the company. Within traditional company discipline policies, the word "discipline" is often interpreted in the employee's mind as a punishment for violating a safety rule.
Typically a three-step progressive disciplinary process is used for all employees violating safety rules and regulations of company policies:
Examples of zero-tolerance items in roofing can include but are not limited to:
Other items to consider as part of a progressive disciplinary policy are:
Even though a progressive disciplinary program is a practical starting point, you need a paradigm culture shift to achieve a genuinely influential safety culture. The shift required comes with using a synonym definition from discipline to teaching.
Some best practice examples listed below will help make the process more effective.
Again, improving the recognition program in the workplace is one of the easiest ways to reduce losses. The process is simple, especially once you've made recognition a habit.
Let's look at the other end of the spectrum, a positive recognition policy. It is simple. When workers are made aware of their expectations and spontaneously recognized positively by management, there is a direct correlation between reductions in a traditional discipline program and an overall reduction in injury rates. Shifting the conventional thought process and implementing employee recognition becomes a critical component to the point where discipline may become nearly unnecessary, as it is known today. After all, isn't that the main goal in the first place?
Companies have reported that changing their interactions with people from focusing on the good rather than the bad has reduced unsafe behaviors. Reducing unsafe behaviors will improve productivity, profit and people's attitudes.
Reducing the need for discipline and giving the incentive to perform work safely will reduce the opportunity for injury.
I am not suggesting that teaching opportunities will never exist, but creating a culture recognizing employees in a way that fosters willingness on the employee's part toward positive recognition reduces the likelihood that discipline will be needed.
People are motivated in different ways. Some by internal rewards such as a sense of accomplishment, helping others, or doing a good job, and others through external rewards such as monetary recognition.
Below are some examples of how rewarding can be easy and effective:
Roofing companies should also consider the following best practices when developing their recognition/incentive programs. Never tie your recognition to lagging indicators such as the number of days without a recordable or lost time injury. This could lead to major incidents in the future. It can lead to underreporting and could lead to many accidents going uninvestigated. Provide an incentive or recognize employees using leading indicators such as:
As with discipline, recognize your employees promptly. Recognize employees with an appreciation lunch rather than tying lunches to milestones such as days without injuries, which can lead to underreporting.
Combining these two schools of thought, recognition, and discipline, into a Best Management Practice can be described as a "Carrots or Stick" scenario. The expression "carrot or stick" refers to a system of recognition and discipline that will result in desired behaviors. A "carrot" approach incentivizes good work with rewards, while a "stick" approach uses discipline to push people towards goals.
In the traditional sense, discipline is used if the incentive no longer serves as a motivator to perform. However, as we learned in this article in the paradigm shift model, discipline is now used as a teaching and learning opportunity.
Learn more about Cotney Consulting Group in their directory or visit www.cotneyconsulting.com.
About John Kenney
John Kenney is the Chief Executive Officer at Cotney Consulting Group. Prior to starting Cotney, John had 45 years of experience in the construction industry. John began his career by working as a roofing apprentice at a family business in the Northeast. Because of his skill and hard work, he progressed from roofing laborer to foreman, estimator, chief estimator, Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer with his various companies. John has worked for multiple Top 100 Roofing Contractors and is intimately familiar with all aspects of roofing production, estimating, and operations. In his last role, John was responsible for the daily operations and performance of a large commercial roofing contractor. During his tenure, John ran business units associated with delivering excellent workmanship and unparalleled customer service while ensuring healthy net profits for his company.
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