What criteria should I use for employee recognition?

I am trying to develop a non-cash incentive program to motivate and reward production employees for overall safety practices and work ethics. What criteria should I use for initial nomination, and should bi-lateral employees as well as supervisors and area managers be included in the nominating process?
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Developing safety and work ethics incentive programs is a great idea. The first step is to establish the specific goals you wish to achieve so you can determine what behaviors should be rewarded. This is extremely important, as it will be the basis for all of the other aspects that follow.

Next, you need to formulate how to measure the desired behaviors. Only quantifiable activities can be included in a production employee incentive program.

I recommend that you not develop this program by yourself. Instead, put together a small committee composed of a representative or two each from the supervisor, manager, and line worker ranks. Share the goals you have set and let them propose ideas on how to achieve those
goals, how objectives can be set and measured, and the nomination criteria and process. You can work with them to ensure that they stay on track and so that you hear their reasoning and understand how to maximize the success of the programs.

This group is probably the best source of information on what kinds of recognition will be most welcome and appreciated. You can set the parameters by sharing the budget for these programs and including the frequency that you want to promulgate rewards. We are flooded with catalogs and programs touted to make employees feel valued--pins, plaques, trophies, gift catalog items, etc. And there are literally hundreds of low-cost and even free ways to reward employees for desired behaviors, too: movie tickets, cafeteria vouchers, restaurant gift
cards, choice parking spaces, etc.

But to make your programs meaningful and successful, you want to know what would make the people in your work force feel most valued. The best people to tell you that are the people who can earn these rewards.