Reward to fighting a battle with the cigarette...

Employees of a Hyderabad-based company who smoke, there is now a strong incentive to kick the habit. Smart Drive Systems, a firm working on video-based safety and transportation intelligence, launched what it calls ‘Withdrawal Policy’ on World No Tobacco Day (May 31) that will encourage smokers among its employees to quit smoking. They have to do so in a challenge lasting three months. A monetary reward will be waiting for those who succeed in the challenge.

Employees who sign up for Withdrawal Policy will receive support from a few partner organisations that discourage tobacco use, including Hope Trust. These organisations will provide counselling, nicotine replacement therapies, smoke control activities and medication. The company will pay for these intervention programmes.

The highlight of the Withdrawal Policy is the cash reward. “The idea is to discourage employees from smoking, and also reward those individuals who give up the cigarette during the period, with a cash award of ₹20,000,” says Pradeep Bangalore, director, people operations, SmartDrive Systems. The challenge is open only to those addicted to smoking. Social smokers and, of course, non-smokers can’t enrol for it. Tests will be conducted on enrolled employees to check their nicotine levels, before, during and after the challenge.

Employee ‘buddies’ will help smokers quit the habit. “We are also encouraging the family and colleagues of an employee to be part of the programme as they can play an important role in helping the person fight the addiction,” says Pradeep. The larger goal behind this programme is to promote a healthy work culture, which includes reaching out to employees who are stressed at work and recognising and creating role models for employees who trying to give up smoking. “We want to showcase stories of employees who have fought the habit successfully,” says Pradeep. Smart Drive Systems, which has a strength of 600 employees, plans to extend this challenge to six and 12 months.

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