As our internal subject matter expert on Driver Engagement, I have the privilege of leading a team of fleet consulting executives at Wheels. Throughout my career, I’ve gained a deep understanding of the many facets of fleet management. I firmly believe that every client’s fleet has its unique set of needs, but what remains constant is the central role of the driver. Given the current challenges in hiring and retaining top-quality drivers, I want to share some key strategies that can significantly improve driver engagement:
- The Importance of Open Communication
- The Value of Listening
- Safety as a Core Principle
- Boosting Driver Productivity through Technology
- Leveraging Expertise for Custom Solutions
Importance of Open Communication
Communication serves as the bedrock of any successful relationship, and it’s no different between fleet managers and drivers. I’ve seen our clients use methods such as town halls, monthly newsletters, or policy reviews at national sales meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page. Clear, consistent communication can preempt misunderstandings and foster a sense of community within the fleet.
The Value of Listening
Taking the time to listen to drivers is critical for long-term engagement. Regular surveys allow for collecting drivers’ opinions on policies, vehicle selections, and new industry trends like electric vehicles. But gathering feedback is just the first step; acting on it and communicating these actions back to the drivers builds trust and engagement.
For example, if feedback reveals that drivers struggle with transporting materials, consider vehicles with improved storage solutions, larger cargo space, hands-free liftgates, etc. in the future.
Safety as a Core Principle
Beyond basic compliance and training programs, it is important to cultivate a culture that places fleet safety at its core. Measures can include continuous motor vehicle record (MVR) monitoring, improving safe driving behavior through telematics, incentives for safe driving results, and ongoing (and/or automated) safety training. When drivers feel that the organization is genuinely committed to their well-being, they are likelier to be engaged and loyal.
Boosting Driver Productivity through Technology
Modern technology offers many tools to make drivers’ lives easier and more productive. Intuitive mobile apps that help simplify fleet-related tasks (ex: quick and easy mileage entry and certification, locating the nearest network maintenance shop, push notifications on safety recalls, etc.) can significantly ease the burden on drivers, making the fleet an asset rather than a hindrance.
Leverage Expertise for Your Unique Needs
Fleet Managers are expected to have the answers. That’s why tapping into the expertise of seasoned fleet management professionals can be invaluable. Whether it’s a dedicated fleet management company or a consultant, such professionals can offer customized solutions tailor-made for each fleet’s specific challenges and opportunities.
Improving driver engagement is essential for the successful operation of any fleet. Focusing on clear communication, listening to drivers, prioritizing safety, leveraging technology, and seeking expert advice can enhance driver satisfaction and, consequently, the fleet’s overall performance.