8 Ways for Fleet Managers to Win Drivers Over to Fleet Tracking
With the current nationwide driver shortage, driver retention is very important. Using incentives for drivers to adopt telematics protocols is one way to keep drivers in the seats of their vehicles.
Nationwide, incentives have long been used to retain good employees. By using the same kind of program a fleet manager can reward drivers for safe driving, efficient use of time, and driving skills. First, a look at why a fleet management solution is a logical choice for today’s up-to-date fleet manager.
Reasons For Using Telematics
Protecting the bottom line and protecting your company from financial loss are two important reasons justifying an investment in fleet telematics.
Integrated fleet management is not the enemy of the driver. It should not be looked at as “Big Brother”. In fact, it benefits drivers in many ways. For example, GPS and telematics can reduce a drivers’ time in traffic by tracking traffic flow on regular routes and suggesting detours. Video telematics users see up to a 68% reduction in accident costs, according to a user survey by GPS Trackit. Real-time driving coaching through the system that you buy is a critical part of this process.
GPS Trackit – a leading telematics solution provider – reports that companies pay an average of $200K per auto incident and $3.6M per fatality for medium and heavy truck collisions. In commercial vehicle fleets, distraction is the second leading driver-related cause of fatal truck crashes. Cell phone use was reported as the distraction in 14% of all crashes in 2017.
Telematics technology helps fleet managers keep track of individual trucks via GPS tracking. Video dash cams are matched with artificial intelligence to monitor driver behavior. Reports and alerts produce driver scorecards that give the fleet manager an idea of areas that need more training.
With truck drivers in such high demand and finding it easy to move from company to company, you must treat them well. Follow these eight ways to keep drivers working for your fleet:
1. Present Fleet Telematics In A Positive Way
Driver pay will increase over time with a company that is working efficiently and saving money with a fleet management solution.
2. Listen To Driver Feedback
You can improve morale when you give drivers a channel to share their opinions. Drivers do want to let you know what they think, and often their ideas can save the company money and bolster the bottom line.
Listening to your drivers helps them believe that their company is looking out for them and that they value their expertise and input. An open-door policy using telematics and other digital technologies gives the company an opportunity to learn from those closest to its core mission – the drivers.
One way to seek out driver input is to conduct monthly or quarterly feedback surveys about how you the fleet manager can make improvements.
3. Act On Driver Feedback
If drivers know that you are listening to their complaints and suggestions, and acting on them, then that helps driver retention. They have a reason to believe in the company. So are regular updates to the driver about what actions the company is taking. If drivers are giving their feedback and not seeing changes or responses, they may grow frustrated.
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy and what you do should fit with your company’s principles and culture. Working closely with the HR department to create communications that convey the importance of telematics and sharing of data among drivers and the fleet manager is also important.
Fleet managers who have done this advise that rolling out a BETA program before a full launch is the best way to introduce telematics and driver scorecards to your fleet drivers. Goals should be shown as something that drivers can easily achieve, otherwise they will become frustrated.
4. Regularly Review Driver Pay
The exponential growth of consumer on-line buying and a surge in package shipping has increased the need for OTR trucking drivers. Despite record pay hikes, driver pay is still the major incentive a fleet manager needs to keep a close eye on. Sign-on bonuses are leading drivers to hop from company to company, leading to high turnover of about 95%.
Daniel Walton, a driver from Wisconsin, says, “Everybody loves getting more money,” said Walton. “You hear numbers thrown at you, there is a temptation to go elsewhere.”
Discussions with drivers reveals that though pay is a primary incentive to work for them, it is not the only one. There are other non-financial aspects of the driving experience that are also important.
5. Invest In Top-Notch Equipment
The trucks that your drivers use and the technology they come equipped with are nearly as important as salaries and mileage rates. No driver likes having frequent breakdowns and the downtime that causes, so be sure to invest in new or low-mileage trucks.
Install the latest integrated fleet management technologies such as GPS telematics and on-board cameras. This leads to more fleet efficiency, lets the driver know what he is doing right or wrong, and adds to overall fleet uptime. That helps the company bottom line.
6. Celebrate Your Driver’s Performance
Everyone, including truckers, wants to know that their bosses and their employer appreciate them. Acknowledging good work publicly motivates employees. A driver incentive program tied to good driving skills, following company protocols, and giving the company feedback can go a long way in making a driver happy enough to stay with the company. Setting metrics or targets is another way to motivate drivers.
A “driver scorecard” lets drivers know where they stand with such metrics as rapid acceleration, hard braking, sudden stops, hard turns, speeding, and safety events. Driver performance can be measured according to your safety thresholds. Fleet managers can have an easy, real-time view of what their drivers are doing at any given time at their fingertips. GPS Trackit, for example, offers technology that keeps a scorecard on each driver. Scorecards issue alerts when a driver brakes too strongly, speeds, or idles too long. A fleet manager can give immediate feedback when that happens. Giving a driver a cash gift card or voucher for a nice dinner for two is one way to recognize a good driver.
According to School Bus Fleet magazine, “It is a powerful psychological tool to encourage safe and efficient driving habits.”
“It’s a powerful tool,” says Michael Crafton, president and CEO of Team 360, a building services and fire protection company. “It helps with safe driving and creates a really great culture of accountability.”
In-app leaderboards and competition, along with weekly or monthly meetings to discuss results from the telematics can give drivers a compelling reason to participate.
Here are some examples of good driver behavior to reward: Consecutive accident-free days, driver shows improvement after coaching, a reduction in distracted driving, minimal downtime and truck idling.
Awards can be just about anything: a voucher for a dinner for two, a company mug or jacket with the company logo, a driver team lunch, a paid bonus using a cash gift card, or paid time off.
7. Do Not Overlook Driver Amenities
Long-haul OTR drivers work hard. The hours can be long. When it is time to go off the clock no driver wants to relax and sleep in a dirty sleeper. It is the extras like a refrigerator, flat screen TV and DVR, a comfortable mattress, reliable heating and air conditioning and other creature comforts that tells the driver your company cares for their welfare. So fleet managers, be conscious of these things. You might even take an overnight ride with one of your drivers to see firsthand what life is like on the road and how it can be improved for drivers.
Drivers who see that they are appreciated are more likely to stick around for the long-haul than jump to a competitor.
8. Prioritize Your Driver’s Health
A driver’s loyalty to her company can, as we have seen, revolve around many factors. After driver pay most drivers rank quality health insurance as a priority. In this era of rapidly rising health costs, this cannot be overlooked. Your drivers not only have to take care of themselves, but their families as well. You want a driver focused on the road and safety, not worrying about a loved one who needs unaffordable medical care. Regular, free health exams. 24/7 on-call nurses for medical questions. Generous time off to care for a family medical emergency. These are just some of the ways to let your drivers know that they are valued.
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