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Employee activation programs, or incentive programs, are actions undertaken by employers to motivate their employees to work more effectively, resulting in achieving an attractive profit. The objective of activation programs is to motivate employees to actions that will benefit both them and the entire company. The priority of the programs is to act according to the incentive principles – a parameter that motivates people to carry out a given task, resulting in the achievement of benefits, winning a prize, and an increase in salary.

Employee incentive programs are particularly popular in the sales industry. Over the last few years, a number of such programs have emerged. The most accurate ones, for achieving their goal, offered their employees, the best of the best, awards such as: a car, the most modern electronic equipment, distant trips abroad to the United States or Asia, abounding in a multitude of incredible experiences like crossing the famous Harley-Davidson Route 66 or flying a helicopter over the Great Canyon. It sounds tempting, right? That is what this is all about!

Analysis of the types of incentives indicates that financial, moral, natural and coercive incentives are predominant. Such a trend is leading mostly in the commercial sector.

The operation of activation programs is based on a specific scheme. The management establishes a specific target (e.g. sales, quantity, percentage) for a given group of employees. Those from the group who will fulfill the task (or will perform it best) will be adequately rewarded, as planned. Currently, activation programs are prepared, among others, using web platforms – specially prepared websites or mobile applications, on which, after logging in, employees see what they have to do to win a given competition, or gain points appropriate to the tasks they later exchange for prizes. It is absolutely essential to ensure an appropriate ‘price for quality’, i.e. to establish a support prize with a value proportional to the activities undertaken. At present, in well run programs, these profits are so attractive that they stimulate, respectively, to perform additional tasks, gain indirect business goals, and strengthen business relations. At the same time, they create a sense of competition and positive competition within the company, which is an indispensable element of the sales industry and an extremely effective driving force for action.

A novelty on the market, not only in the retail segment, are programs to activate employees in areas not related to achieving sales results or achieving objectives related to their positions. In such programs, the tasks consist in acquiring complex knowledge and new skills, which will bear a high interest in the future. Additional incentives to participate are attractive prizes such as a stay in a SPA, specialist training in safe driving or other prizes focused on the development of individual skills or focused on the employee’s nearest environment. The most important thing is that the prizes are related to the theme of the whole program.

Examples of incentive programs of this nature include projects concerning Occupational Health and Safety, Road Safety and Environmental Protection in the broad sense. A characteristic feature of this type of programs is care for the employee. These programs are not about the company, the results, the profits… but about the employee. Importantly, such projects also affect the immediate environment of workers – families, children – because ensuring proper preparation in the field of health and safety in road traffic inevitably translates into ensuring safety and care outside the workplace. Every knowledge in this area is always needed! The ability to give first aid can be useful to anyone at the least expected time.    Motivational programs are particularly important for HR of the company – they activate employees to take actions for their well-being, which in the long run translates into the good of the whole company.

Employee activation programs in the non-material sense are often related to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR consists in investing by enterprises in human resources and environmental protection (while meeting formal and legal requirements), which in the long run may have a significant impact on the increase of efficiency and innovation in the conducted business activity. Each such program can be adapted to the CSR policy pursued by the company and its mission, involving its employees in its implementation.

Often OSH trainings or workshops with the latest news in road traffic law are associated with boring, forced, many-hour lectures.  We decided to break the stereotype and solve the problem in a different way. To prove that the activation of employees in difficult areas can be done in a pleasant
and cunning way, and at the same time clear and long remembered. Currently we are implementing our own project for one of the outsourcing centers in Poland concerning health and safety at work. Does the subject sound familiar and discouraging? Not this time! Our innovative ideas allowed us to build an individualized program, consistent with the center’s international policy.

The project is addressed to office workers. It would seem that working at a desk is safe, but the statistics show that this is not the case. Office workers are three times more likely to fall than others (!), with almost 10% due to trips against chairs, protruding drawers, carpets and office equipment. Office workers are exposed to, inter alia, falls, spine diseases, neuroses, visual defects. What is more, it is risky to work in tall buildings today, despite the fact that they are equipped with advanced technologies for evacuation and protection against various dangerous events. Therefore, activating employees in this area, although it seems trivial to many, is important. Our objective is to show desk workers how to follow the rules of health and safety, but not with the help of uninteresting presentations, but among others, practical workshops on communication in stressful situations, instructions for escaping from a tall building or a smoky room, workshops on the proper use of fire extinguishers. These workshops do not focus on conveying theoretical attitudes or behaviors, each participant goes through the above activities, enters a real smoky room and has the task of getting out of it. Everything takes place under the control of firemen. Throughout the whole year, in the framework of program there will be organized events on specific issues. We are expanding the issue of compliance with safety rules also in the area of private life and road safety. In large cities, commuting to work takes on average 2 hours a day, regardless of the chosen means of transportation, each employee is exposed to traffic accidents which usually occur between 16 and 17 (according to the Accident and Collision Record System). Bicycles, scooters and motorcycles are becoming increasingly fast popular means of transport. People using public transport are also exposed to transport accidents because they participate in pedestrian traffic. The second most frequent type of accident in Poland, immediately after side collisions of vehicles, are pedestrian accidents. What is very important, the program assumes active involvement of participants and their families (!!!) in practical workshops with specialists from specific fields. We assume that providing our employees and their closest ones with their knowledge in a fascinating and unique way will enable them to use their skills in all conditions. At this point it should be emphasized that by organizing family picnics, cycling towns for children, we are shaping correct attitudes related to
safety among the youngest. Children and the elderly cause the most accidents among cyclists. That is why it is so important for them to be properly educated. The project also promotes health care. Our program pays great attention to first aid. The company purchased a defibrillator, which is available to all employees of the office building thanks to increased knowledge of its capabilities. We want to show everyone how important human life and health is, how to take care of these values. To teach practice instead of offering passive listening to theory. In the area of employees’ health, an event will also be organized to promote a healthy lifestyle. We expect workshops with dietitians, fitness and yoga workshops, as well as the possibility of performing basic tests free of charge.

For the employees – participants of the program – a specially prepared website has been launched, where they can, on the one hand, control on an ongoing basis what tasks are to be performed, on the other hand, prove themselves in knowledge tests, and compete with each other in a positive sense of the word. In the social media, we publish factual content, intriguing photos and videos about the current problem. Our goal is to gain the widest possible audience through innovative and unusual activities.

What can entrepreneurs gain from implementing such a program?

Employees with a greater sense of safety and awareness of working in a safe place. The stimulation of activity and involvement of employees in CSR policy or fulfillment of the company’s mission has a significant impact on the effectiveness of the work of the entire organization. A safe employee, both at home and at work, with skills that will help him take care of the safety of his loved ones, acts to strengthen his attachment to the company and the brand, increase loyalty to it and involvement in the performed duties. Regardless of the time, the knowledge and competence of the employee are always at a price. And, of course, breaking down the statistics and reducing the number of accidents at work.

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