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).
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.
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.
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.
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.