Will BPs’ bonus program encourage lying?

The new CEO of BP, Bob Dudley, announced recently that next bonuses at the company will be based solely on how safety guidelines are met, rather than the way it has been up till now which included operational and financial goals along with safety.

While we certainly applaud BPs’ seeming new commitment to safety after a rather poor record, we can’t help but wonder if tying bonuses to safety in this manner isn’t going to foster an atmosphere of deception and lying.

Will employees report accidents if they know that it could make a difference in the amount of money that they take home? Aren’t they more likely to overlook and ignore safety violations if they know that their paycheck is going to suffer if they report them? Won’t they fail to report injuries if it means more take home pay?

Additionally, one can’t help but wonder what “one quarter” communicates. The bonuses are directly tied to safety for this final quarter only. It sounds more like a PR job than anything else. Would you want to work for a company who focused on safety only ¼ of the time? Would you, by the same token want your company to be evaluated based on one quarter only?

Tying finances to safety has a long and shady history. The two don’t make for good bed fellows. One can’t help but wonder if BP isn’t digging a deeper hole rather than digging themselves out.