Driving Performance with Positive Incentives: Lessons from the US Military for the Construction and Mining Industries

Discover how positive incentives can drive performance excellence in construction and mining industries. Learn from successful programs like the US Military's Bulldog Incentive Program and Scratchie to create a culture that motivates employees to excel and adopt your organization's values and goals.
March 19, 2023
James Kell
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Performance excellence is a crucial goal for any organization, whether in the military, construction, or mining industries. The US military has been successful in driving performance through positive incentives, and this success can be replicated in the construction and mining industries. In this article, we will explore how the US Military's Bulldog Incentive Program and the innovative Scratchie app can inspire and inform implementing effective positive incentive programs in construction and mining.

Soldier with wife and sons

Introduction to Positive Incentives

Positive incentives are rewards given to employees for achieving certain goals or demonstrating desired behaviors. These incentives can range from monetary rewards to public recognition or opportunities for growth and development. They have been shown to improve employee engagement, morale, and productivity. There is a rich corpus of journal papers linking improved attitudes to safety outcomes.

The US Military's Bulldog Incentive Program

The US Military's Bulldog Incentive Program is a shining example of how positive incentives can drive performance. The program aims to create a culture of excellence by rewarding soldiers for their achievements and fostering a positive environment. Soldiers who exceed expectations in training, physical fitness, or leadership are rewarded with incentives such as special privileges, recognition, or additional training opportunities.

US Army Soldiers in action
Image: Daniel Stuben

The Power of Positive Incentives in Construction and Mining Industries

Like the military, construction and mining industries can benefit from implementing positive incentive programs. By rewarding employees for safe behavior, teamwork, and productivity, organizations can create a culture of excellence that leads to better performance and employee satisfaction.

Scratchie: A Positive Incentive Solution

Scratchie is a groundbreaking app designed for the construction and mining industries that focuses on improving safety and performance through positive incentives. Supervisors can issue awards to workers who demonstrate safe behavior, which can be immediately claimed and transferred to the worker's bank account. This innovative approach has been proven to improve safety attitudes by 28% and make job sites more attractive to subcontractors.

Key Principles for Implementing Positive Incentive Programs

To successfully implement positive incentive programs, organizations should follow these key principles:

Principle 1: Align Incentives with Organizational Goals and Values

Positive incentives should be designed to support the organization's goals and values. By aligning incentives with these objectives, employees will be motivated to contribute to the organization's success.

Principle 2: Communicate Expectations Clearly

For positive incentives to be effective, employees must understand the expectations and criteria for earning rewards. Clear communication ensures that everyone knows what is required to achieve the desired behavior and performance.

Principle 3: Ensure Incentives are Attainable and Fair

Incentives should be attainable and fair to all employees. By setting realistic expectations and providing equal opportunities for rewards, organizations can promote a sense of fairness and maintain employee motivation.

Principle 4: Make the Reward Occur When the Behavior Happens

To strengthen the association between the desired behavior and the reward, provide the incentive as soon as the behavior occurs. This immediate reinforcement helps to encourage continued positive behavior.

Principle 5: Monitor and Adjust the Program as Needed

Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the positive incentive program and make adjustments as necessary. This may include updating the rewards, criteria, or communication strategies to ensure the program remains relevant and effective.

Construction workers looking out over the site
Image: Scott Blake

Making Sure the Right Behavior is Incentivized

It's crucial to incentivize the right behavior, as poorly designed rewards can lead to under-reporting of incidents and perverse motivation. Direct rewards for the actual behavior are essential to ensure the program's success.


Positive incentives have the power to transform the construction and mining industries by creating a culture of excellence, motivating employees to excel, and driving performance. By learning from the US Military's Bulldog Incentive Program and innovative solutions like Scratchie, industry leaders can develop effective incentive programs tailored to their organization's needs.

Discover the power of positive incentives for your organization. Book a Scratchie demo today!

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