Carrot Vs Stick: An employer’s guide to motivating staff

Carrot on a stick isolated on whiteImprisonment, astronomical fines, closed businesses and, most tragically, lost lives – with so much at stake, it should be easy to get everyone excited about workplace safety. And yet somehow, no matter how loud you shout about the appalling consequences, the destroyed families and the ruined lives, the response is always the same. A shrug of the shoulders, a roll of the eyes: ‘…blinkin’ elf ‘n’ safety, innit.’

While it’s easy to blame the media for making light of the subject (have you heard the one about the OSH inspector and the Alsatian?*), or branding an entire nation ‘health and safety mad’ with their imbalanced reports of a few admittedly overzealous individuals, it’s equally important to take a long hard look at ourselves. After all, isn’t it possible that all that shouting and blustering is actually causing your employees to switch off? Perhaps it’s time to approach staff motivation in another way; that rather than constantly threatening them with the pointy stick of criminal proceedings, you could embrace the juicy carrot of employee rewards. In other words, by learning to celebrate your staff’s achievements rather than focusing exclusively on their shortcomings.

Recipe for success

The RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards were set up nearly sixty years ago in order to recognise precisely those achievements. Since then the scheme has grown in leaps and bounds, with the 2013 Awards seeing over 3500 people coming together to celebrate their Success Road Signsuccess. Sponsored by one of the biggest names in safety, NEBOSH, winning a RoSPA Award sends out a clear message not only to your clients and competitors, but also to your staff, who you should ensure are included in the Awards process every step of the way.

Motivate your team

As well as celebrating individual achievements, entering the RoSPA Awards can help boost the morale of the whole team. That’s why it’s vital to tell every employee the moment you decide to enter the Awards and get them involved from the start. Let them know your objectives, what you expect to receive and how they can help. This can be particularly valuable if your objective is to raise the profile of safety across your organisation.

Spread the word

Don’t just stop there though – tell all your customers and potential customers that you intend entering the Awards and your reasons for doing so. Write tailored press releases for each of your target markets, tweet about it, post it on Facebook, include it in your regular newsletter – using social media for publicity is a cheap and effective way of sharing your message. You don’t need to wait until you’ve received the award to get the word out!

One giant leap

Finally, as the co-ordinator of the Award entry submission, your organisation’s success is also a key personal achievement.  Add it to your C.V. and your LinkedIn profile – and tell your staff to do the same. Remember, when it comes to getting ahead in health and safety, being an Award winner can have a positive effect on your career!

Registration for the 2014 RoSPA Awards is now open

Further reading

Celebrating 4000 years of safety success

Why a good safety record really IS something to crow about

* An OSH Inspector enters a workplace and sees a sign reading “Danger! Beware of the Dog.” He then sees an old Alsatian lying asleep on the floor. “Is that the dog the sign is warning about?” asks the Inspector. “Yes,” replies the foreman. “Before I put the sign up, everyone kept tripping over him.”


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