Telematics and fleet management solutions offer plenty of benefits to a transport operation by providing real-time data that helps you make more informed decisions, reduce operational costs and make your customers happier. Ultimately, it’s your drivers who will be most directly impacted by GPS fleet tracking in their vehicles. Getting them on board is a crucial step in the process but it’s one that’s often overlooked. To inspire safe driving and help your drivers be more efficient, technology plays an important role but you also need to make sure your employees aren’t made to feel undervalued or untrustworthy.
Here are three steps to make the implementation process a smooth one.
Let Your Drivers Know
This seems like an obvious first step, but research from TSheets shows more than two-thirds of employees being tracked with GPS technology weren’t given any notice before it was implemented. Informing drivers that you’ll be installing a GPS fleet tracking solution, and involving them in the process, is crucial for a number of reasons. It will help to make all employees feel like they’re part of the change, rather than just swept up in a business decision. Being transparent and providing enough notice also gives them some time to seek clarity and get comfortable with the idea. Depending on where your business is located, this step may also be necessary to stay compliant. In NSW, workplace surveillance laws say you need to provide 14 days written notice, and in the ACT you’ll also need to have a sign on your vehicles informing drivers they’re being tracked.
Giving your drivers notice shouldn’t just be a case of management issuing a blanket statement and enforcing the new policy. Encourage your drivers and staff to ask questions and make sure the focus is on the benefits of GPS fleet tracking, such as improved safety, to avoid any misconceptions. While in the minority, there are reports of employees feeling like their privacy is being invaded or their boss doesn’t trust them. Explain how the data will be used – and what it won’t be used for – to make them feel secure. It also helps to be open with drivers about the reasons for implementing the solution, whether you’re focused on reducing accident rates or trying to drive down costs by zeroing in on issues like idle time and fuel burn. If they understand the broader reason for making the change, they’ll be less likely to feel personally targeted.
Get Everyone Involved
A great way to get everyone on the same page is to make your drivers part of the process. Share relevant information with them and use it as the basis of training and incentive programs to help them feel more involved with the company’s safety and productivity goals. For example, put a target in place, like a 20 per cent decrease in incident rates or fuel burn, and show them real data highlighting the way their actions are contributing to that goal.
This sort of transparency can help to build a more safety-conscious environment. Some drivers might have habits that they’re not aware of, like harsh braking, and they’ll be much easier to fix if you can track exactly when and where they’re doing it. Others will feel more invested in changing their behaviour if there’s an incentive on the table. And if you have a competitive team of drivers, ranking them against each other and using scorecards to monitor and reward progress will help to make GPS fleet tracking a great employee engagement tool.
With a few precautionary steps, GPS fleet tracking technology will help to engage drivers, keep them safe on the roads and arm you with insights to have more informed and effective conversations about behaviour. TSheets found that 90 per cent of employees say that being tracked at work is a positive experience or a neutral one, and 40 per cent feel safer with the technology. Drivers who haven’t been exposed to a telematics solution before are more likely to have a negative view of it, so providing information and encouraging open discussion is key making them feel comfortable.