Million mile rings. A trophy awarded to departments with outstanding safety records. Giving with gratitude and respect. These are just some techniques that, according to Lytx clients, have motivated their drivers to drive safely.
Companies using incentive programs reported a 79% success rate in achieving their established goals when the correct incentive was offered. That’s the key to having an effective incentive programme that motivates your drivers to drive safely—tying the right reward to a corresponding action, said Lytx VP of Safety Services, Del Lisk.
“An incentive is something that inspires a person to action. And as a fleet safety manager or a coach, that’s exactly what you want to achieve,” Lisk said. Here, Lisk shares his seven best pointers for incentivising your drivers to drive safely in 2019:
1. Be specific about what you’re trying to accomplish.
When designing a driver incentive programme, managers should first ask themselves what they want to achieve with it. “Driver behaviour is a broad term,” Lisk said. “Managers who narrow it down and design their incentive programmes to encourage improvement in a specific behaviour will see the best results. What exactly are you trying to improve? Is it speeding? Too many hard braking incidents? The more targeted you are in your scope, the more successfully you can guide others to your desired outcomes.”
2. Know that immediate positive reinforcement is most effective.
Acknowledging your drivers in the moment has greater impact than annual rewards do, because it’s closely tied to what the driver did well at the time he or she did it. “It’s much more effective to have incentives designed around leading indicators,” Lisk said. “If the goal is to reduce collisions, then build incentives around encouraging a change in behaviour that reduces the potential of a collision, whether it’s increasing following distance or reducing speed.”
With a topic as important as driving safely, you want drivers thinking about it now, Lisk reasoned. Something as simple as acknowledging drivers during weekly or monthly safety meetings can achieve more positive results than even cash rewards that come months later.
3. Keep it simple.
Incentive programmes can fail if they’re too complex, Lisk warned. For example, for fleets that have several locations and don’t want to weigh rural driving the same way they’d weigh urban driving, while that makes sense, don’t make it complicated. It’s easy to get bogged down by too many details. “If the requirements are convoluted, the incentive programme is going to be too hard to execute in the field, and it’s not going to last,” Lisk said. “Keep it simple and easy to administer so your incentive programme will be easy to execute in the field.”
4. Remember, incentives and rewards are not one and the same.
There is a difference. “Incentives are a leading effort, a goal that drivers can work toward,” Lisk said. “If incentives are designed right, they motivate a change in behaviour. Rewards happen after the fact. They don’t motivate a change in behaviour; they’re just a reward for the behaviour.” For that reason, shorter-term incentives offered over days, weeks, or months are more likely to change behaviour than an annual reward is, Lisk said.
5. Leverage technology to gather accurate data on safe behaviours you want to encourage.
For example, if following too closely has been a factor in collisions at your fleet, your organisation could use video telematics such as the Lytx® Driver Safety Programme to gather data on why it’s happening. The most effective incentive programmes often tie incentivised behaviours to broader organisational objectives, Lisk said, so ensure the metrics you select are aligned with your organisation’s overall safety goals.
6. Gain senior management support.
When the message about the incentive programme’s creation comes from an executive such as the CEO or COO and is distributed companywide, managers are bound to take the programme seriously. “Having support from leadership improves engagement by employees in the field, and that can be critical to the success of the programme,” Lisk said. “When leadership is engaged with your incentive programme, the programme has more credibility, and employees at all levels feel compelled to act on it.”
7. Use peer competitiveness as a valuable tool.
Something as simple as posting in the lunchroom a report showing your top drivers over a 30-day period can be a great safety motivator, Lisk said. “The top drivers on the list want to stay on it, and the others will want to get on it,” he observed.
At the end of the day, Lisk said, “if you’re not happy with your current results, you have to try something different to drive change. If a well-designed incentive programme can create positive change, then why wouldn’t you try it?”
Learn more about inspiring your fleet to drive safely in our Driver Incentives That Work guide.