There is a difference between “caring” and “acting.” The mission of behavior-based safety (BBS) is to promote and support “actively caring.” In this article, I want to introduce the STEP process of actively caring for people’s safety.
The STEP Process
The STEP process - See, Thank, Enter, Pass – starts when individuals look for Actively Care for People (AC4P) behavior from others (See) and show gratitude for that AC4P behavior with a green wristband (Thank) embossed with the words: “Actively Caring for People” and a unique identification number. The wristband recipient is requested to document this expression of gratitude (including the nature of the AC4P behavior) at the AC4P Website (www.ac4p.org), along with the wristband number. A recognition process is thus entered at the AC4P website and tracked worldwide (Enter) as positive AC4P communication. Then the wristband recipient is requested to look for AC4P behavior from another person and pass on the wristband (Pass).
Feedback and motivation
This STEP process exemplifies a basic principle of applied behavioral science–supportive feedback–and motivates the recipient to repeat the AC4P behavior recognized and support the STEP process. Many AC4P behaviors support safety, from wearing PPE and removing a hazard to reporting a close call and helping a coworker complete a work task safely.
Documenting and reading the safety-support behaviors posted on the AC4P Website contributes to helping AC4P behavior become a social norm. People see that acting beyond one's self-serving interests to benefit others is more common than imagined. A culture of interpersonal trust, compassion, and routine AC4P behavior is nurtured.
But the STEP process is easier said than done. Observing and rewarding AC4P behavior is not part of our normal routines, even within our own families. Stopping a work crew to provide supportive AC4P safety feedback is not expected and may not be appreciated. When walking a jobsite, supervisors and safety leaders do not normally look for desirable behavior to reward.
Consider that people typically stifle, a "thank you" with expressions like, "No problem" or "Just doing my job”. The blasé reaction of the recipient of supportive feedback diminishes the power of sincere gratitude to increase the occurrence of similar AC4P behavior
The AC4P wristband
Imagine receiving an AC4P wristband from a colleague, safety manager, direct report, supervisor, coach, or teacher who gives a gracious and tactful description of the AC4P behavior that justified this special recognition. What a pleasant surprise. This positive and unique encounter is bound to be shared with others. As positive exchanges accumulate, people around you will take note and report positive vibes about the AC4P Movement.
I’m describing a feedback process to help cultivate a genuine brother’s/sister’s keeper culture of interpersonal compassion and safety-supportive behavior. This is going a step further than recording BBS observations. You are taking the time to provide timely behavior-based feedback to support employees’ safe behavior and correct at-risk behavior. If you see something, say something.
The STEP feedback process
With the AC4P/STEP process, colleagues, supervisors, safety leaders look for AC4P behavior. When they observe safety-supportive behavior, they seize the moment to reward that AC4P behavior and empower another person to join the AC4P Movement. And if an employee accepts corrective feedback to improve or adjust relevant behavior, reward that person with an AC4P wristband and the AC4P-Movement message.
At times, safety-supportive behavior is easy to observe but inconvenient to reward with an AC4P wristband. An alternative approach: deliver your AC4P wristband as feedforward rather than feedback. Give an AC4P wristband to a worker or colleague after you perform an AC4P behavior for them.
After an individual thanks you for your AC4P behavior on behalf of his or her learning, safety, security, or well-being, pass on an AC4P wristband and ask this person to join the AC4P Movement. This is feedforward, and it activates safety-related AC4P behavior.
You might say something like: “Thank you for appreciating the positive behaviors performed by me and others in our workplace community. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us performed acts of kindness on behalf of others? This wristband reflects the AC4P Movement and I hope you will wear it and join us.
“Every wristband is engraved with its own ID number. I will record the ID number on the wristband I’ve given you when I report this AC4P event at the AC4P Website. Will you also report my act of kindness, along with the ID number on your wristband? The website address is engraved on the wristband, or you can visit the AC4P Website directly by logging on to www.ac4p.org.
“Look for opportunities to pass on your wristband, either after you perform an act of kindness for another person, or when you see another person help someone else. In the first case, you acknowledge your own act of kindness, as I did with you; in the second scenario, you reward someone for his or her AC4P behavior.”
You might use different words to do the following:
- Explain why you passed on the AC4P wristband to the beneficiary of your AC4P service
- Introduce the STEP process of the AC4P Movement, including the reporting of AC4P stories at the AC4P Website, along with the ID number on the wristband
- Encourage this new member of the AC4P Movement to pass on the wristband when s/he performs an act of kindness (as feedforward) or when s/he observes an AC4P act from another person (as feedback).
You can bring the AC4P Movement to life in your workplace and cultivate a brother’s/sister’s keeper culture–a culture where injuries are prevented by interpersonal AC4P behavior-based feedback to support safe behavior and correct at-risk behavior.