There can be a bit of tension between fleets and drivers when it comes to tracking driver behavior. Drivers not only want their privacy, but their managers’ trust, and fleet managers need to ensure that they are protected. Drivers, of course, have valid concerns, but there are many benefits to tracking driver behavior that everyone should appreciate.
If a fleet is planning a tracking program, they must approach it properly to ensure drivers are comfortable with the transition and understand precisely what is happening. Following are some tips on how to talk to drivers about tracking driver behavior.
The worst thing that can happen is drivers believing one thing and finding out something else is true down the line. Any miscommunication will lead to distrust and damage morale, so it is crucial to be honest. Being upfront and truthful with your employees about tracking their driving behavior shows that you respect them as members of your company. Tracking them in secret and trying to catch them in “gotcha!” moments can potentially make them feel paranoid and disrespected, which can, in turn, make them resistant to any fleet driver training you attempt to implement. Furthermore, being honest lets them know right off the bat what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how it will affect them, so there isn’t a stream of questions coming in after implementation.
Employees aren’t children who can be told to do this “because I said so.” They will respond better if they understand your rationale for making changes. First, you should explain the benefits that management gets out of tracking driver behavior. We will explain these benefits in greater detail below, but they include fewer costly accidents, a more productive fleet, and fewer vehicle breakdowns.
Next, explain the benefits for drivers. Drivers will be safer, can enjoy rewards programs, and get more extensive training to add to their toolbelt. If drivers can see all the advantages of implementing driver behavior tracking, they will better understand why you are implementing it.
Show How it Works
Drivers will feel a lot more comfortable working with a system that they understand. Show them how tracking works, preferably on both the management and driver’s sides, before installing it in fleet vehicles. Drivers will have a better idea of precisely what the system tracks, what they will be rewarded or penalized for, and how they can use the system to improve. If they ever have any questions about how things work along the way, you can show them different aspects of the software so that they fully understand. They must have a clear picture to ensure that they are receptive when it’s time for training or feedback on their behavior.
One worry drivers have regarding tracking driver behavior is that managers will criticize them for their mistakes. Make sure this isn’t the case by focusing on coaching repeat offenses and on positive actions that your drivers exhibit. For example, Azuga has a driver rewards program that automatically tracks driver behavior and assigns them a score based on how safely they drive. If they have a high score, they can win coupons and gift cards. Implementing programs like this gamifies safe driving, creates a fun sense of competition, and takes the edge off tracking driving behavior.
There are many benefits of tracking driving behavior to discuss with your team. For example:
- Improved Safety. Catching frequent mistakes and coaching on fixing them improves safety for both the driver and everyone else on the road.
- Fewer Breakdowns/Less Maintenance. Driving behaviors like harsh braking, rapid acceleration, and idling cause wear and tear on vehicles, and eliminating these behaviors will reduce the need for maintenance and the risk of breakdowns.
- Productivity. With fewer accidents, cars and drivers spend less time off the road and more time working, which leads to higher production.
- Better Training. With actual data at their fingertips, managers can better pinpoint what issues staff has and what training drivers need.
- Proof of Good Driving. Good drivers have data to prove that they are safe and effective behind the wheel.
Beginning this conversation with your drivers can be challenging, but it is essential to maintain a positive relationship with them. Being open and honest about significant changes shows your respect. Tracking driver behavior keeps drivers safe and businesses thriving.
About the author: Ananth Rani is the CEO of Azuga.