The overwhelming majority of drivers want to do what’s right for the company; however, just because your company implements a written fleet policy doesn’t mean drivers are following it. A common problem is the fleet manager communicates policy to the drivers’ managers, but the word doesn’t get down to the individual drivers. How do you increase driver compliance with fleet policy?
Here are 10 suggestions.
- Engage in driver communication whenever practical and appropriate. For instance, sales and service organizations often hold meetings where they receive training for new products and services. Likewise, many drivers are in sales, they often attend annual sales meetings, where they go over the prior year’s activity, present awards, and receive face-to-face training. Fleet managers should request some time at these meetings to remind drivers about fleet policy or identify best practices.
- Conduct teleconferences with drivers who work remotely or at regional offices to re-emphasize the importance of policy and cost control.
- Your fleet policy should be a living document that is updated annually. As changes occur within your company, revise your procedures to reflect these changes. Likewise, eliminate those policies that have become outdated. What was right yesterday may not be right today.
- Send periodic e-mails or voicemail messages to drivers on specific fleet policy reminders, in particular on those issues that have higher-than-normal incidents. Also, cc the driver's supervisor on important items or those supervisors who have drivers that are not within policy.
- Leave a weekly or monthly message on your voicemail greeting, advising drivers of new policies and reminders. You can add similar reminders below your signature line on your e-mails.
- In addition to having the entire fleet policy online, develop a summarized fleet policy pocket document that answers common questions, which drivers can keep in the glove compartment of their vehicle. This fleet policy summary sheet of frequently asked questions (FAQ) can be issued to drivers with gas cards or insurance cards. This will help reinforce fleet policy to drivers.
- Create a newsletter that is e-mailed to company drivers to promote awareness of fleet policies by providing helpful suggestions on driver safety, vehicle care, and other topics. Likewise, use the company intranet for similar effect. Post information on cost savings tips, focusing on maintenance and fuel economy.
- How often should you communicate with drivers? Drivers welcome communication so long as you keep it short and make it pertinent to their job. Build into every message a feedback mechanism to allow engagement by the driver or field manager.
- When developing or re-evaluating fleet policy, solicit the participation of all affected departments, such as sales, administration, purchasing, maintenance, and accounting, in addition to vehicle user groups. By involving them in the decision-making process, it increases the likelihood of buy-in and support of policies.
- Create a driver focus group, with rotating members, and hold periodic meetings to solicit feedback on the fleet program. As part of your annual fleet policy review, you should survey your drivers to give them an opportunity to express their opinions or dissatisfaction about fleet policies that govern them. This a terrific opportunity to keep your ear to the ground, to identify new issues as they are emerging, and receive honest feedback from drivers — all of which will make you a better fleet manager.
Cost Control Starts with the Company Driver
The best time to control costs is before they occur and the way to do this is by establishing policies and procedures that inhibit unnecessary spending and protect corporate assets. Fleet policy provides the mechanism to curb money-wasting behaviors. Think about it: If you want to reduce fuel costs, some ways to do so are to ensure that drivers maintain properly inflated tires, avoid excessive idling, and drive the posted speed limit.
A fleet manager needs to use every communication method available: in-person presentations, e-mail, intranet, newsletter, and phone to continuously reinforce fleet vehicle policy. You need to be redundant if you want to increase the likelihood that your drivers are following fleet policy. You need to not only communicate it to them, but, more importantly, you need to re-communicate it on a regular basis. When it comes to fleet policy, there is no such thing as being redundant. The secret to increasing driver compliance with fleet policy is just that — redundant communication.
In the final analysis, increased fleet policy compliance will help reduce unnecessary costs. Fleet policy compliance is a crucial part of a company’s over-all cost-control strategy. Based on my experience, the best-managed fleets are those whose drivers adhere to a written fleet policy.
Let me know what you think.