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Why We Are Giving Associates Incentive to get the COVID Vaccine

Company giving incentives to get COVID vaccine

It’s become apparent that we celebrated the end of the pandemic a little early. Believe me, I was one of the first people who couldn’t wait to rip my mask off. I hate wearing them. You can imagine the sense of relief I felt when I finally got my second shot. Then, as the COVID numbers dropped, and dropped some more, we could finally take our masks off. It seemed like we had really turned the corner on this thing.

Then the Delta variant showed up and changed everything. If you haven’t been paying attention to the news in recent weeks, Southwest Missouri has become one of the hotbeds for the spread of the virus. We’ve been featured in everything from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to the Today show. What’s been so tough about that is that the news coverage has focused on the fact that our area stands out as having one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

What’s frustrating about this is that we know that vaccines are one of the best defenses we have against the virus. It’s a proven way for us to help avoid losing any more of our loved ones and coworkers on top of those we already continue to mourn, like our former associate Warren Burros who passed away in April 2020. And yet, as a business, we have avoided mandating vaccinations even though we think the vaccination rate among our associates in Springfield tracks at a similar rate to our community’s (though our facilities in Illinois and Kentucky report much higher vaccination rates).

You Gotta Wanna

It’s been my experience that forcing people to do anything, including something you think can help save their life, usually doesn’t go very far. After all, as the first Higher Law of the Great Game of Business says, You Gotta Wanna.

So, in what has become typical for our company over the years, we decided to tackle this challenge by turning it into a game.

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The Incentive To Change


One of the fundamental practices at the root of the Great Game of Business is something we’ve come to call a MiniGame™—which you can think of as a short-term incentive plan designed to solve a problem inside the business without confrontation. The whole idea is to reward a team for finding a way around whatever problem or challenge you’ve identified. The beauty of a well-designed MiniGame is that once people rally together to beat the challenge, we find permanent solutions.

Well, the biggest challenge our business faces right now is to find a way to keep our associates as safe, healthy, and productive as we possibly can. When people are out of work on quarantine, that shifts an incredible burden onto the shoulders of those still working. That’s why we want to encourage as many of our people as we can to get vaccinated.

<<Jack wants to know your thoughts! Leave a comment at the bottom of this page, and Jack Stack and Darren Dahl will comment back and/or answer any questions you might have. >>

The Drive To 75

Starting the week of July 12, a cross-functional team designed and rolled out a game they’re calling, “SRC Drive To 75.”

The Critical Number™ is to get as many people vaccinated as possible so we can stop the transmission of the virus and reduce hospitalizations and deaths. Through this game, we want to: protect each other; protect our company; and protect our community.

The game’s BHAG, or big hairy audacious goal, is to get 75% of our 1,700 associates—including new hires, temps, and interns—vaccinated.

To encourage everyone to tackle that goal together, we have created what we think is an exciting package of incentives for those associates who get their shots:

  • Every associate with a completed vaccination card gets $100.
  • Associates who are fully vaccinated are then eligible for a series of weekly raffles starting August 10 with over $10,000 in prizes per week. Prizes range from a YETI cooler and an iPad to a 50-inch smart TV.
  • Vaccinated associates are then eligible for the grand prize: the chance to win one of six ATVs that will be raffled off on September 2.

Drive to 75

You’ll notice that if employees want to be eligible for the prizes, they need to act fast to get their first shot as they’ll need to wait another ten days to two weeks for their follow-up booster. July 19 is the last date someone can receive their first dose and still be eligible for the first raffle on Aug 10. The longer someone waits, the more raffles they’ll miss out on—including the big one.

We’ll see what happens. But maybe the chance to get a brand-new ATV is all the incentive they need to make themselves, their families, and their co-workers safer as well.

Where We Go From Here

Maybe some of you find yourselves in a similar situation with COVID. If so, stay tuned as we’ll post an update and a follow-up to let you know how we did.

Let's have a conversation! Leave a comment at the bottom of this page, and Jack Stack and Darren Dahl will comment back and/or answer any questions you might have.

MiniGame Toolit: Keep your team engaged and focused on every opportunity for rapid results

Topics: Provide A Stake in the Outcome®, Critical Number™, MiniGames™, SRC, Rewards and Recognition, Buy-In, Community, coronavirus, Jack Stack, COVID, Wellness, Pandemic

Authors of our latest book, Change the Game: Saving the American Dream By Closing the Gap Between the Haves and the Have-Nots. Jack Stack is president and CEO of SRC Holdings Corporation. Stack, a graduate of Elmhurst College, came to SRC in 1979 as the plant manager of International Harvester (IH). In 1983, Stack and the SRC employees bought the company from IH and have turned it into what Inc. magazine has proclaimed “one of America’s most competitive small companies.” He is the author of the books, The Great Game of Business, A Stake in the Outcome, and Change the Game. Jack has been called the “smartest strategist in America” by Inc. Magazine and one of the “top 10 minds in small business” by Fortune Magazine. Darren Dahl is an experienced ghostwriter and business journalist, having written for publications like the New York Times, Inc., and Forbes, Darren has also ghostwritten multiple books, several of which have landed on multiple bestseller lists.

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About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.