National Safety Month looks quite different this year than in years past. While worker safety should always be a priority for employers, protecting workers from COVID-19 should be a top priority in 2020 above all else.
This year’s National Safety Month should recognize the particularly vulnerable populations of workers who can’t work from home in order to provide the essential services we all rely on.
Here are just a few of many groups of essential employees we’ve identified to focus your safety program efforts on during National Safety Month and how to keep them safe and feeling appreciated, engaged, and motivated by using safety incentives during this unprecedented time.
The Role of Safety Incentives
For employers, supporting at-risk employees by keeping them safe is not only critical to maintaining the operations and health of a business, but it’s an opportunity to recognize the strength and sacrifices employees are making during this time. Increasing safety program participation across an organization or making employees who employ safe practices automatically eligible for rewards will incentivize others and increase adherence of a safety program across an organization.
Safety incentives can and should also be used to help employees procure essential items during the pandemic. Since the most essential items are either health and personal care items and groceries, providing gift cards to retailers like CVS Pharmacy and Home Chef are a great way to make procuring essential items easier on employees who are already dealing with high levels of daily stress. Ensuring employees can provide the food and health care items their family needs, delivered straight to their doors can help ease some of the anxiety during this time.
We've identified groups of vulnerable essential workers that can all benefit from safety incentives; however, each group has unique needs and wants that can most effectively promote their safety and wellbeing. Take a look at some of our suggested gift card brands for each group.
Fulfillment Center Employees
At fulfillment centers, employees are critical to business operations by ensuring supply chains are running and that orders are going out to customers on time. To improve safety, make sure employees are spaced apart according to social distancing guidelines and that masks are worn throughout the facility. Gift card rewards for delivery services may be the most helpful to fulfillment center employees since they are likely to work off hours and it’s more convenient to get what they need delivered. Some brands to consider are:
Healthcare Manufacturing Employees
In many cases, employees at healthcare manufacturing facilities are producing the personal protective equipment thathealthcare workers, essential employees, and the general population are depending on to stay protected from COVID-19. These jobs are essential, so it’s important to ensure that frontline supervisors are managing worker fatigue and providing the right rewards and incentives, for employees’ physical and mental health. Gift cards for electronics and streaming services are things that employees and their families can enjoy to take their minds off everything going on for a little while. Some brands to consider are:
Gig Economy Contractors
This sector of our economy are most likely ridesharing drivers, shoppers fulfilling grocery orders, and contractors delivering food from restaurants. These workers are independent contractors, so promoting their safety by rewarding safe behavior can help them avoid missing hours and earning potential. Gift cards in the convenience and gas or automotive categories would be essential to these contractors due to how much time they spend in their cars. Some brands to consider are:
Food Processor Employees
We are all hearing more in the media about the challenges that food processor employees are facing during this pandemic. They provide a critical piece of the food supply chain across the U.S., so ensuring social distancing, disinfecting protocols and encouraging employees who aren’t feeling well to stay home not only keeps themselves and other employees safe, it keeps operations running and grocery stores stocked. Gift cards for entertainment can be a small way to make time for themselves and relieve stress from demanding work. Some brands to consider are:
Energy Sector Essential Employees
Energy sector employees are keeping the lights on,and even more critically, our WiFi working. Employees working in the energy sector are used to safety protocols, safety talks to help workers recognize and control hazards and posters in the break room to remind workers that health and safety are important on the job. Extending these practices to COVID-19 related procedures will create a logical transition. Gift cards in the digital and gaming category can offer light entertainment for employees and their families when they’re not working to give them a rest after very critical work. Some brands to consider are:
Grocery Store Employees
The volume of customers and products that grocery store employees are exposed to each day requires extra precautions to ensure that safety is their main priority. Since they provide a critical service, ensuring social distancing, disinfecting routines and encouraging employees who aren’t feeling well to stay home doesn’t just keep employees and customers safe, it keeps grocery stores open and operating as well. Gift cards to specialty retail can give grocery store employees access to things not available at the stores or for things they can buy online. Some brands to consider:
Law Enforcement and First Responders
While first responders and law enforcement officers put their safety at risk each day, mitigating the risk of COVID-19 is a vital goal for department safety programs. This may involve adjusting shifts to minimize staff in certain buildings and ensuring face masks and additional PPE is worn at all times. Gift cards for sporting goods can give law enforcement and first responders more time with their hobbies and activities when they’re off-duty. Some brands to consider are:
Healthcare Workers and Healthcare Facility Support Staff
While healthcare workers’ safety may seem top priority at the moment, it’s important to ensure that facility support staff like those in hospital housekeeping and other supporting staff members also follow safety protocols as they perform their essential work. Gift cards for delivery services, entertainment and restaurants all can help make their lives that much easier after working around the clock helping patients. Some brands to consider are:
Now, more than ever, safety is crucial inside the workplace. Be sure to take advantage of National Safety Month as a time to focus on safety and wellness for these essential employees. It's a great opportunity to recognize and remind employees and their families that safety and well-being is a top priority—ensuring they have everything they need to get through these challenging times.
Want to explore all of our gift card rewards? Discover over 250 brands in our online gift card portal, Engage2Reward.