Since July 2014, Publix has awarded 530 Prevention Plus Challenge Coins to associates who have gone above and beyond in helping reduce unnecessary shrink or preventing injuries. Not only have associates become more creative with loss prevention and safety awareness, entire stores have stepped up to the challenge.
For instance, Property Protection Systems Senior Manager Rick Abbatiello calls the team at #1219, Lutz, Florida, a highly creative machine that is constantly churning out ideas and ways to share the shrink and safety message. In fact, six associates at this store have earned challenge coins.
“We’ve created an atmosphere in the store almost like the Olympics. We want that coin,” said Assistant Store Manager Natalie Baltra. “As a team, we try to do one project a month. We might ask, ‘How can we improve?’ and an idea is thrown out there. The team runs with it, and we help however we can to complete that team member’s idea.”
The most recent challenge coin winner, Customer Service Team Leader Kayla Scholz, created a Captain Napkin pin for a member of each department to wear. That member is designated to spot check the department for “Towel in Pocket.” One of the first challenge coin winners, Bakery Clerk Emily Allen, who is now at #1142, Land O’ Lakes, Florida, created a game that spurs associates in each department to compete for a traveling trophy by scoring the highest on a monthly compliance checklist.
Natalie’s team recently brainstormed on another project to keep the deli rugs separate from other rugs to avoid spreading grease.
“We pride ourselves on safety,” Natalie said. “Although we still have associate and customer incidents, we really try to avoid them.”
Some of the tactics Natalie says they use to raise associate awareness are to
- stress safety from the start
- have a variety of safety programs throughout the store
- make it fun to be safe
- have in-store competitions
- get managers involved and
- hold department safety huddles.