The Importance of Driver Training in Your Fleet

Jan 15, 2021 | Business Insurance

You can’t put a dollar amount on someone’s life.

When businesses cut financial support corners, they end up being costly mistakes down the road. The health and safety of your employees are paramount. Investing in training and programming is essential to quality business performance.

We hear stories about how an organization didn’t meet an employee’s need. Sometimes that put’s the staff member in a tough position. Potentially, a dangerous position.

Accountability is a best practice, especially when your industry is on the road. When your business has a demand and you’re tied tight, it’s tough to deny free hands that want to work.

Driver training and coverage might be your smartest investment yet.

Best Foot Forward

Creating a recruitment process will be fundamental to decrease staff turnover. This is a chance to invest in employees who value your time as much as you do, theirs. Run the background check, have two follow up interviews, let folks chat with other members of your organization.

This will give you a read on whether they’d be a good fit for the team. If they’re not blending in and asking questions, it may be a sign that they need extra support. Guide them through the process of introduction and company mission.

Something as simple as a vehicle safety test where potential hires write in their thoughts on “if/then” situations would help dial in the type of folks you want behind the wheel. These people represent your business. If you’re connected to your model and you value what you are distributing, you know that there are no shortcuts here.

If someone has a history of accidents, it’s okay to have a transparent conversation about what happened. Especially if that person is a hard worker and has clearly experienced growth from that time. Everyone is human, and everyone makes mistakes.

How you move forward from those experiences sets you apart from the average person. Anyone who’s turned their life around can attest to that.

The more documentation potential hires are willing to give you, the better. Take the letter of recommendation. Call the references and give the ole Google search bar a spin. If you take the time to weed out people who don’t fit the role expectations, you’re saving yourself time and money in the long run.

During the application process, doing things like requesting one or two character references outside of professional references can also be helpful. The more data you have on the person you may hire, the better.

Keep It Simple

Once you’ve created a streamlined hiring process, it’s time to implement a training program. You might think, “a training program? I wouldn’t know where to begin”. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re in a leadership position at your organization.

If you are, there’s an even better chance that you’ve been in the industry long enough to know the ins and outs of the business. Use your professional experience and put to paper the things you know are helpful and harmful. Your career experience has value, and who better to implement a set of guidelines than someone who knows the drill?

If you’re worried about starting from scratch, you have options. There are tons of resources on the web about safe driving that other management systems have already set up. You can use this and adjust your literature to reflect the specifics of your fleet.

Connecting your current staff to the new policy will be crucial, as they will likely be training new hires. Monitoring new safety practices will be important as your senior staff adjust to the new expectations. Consider installing a telemetrics device to log speed and unnecessary distance traveled.

A business is only as solid as its training program. If you want to hire people, you better believe they’re coming to you with bad habits from other agencies. That’s just the name of the game. If they’re coming to you with no experience, then this is your chance to create a constructive work ethic that aligns with your mission.

There are programs that can help your business add to your training process in the name of safety. Adopting these safety practices can prevent legal issues, create camaraderie, and help you continue to hire folks that align with your business model.

Only You Can Prevent…Well, Everything

Incentivizing driver safety is one of the most symbiotic relationships you can cultivate.

The opportunity to build a structured method of calculating and eliminating risk. There will always be risks, but mitigating the brunt of it can mean the difference between a safe ride home or one that results in injury.

The safety and wellbeing of your employees and your brand are important for very different reasons, but both yield positive results for you. Showing up for your staff by way of preventative protocol speaks volumes. And the need for attentiveness and exactitude is contagious.

Meeting safety expectations will set a standard in the organization that breeds pride and common decency. Safe driving incentives can limit accidents on the road, keep drivers from injuries or cargo inconsistencies, and may help improve the fleet’s ISS scores.

Safety incentives will enable your drivers to be their best selves when they’re clocked in, on your time. Clear roadside inspections, safe driving records, and practices can be measured by analytic devices.

You can incentivize your team anytime, but if you practice quarterly or monthly rewards, each driver can be acknowledged throughout the year.

Like you appreciate your drivers for their mindfulness and precision, they will appreciate having a management system that recognizes that their job isn’t always easy. The amount you may reward your drivers could depend on what you profit at their expense.

Having a successful incentive program could look like awarding your drivers with PTO, compensation, or promotion. We’ve all had jobs where we didn’t feel valued or cared for. Whichever way you choose to approach the reward system, know that your team will express gratitude for their hard-earned acknowledgment.

Driver Training

Training in the field is the best way to teach your people the lay of the land. This is also a great time to observe unsafe practices.

While offering constructive feedback, make sure to sprinkle in positive feedback, too. Rapport and confidence are integral to forming a professional working relationship that will last. Your employees being heard by you throughout the training process can help clear up gray areas regarding expectations.

While you are observing, consider the training materials that you might use. Coming up with a handbook can be as easy as documenting what is required through each shift. Here you can organize standard operating procedures and

Create a rubric with which you can make notes to later reflect on with your staff about their driving test. Make notes about whether or not they use their blinker, run red lights, speed, or drive dangerously slow. You can identify their braking techniques, hard acceleration, and sense of direction.

These are important markers to begin with to measure progress down the road. When you break down risk management, there’s

Some folks may be entering this field for the first time and can benefit from this feedback. If you show your team they’re worth investing in, they’ll be encouraged to invest in their work.

Necessary Truths

In 2018 there were 4,951 people killed in crashes involving large trucks, almost a 1-percent increase from 2017.

The driving industry is notorious for its horror stories. You’ve heard it all; falling asleep at the wheel, unsafe swerving, and speeding a steep grade that resulted in a crash. Your willingness to train your organization from the inside out can contribute to safer driving.

If you are concerned about the cost of safety training, consider this: the price of a single collision can range anywhere from $14,000-$225,558. You’ll fork up the money somehow, someway. Why not make sure it’s directly serving your business instead of the aftermath?

You get to decide if you want to move forward in the best interest of your organization.

The reality is simple: as a leader, you have a responsibility to the people who serve your business. Those people show up every day, ready to engage in high-risk work for their paycheck and the vitality of your business.

Maintenance

Your fleet vehicles are the core of your business. Without them, there is no work to show up to. There are a few ways you can anticipate vehicle safety needs by performing vehicle safety checks before and after each shift.

Creating a worksheet and teaching your drivers how to check for warning signs will build the same level of awareness across the board. There are many benefits to having drivers become accustomed to vehicle safety standards upon its departure and arrival.

The checklist should include things like fuel level, air/tread checks for tires, and making sure all signals are functional. These small tasks fortify security among your staff and your vehicles. When your staff members find something that doesn’t look safe, they can give you the exact feedback needed for repair.

Consistent maintenance and repair will push the longevity of your fleet. Instilling care and caution in your staff encourages everyone to be looking out for each other’s wellbeing.

Getting into the field and showing your staff how to check for appropriate safety measures will show them that you care for their safety, too.

While costs add up throughout maintenance and service repair, there are outlets for you to save on costly, repetitive repair. Many vehicles and accompanying auto part retailers provide warranties and programs to keep you as a loyal customer. This is especially present in the wholesale, commercial industry.

Coverage

Your staff wants to know you’ve got their back. And though they lack autonomy, your vehicles do, too! Accidents happen. There’s no way to measure the variables the universe throws at us, or at our automobiles.

Having proper insurance coverage for your business is one of the smartest moves you can make. The liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage you receive is protection that is invaluable. Every choice you make you add on a layer of defense means one less crisis you have to worry about.

Protecting your crew and your vehicles secures the life of your business. And it’s never a one size fits all show. By connecting with an agent who can guide you, you can identify what your business coverage needs are and how to meet them.

Organizations everywhere have tried to skimp out on the necessary touchpoints to keep their business safe. We’ve seen how the ripple effect plays out. It isn’t pretty.

The consequences of not having coverage are steep and vary from state to state. Investing in coverage from the beginning will keep your people on the road and keep them safe while driving.

Let’s Hit The Road

There are plenty of driving gigs across the world. Regardless of industry, what sets businesses apart is fulfilling a need that can’t be negotiated. The necessity for safety and driver training is non-negotiable.

Network with other folks in your industry.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and see what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. Trial and error is a great tool, but sharing past successes and failures holds ultimate knowledge. If you find yourself ready to take the leap, there are many routes to choose from.

Get in touch with us to explore your driver training and safety coverage.