"I didn't know that wasn't allowed!" says a driver as they're defending their behavior of texting while driving 60 mph down the freeway.
If you're a fleet manager, you've definitely heard this by now as you discover a driver operating outside of your fleet policy. It's a problem plaguing companies in general – and fleets are no different.
But having drivers that follow your fleet policy is important to your fleet operations. Fleet policies are typically built with the ultimate focus of an optimized fleet in all aspects. Having a fleet operating within compliance not only protects your company from liability concerns, it also helps increase fleet productivity and efficiency while preventing costly operating behaviors, such as speeding, rapid acceleration, etc.
With the vast number of rules and regulations we all have to abide by, it can be difficult to ensure our policies are being followed and enforced appropriately – or even know what all of the policies are! So how can you adjust your strategy to increase policy adherence and, consequently, your fleet's performance?
1. Educate your fleet. Drivers can't adhere to policies they don't know exist. And, while we always recommend that policies include a signature page indicating that the driver has read and is aware of the contents of the policy, that isn't enough. Conduct regular formal training around the different elements in the policy so you know they've been informed. Give your drivers the ability to succeed in the area of compliance by first being educated around what compliance looks like. Some fleet management companies even provide driver scorecards that can help monitor some of the pivotal compliance issues that exist within your fleet. A scorecard can be another great tool to help educate and enforce different elements of your policy.
2. Provide drivers easy access. Upload your fleet policy to the homepage of your company's intranet so that drivers can easily access the policy on an as-needed basis. Include a feedback form within this section as well so that they can submit any concerns or questions they may have regarding the policy quickly and easily. Driver feedback is key to ensuring they understand and feel confident that they are able to adhere to the policies outlined.
3. Make your policy simple. There's nothing worse than being held accountable for a policy that you can't understand. It's vital that your fleet policy be clear and concise to avoid any confusion for you and your drivers. While policies need to be detailed, they don't need to be overly complex or confusing. So, skip the legalese. Keeping it simple will help your drivers know what they need to do to remain within compliance and position them for success. Requesting a policy review from your fleet management company is a great way to be sure your policy is optimized for you and your drivers' success.
4. Foster a culture of compliance. Culture comes from the top down. If you want to have a fleet that is focused on compliance, then build one! Take a strong company stance on enforcing your fleet policy and incorporate it into your key objectives. Get buy-in from senior management to really ingrain this in the attitude of the company. Reward and celebrate those who act within compliance and drive your business forward; and deal fairly, yet appropriately, with those who do not. If drivers understand that this is a company-wide standard they are going to be held to, they are much more likely to adapt and adjust as they need to operate within the outlined policies.
5. Reward success. Implement a system rewarding your top performing drivers. While you can use any number of different elements to determine the top drivers, adherence to fleet policy can be one of the factors included. With some in-house competition in place, you may just find that your drivers are anxious to meet the requirements given to them and even exceed your expectations.
While ensuring adherence to fleet policy doesn't sound like the MOST exciting thing you'll do all day, it is important to protecting and optimizing your fleet. And, with the inclusion of incentives and internal competition, it can start to become a topic that invokes more smiles and nudges than groans and sighs.
If you need help structuring or reviewing your fleet policy for your company's success, reach out to our team of consultants for a comprehensive policy review. Our team will conduct a full review and provide detailed recommendations aimed at helping you achieve your fleet goals. Learn more about what's included in our fleet policy review.
About the author
Stacie Bevens serves as consultancy writer on the Analytics, Consulting and Transformation (ACT) team at LeasePlan USA. In her consultancy role, she oversees the safety and fleet policy review process and helps clients build and implement best-in-class policies that reflect their culture and values.