Originally published in Fleet Management Weekly 1/08/2020
What interests the boss, fascinates and engages the workers!
By Ed Dubens, CEO/Founder of eDriving
Happy, healthy and successful New Year best wishes to all FMW readers! I hope you have entered 2020 well-rested and ready for an exciting year ahead.
The start of a new year is the ideal time to take check of the policies, standards and programs you have in place to help protect your employees who drive for work, and look at the ways you can improve your risk management approach in anticipation of your business plans for the new year. Here’s my 10-point checklist to help ensure you and your drivers are on track for a safe and successful 2020.
- Work towards a crash-free culture®
Creating, feeding and “nourishing” your crash-free culture is key to keeping your drivers safe when driving for work purposes. It does not happen without effort and support up, down and across your organization. What do I mean by a crash-free culture? Putting your drivers’ safety first, every minute of every day. Just saying you do it isn’t enough: you need to believe it, show that it matters, and show that you actually care. How? By establishing safety as a “strategic imperative”; implementing safe driving policies and practices and evolving the attitudes and behaviors of your drivers, managers and leaders across the whole organization – more on that later!
- Don’t underestimate the influence of “informal” messaging
Driver risk management is serious business, but there is plenty of room for informality. In fact, it’s the informal elements of a crash-free culture program that really make the difference. Think regular chats with drivers, encouraging your managers to reinforce objectives and openly discussing challenges facing their teams, regular email/ text/ notice board messaging, holiday messaging from leadership and gamification opportunities.
- Communication is key!
Regular communication is crucial for sustaining a crash-free culture. There is no point in setting up policies and procedures, and launching a driver safety program, if you are not going to “talk the talk and walk the walk” ! Remind drivers often of your company-wide safety goals, set targets for drivers to aim for (such as zero distraction while driving) and reward those who perform well. This leads me to…
- Recognize and reward
Benchmarking is a fantastic way to identify the safest drivers, teams and departments. If your driver safety program enables you to see monthly driver performance stats you can reward their achievements with prizes such as cinema tickets, restaurant vouchers etc.
- Intervene promptly and appropriately when required
Just as benchmarking enables you to see the safest drivers, it also enables you to promptly identify those in need of intervention, coaching and support. Using an event scoring system associated with collisions, incident, MVR violations and high risk telematic events, gives you an at-a-glance view of your organization’s riskiest drivers. It also enables you to identify the specific behaviors putting those drivers at risk: such as speeding, harsh maneuvers and distraction. Prompt, targeted training and support can help remediate those risky behaviors.
- Coach drivers to safer behaviors
Training is a small part of your overall toolbox, contributing around 10-15% of your program’s “power rating” and/or return on investment. Employees learn through a variety of activities that include social learning, coaching, mentoring, collaborative learning and other methods of interaction with colleagues and peers. Encouragement and regular feedback from their direct report managers is a critical success factor, as is hearing from your organization’s leadership that their safety and wellbeing is important. Don’t forget the importance of training the manager!
- Utilize the data at your fingertips
If you have a telematics solution in place, or even better, a driver safety program that provides data on safe driving behaviors, you have useful information at hand! But, are you using it correctly? At eDriving we combine data into one system to provide fleets with a comprehensive view of risk. Whichever way your data is presented, it’s important to use it wisely. Managers from all parts of the business (EHS&S, Risk, Insurance, HR, Operations/Commercial etc.) can use the data to address the issues/opportunities raised. How the data fits into a wider crash-free culture is what really makes a lasting difference to driver risk management and safety.
- Engage and motivate
Consider ways to motivate your employees, such as delivering micro-training modules covering safe driving topics directly to their smartphones and encouraging them to interact with colleagues for the best driving scores. Send regular communications via email/ text: this might include seasonal safety messaging, reminders of upcoming events, local campaigns etc. Consider handing out promotional items to drivers; an eDriving team favorite is our branded fidget spinner!
- Appoint ambassadors
Decreasing the number of injuries, collisions, incidents and motor vehicle violations in your fleet requires an absolute focus on the risk factors, behaviors and habits that cause such events – distraction, complacency, fatigue, speeding, tailgating, over-confidence, monotony, trip planning, and time management. Ambassadors can help everyone retain this focus. Appoint approximately 5% of your workforce as ambassadors for your mission, with a target of generating team messaging at least once per week.
- What interests the boss, fascinates and engages the workers!
One of my favorite sayings! Our work over the past 25 years with thousands of drivers and their managers has confirmed how relevant this statement is. Long-term sustainable driver risk reduction requires leadership commitment, a structured approach and above all else, direct driver-manager engagement. If it’s important to the leaders, it’s important to everyone else too. If it doesn’t matter to the leaders, why would anyone else be interested in putting safety first?