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Do you know how good your drivers really are? There are some key performance indicators on driver safety you should watch.
We all know there are challenges with managing mobile workers but it's not just knowing what workers are doing that can be difficult. Another major issue is how to measure staff performance. Deciding on what metrics to use can be one of the thorniest issues for management, faced with walking the fine line between being firm yet fair.
With the significant damage that a lack of equity in the workplace can cause, managers know it's vital they treat all staff fairly and without bias. They can't be seen as favoring some drivers, or using subjective criteria.
But when your workers are mobile, remote and not in your direct line of sight, grading their performance fairly can be a nightmare without the proper tools or the ability to measure productivity objectively.
In times past, fleet managers might have used staff or customer feedback, speeding tickets, vehicle damage or just good old-fashioned gut feelings, all of which are not always reliable barometers of a driver's performance.
What metrics can I use to grade my drivers?
There are lots of things you could use to measure driver performance, but the best approach is to decide what's important to your business. If fuel economy is important, then you might measure out-of-route miles or unnecessary idling. If safety is important, then speeding, hard braking and harsh driving events might be what you focus on, whether using only qualitative data or together with video.
Verizon Connect Fleet™ allows you to track a huge range of vehicle metrics to monitor many different driving benchmarks. Here are a few:
- Acceleration — Monitor rapid acceleration or deceleration (braking), which can be both wasteful and dangerous.
- Speeding — Measure driver speeds, creating your own benchmarks for what exceptions you want to record. Get alerts when vehicles are 5MPH 10MPH over the speed limit. Or perhaps you want to be alerted for certain routes or vehicles that shouldn't be driven over a set speed.
- Engine Off/On — Having the engine running while loading or unloading dangerous goods is unsafe for all involved. Round-the-clock engine monitoring can let you know if and when this is happening.
- Out-of-Route Miles — You can compare the actual route taken by the driver with the optimized route provided by Verizon Connect fleet management software. You can use this to report on wasteful driving or lost drivers.
- Excessive Idling — Record incidences of vehicles idling for longer than a specified time to maximize fuel economy and minimize your fleet's carbon footprint.
- HOS exceptions — Make sure drivers stay safe by observing HOS requirements, keeping within the legal limits for driving hours and taking sufficient breaks between journeys.
There are an almost limitless number of metrics you can monitor using available devices connected to the vehicle metrics and reporting available through to Verizon Connect fleet management software. Start by deciding what's important to your fleet and go from there.
Managing mobile staff fairly
After deciding what driver safety metrics are important to the fleet and what you will be measuring, it's time to involve HR and link these metrics with your driver management. While your HR department will no doubt have specific policies on how staff are managed, employees tend to work best when they are measured against KPIs that are objective, fair and easily measurable.
- Specific — Your drivers need to know exactly how they'll be measured. A specific policy such as 'drivers must not exceed the speed limit by 10MPH' is a more effective KPI than 'drivers must not drive recklessly'.
- Measurable — Metrics that are easily measurable by both staff and managers make employee grading easier. This may require issuing weekly reports to drivers to keep them up-to-date with how many 'exceptions' they have accrued.
- Achievable — This will vary according to a driver's experience, so managers will need to use discretion in determining whether a KPI is achievable or not.
- Realistic — Similar to achievable, a realistic KPI takes into account working conditions and extenuating circumstances. It is important to get staff consensus on any KPIs before deciding if they are realistic or not.
- Time-bound — A KPI that is time-bound or relates to a specific timeframe meets the measurability requirement. It also gives workers something to aim for, providing added motivation to hit specific targets.
Many organizations have found that using the SMART criteria outlined above results in happier staff and a simpler management process.
Whatever performance metrics you choose to use to grade your drivers, make sure you discuss them together, agreeing on common objectives. If they don't agree with a particular metric or performance standard, let them explain why. Be ready to explain why certain measurements are important to the business and important for overall driver and fleet safety.
It's vital for your drivers to realize you are measuring and monitoring their driving history to minimize driver risk, keep the fleet profitable and promote safety. Performance metrics work best when your employees are on board. You can even take it a step further and offer drivers incentives for going the extra mile!