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What Strava teaches you about the power of measuring achievement

If you’re a cyclist or runner you’re probably already aware of the global Strava phenomenon. For those of you who aren’t, Strava is software that uploads information from a GPS device like your smartphone so you can record and compare all your physical activities. The latest figures suggest 2.6 billion Km of riding logged on Strava to date.

Strava app logo

Not only can you see your own performance on each section of your route in Strava (called segments) but also that of every other user who has ever ridden or run over that particular stretch. It harnesses the powerfully motivating force of just a little, friendly competition. You can also compete against yourself with personal bests, and if today was your best time you’re awarded a PR (personal record) trophy. And if you ascend to the top of the leaderboard for a segment you’re awarded the King or Queen of the mountain. Because every route typically covers many segments it means that most times you receive positive reinforcement for at least some part of your effort.

Imagine being able to record the same ongoing record of safety performance in each activity from month to year at your organisation. It would be very easy to see real progress over the longer term, providing great encouragement and motivation as well as immediate feedback after each event.

If you record and track your safe and unsafe behaviours you’ll be in a position to give regular feedback as well as identify both encouraging and worrying trends over the longer period. Each section, department or site will be able to compare their behavioural performance with those of others in the organisation, which may well provide that extra element of encouragement towards continuous improvement. If you see a dip in performance you are well placed to take early steps in order to identify the root cause and nip the situation in the bud before it gets out of hand, or someone gets hurt.

Our Engage software is like Strava for safety in the workplace. It helps staff record and track behaviour, as well as share knowledge quickly and effectively. But this is really a recommendation to use any means you can to keep tabs on your ongoing behaviours. And if you’re a cyclist or runner and you don’t yet use Strava (or an equivalent) – you’re missing a world of opportunity!

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