This article will focus on data measurement, which is the input stream necessary to make informed decisions about both the initial design and ongoing enhancements to your safety recognition/rewards program.

I define “The Four Pillars of Safety” as engagement, recognition, communications and measurement. 

Editor’s Note: To read this author’s articles about the other three pillars of safety, see ISHN’s June 2013 (“The ‘heavy lifting’ of safety,” pp.74-75), September 2013 (“No pandering, please,” pp.52-53) and October 2013 (“Build your brand,” pp.62,64) issues. 

I’ve been in the Incentive Industry for 25 years and this is one of the more perplexing realities that I have encountered: Even companies that do measure results rarely measure all the data points that they should, and often fail to take full advantage of the data they actually do receive. The best practices are to 1) plan for program measurement at the outset; 2) develop a detailed list of all the data points that can be measured; and 3) cross-pollinate (and triangulate) the data received to get more actionable reports.

Start with your plan

Ask those who will be affected by your safety recognition/rewards program what they want to know about its future impact. Don’t rule anything out because someone says it will be difficult (or impossible for that matter) to achieve. The naysayers will come out in this early stage for sure — “we don’t have access to that database…” or “our systems won’t support that request…” Their objections should be noted, but don’t let it stop you from capturing all ideas at this stage.

Take action prior to your program launch. Acquire baseline data and do pre-launch surveys and assessments to establish initial benchmarks. These are obviously essential if you have any hopes of showing your boss a comparison of the year one results with the prior year in which the program did not exist. Document workers’ safety attitudes and behaviors prior to those workers being influenced by the program designed to affect their behavior. If you are about to launch a program and have not yet issued baseline surveys to the target audience(s), delay your launch and do the surveying first.

Surveys establish perceptions of current working environments and are more important than the “realities” that management believes exist. This data is valuable when combined and mapped alongside one or more other data points to create a true data profile. Some possibilities include:

On a scale of one 1-10 with 10 being the best:

? How safe do you think your company is?

? How seriously do workers take job safety?

? How seriously does management take worker safety?

? How much does your supervisor know about what it takes for you to be safe at work?

? How helpful has your safety training been?

Results from questions such as these will be particularly valuable as your program matures and as changes in worker perception evolve.

Developing measurements

Truly think outside the box and consider how one data point can relate to another. Consider how much data you are already capturing, how much more you may have access to, and how much you can gather by conducting your own perception surveys. Combining data points to measure more thoroughly is the best way to “wow” your boss and your peers and to demonstrate that you have a crystal clear view of the programs for which you have advocated. Here is a short list of sample reports:

Comparative Data Report Examples:

? Claim Count Trends Compared to Employee Turnover

? Incident Rate Relative to Earnings per Share (or profitability)

? Employee Perceptions of Safety Before and After Program Launch (or other incidents)

? Correlation of Training Reinforcement, Employee Engagement Levels and Loss Pick Deviations

? Incident Rate for Employees That Have or Have Not Earned “Above & Beyond” Safety Points This Month (or quarter or year)

? Sales Trends Correlated to OSHA Incident Rate Trends & Employee Perceptions of Management

Relentless pursuit, tenacious manipulation

Be relentless in your pursuit and tenacious in your manipulation of data to gain the confidence to tell management, and workers alike, exactly what effect your program is having on overall operations.

Many full-service recognition/rewards program providers typically build into their solutions the data collection tools for detailed program measurement. Many such providers offer built-in survey and quiz tools which can be deployed at a moment’s notice to continually capture data. The better providers have on-staff experts to produce and analyze multiple data points simultaneously to generate regular and ad-hoc reports. They also actively manage the program calendar to ensure program messaging related to the measured results remains timely and relevant.

I recently attended a conference where I heard four diverse speakers: Andrea Jung, former CEO of Avon and board member of GE and Apple, Ken Chenault, chairman and CEO of American Express, Katharine Weymouth, CEO of The Washington Post, and former President Bill Clinton. I only name drop to make the point that these are wildly successful people who know a great deal about the topics they address. Each one spent a significant amount of time talking about the need to receive and rely on accurate, detailed, and timely data to make good decisions. The three business executives referred to it as crucial for ongoing success and President Clinton referred to it as being vital in global humanitarian efforts.

Data is the world’s compass. The most effective companies and departments do more to collect accurate data to plot direction than their less effective counterparts. Safety recognition/rewards solutions are data collecting “super-programs” because of the ways in which they help employers engage with their employees to gather such data. Once you have the data, use it to facilitate continuous solution improvements.