By Art Liggio, CEO and president of Driving Dynamics
There is no way around it, the coronavirus pandemic has completely altered the way fleet-based organizations operate. For some, work has halted, and others are challenged to keep up with new demand. The uncertainty has left companies scrambling to reduce health exposure, keep employees safe and working, and business viable.
While the many hardships faced cannot be dismissed, there is light at the end of this tunnel and perhaps even opportunity. Together, let’s explore four ways you can encourage positivity and foster productivity to support drivers and the success of the business during these tough times.
1. Collaborate, Communicate and Be Transparent
In addition to health concerns and job security, drivers may also be stressed about sudden changes to their work-life. Some, who normally split their time between being on the road and in an office, are now stuck at home. Others may be dealing with new job responsibilities or altered driving schedules to meet demand. Being more disconnected from one another and having routines disrupted compounds uncertainty and angst. It is more important than ever to keep everyone informed and allow for two-way communication. Consider regular conference calls or online meetings to have open discussions regarding company initiatives, challenges, short and long-term plans and to address employee morale. Your drivers are living through major adjustments right now and knowing they are being heard and supported will have everyone breathing a bit easier
2. Embrace Technology-Based Training
Despite there being fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, highway safety officials are seeing a spike in speeding and each year the U.S. records some 30,000 on-road fatalities. Now is not the time to ignore this risk and let driver safety take a backseat. In-person on-road training or coaching sessions may not be fully plausible during social distancing; however, it may be the ideal time to take advantage of technology-based solutions to strengthen skills behind the wheel. Safety improvement opportunities such as online lessons, microlearning or risk assessments and cyber classroom sessions occur in a safe environment and are among the most affordable options. Implementing a digital training program during these uncertain times will provide drivers a sense of security and show them you are committed to their overall safety. As life slowly returns to normal, assuring your drivers have the continued ability and confidence to safely operate a company vehicle will pay off in maintaining a reliable, more efficient fleet.
3. Stay Connected and Create a Safety Partnership
Interaction between drivers on the road and management is typically limited—almost a pre-existing form of social distancing, and now people are feeling more isolated than ever during this pandemic. However, staying connected is crucial for keeping safety front and center, providing management a holistic view of fleet performance, and maintaining a sense of community during uncertain times. Using a tool such as telematics, which includes automated driving safety tips, can offer an affordable and convenient option for increasing engagement, creating a solid partnership with drivers, and supporting safety awareness. Through administrator dashboards, managers have access to fleet data and can identify and act on poor safety metrics, while drivers, who see their own information, get feedback to improve their own driving performance. No matter how you choose to remain connected, view it as an opportunity to improve productivity and instill trust in your drivers. By doing so, drivers become part of the solution and you gain confidence in knowing your workers are safe in the field.
4. Initiate Rewards and Boost Morale
Reports have shown that rewarding positive driver performance has directly related to reduced safety violations. Find ways to celebrate drivers who have not been involved in any incidents or who have successfully completed online training assignments. If your fleet is using telematics, leverage its gamification capabilities to initiate friendly competitions across different business divisions. Or, if your employees are not on the road during this time, consider other interactive options such online trivia games or quizzes, or a company-wide raffle. Drivers are stressed, so offering rewards and recognition opportunities can help boost employee morale and give people something to look forward to rather than more bad news.
Companies are facing adversity and unfortunately, it may seem like you have little control over challenges thrown your way when dealing with COVID-19. However, you can control how your organization interacts and manages this time. In addition to following CDC regulated best practices to avoid spreading coronavirus, consider using these tips to spread positivity and productivity by taking advantage of tools in your arsenal or exploring new resources. This is a great time to come together to support the organization through this pandemic and assure you come out the other side stronger than ever.