The Weekly Reflektion Week 24 / 2020

Appreciation of peoples’ efforts and good behaviours is important to encourage more of the same. There are many ways to recognize people who do a good job, for example, verbal and written feedback, rewards, bonus etc.  It is important that there is a clear connection between the efforts and behaviours and the recognition, and that the reward is suitable.  

What signals do you send to the people in your organisation through your words and actions? What do these signals say about your motives? What do these signals say about how to achieve company objectives?

When I was working offshore, we talked about how to recognise people when they did a good job and when they displayed good behaviours. The company I was working for at that time had a scheme where bonuses could be paid to people on the recommendation of the management. The scheme was not used extensively, and bonuses tended to be paid for extraordinary efforts that effectively set a high expectation for what constituted a bonus. It seemed a bit over the top for the recognition of the day to day efforts made by the people onboard. One of the supervisors mentioned that he gave out chocolates to the people in his team in recognition for their efforts. The condition was that the chocolates had to be shared with the rest of the team and anyone else that happened to be around when the packet was open. Everyone benefitted, everyone knew why the sweets were given out and no one got upset and jealous. We decided to extend the scheme to everyone on the platform and we bought in boxes of ‘Kong Haakon’ chocolates as the reward. We also encouraged people to give feedback on people or teams that deserved a box of chocolates so that peoples’ efforts and behaviours should not go unnoticed. The scheme was a success although it did little to help in the health and fitness campaign that was also ongoing.

A colleague received feedback on a crane driver that had carried out a difficult lift from a supply boat. The weather conditions were borderline for the lift and the weather was deteriorating. The successful lift allowed a planned well operation to progress and prevented a significant delay in the work. My colleague considered this effort to be worth a box of chocolates and the crane driver was duly recognized and rewarded. One of the supervisors expressed some concern on this recognition as it could be perceived to be encouraging people to push the limits rather than stop the job if it were considered unsafe. My colleague immediately recognised the message that he may be sending and reflected over what to do and how to address this dilemma. Three months later a similar situation arose and this time another crane driver refused to carry out a difficult lift due to the weather condition. My colleague recognized this by giving the crane driver a box of chocolates for not carrying out an activity that he believed was unsafe. My colleague then talked to the people on the platform about the two incidents and his reflection over the messages that he was trying to send and the behaviours that he was trying to encourage. He explained his immediate reaction to reward efforts before he fully considered the implications of this recognition. He talked to the people about the balance between getting the job done and stopping the job if it was not safe, or something unexpected happened or people were unsure. The resulting dialog was very productive and helped to strengthen the trust between the workforce and management on the platform, not least on the expectations on stopping the job.

People respond positively to recognition of their contribution in particular if they themselves feel they have done a good job. Recognition will encourage similar efforts from others in the organisation. However, are we sure that we are encouraging the right behaviours? If we encourage people to push the limits and take chances, then sooner or later there will be an accident or incident.

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