Managing Your Fleet

Keeping employees in fleet-based businesses engaged, whether big and small

6 min read

30 July 2018

Are your workers happy? For years, companies have mistakenly believed that peak performance and employees’ happiness are mutually exclusive.

But in recent years, studies have shown that happy workers help increase productivity – one published in December 2016 found that happiness made them 12% more productive.

While not every employee is going to change the world, keeping each and every team member happy and engaged is critical to maximising an organisation’s performance. As a result, many businesses are beginning to invest in employee engagement programmes to help create a positive link between emotions and performance. And, it’s working – a study by Gallup found that those who adopt an employee engagement focus outperform those who don’t by almost double.

While many larger businesses can invest huge sums of money in bespoke engagement programmes and initiatives, many SMEs lack the funds to invest in their staff’s wellbeing and get everyone on board with wider company objectives or business plans. With few employees in SMEs performing the same job function, they often don’t understand how their specific role helps the business grow. This is particularly true of companies with a fleet of vehicles.

In organisations where many employees spend large amounts of time out of the office – either on the road or attending a job – many don’t always know what they contribute to the business’ bottom line. And because they don’t have a clear view of performance, they can’t see the work others do and whether their colleagues or bosses are pulling their weight. Without this, it’s easier for employees to become disenfranchised and lose their incentive to work hard every day. 

But, with employee engagement playing a key role in business performance, what can SMEs running fleets do to get their employees buy back into the company ethos?

Being transparent is easy 

One way to help re-engage drivers is to introduce a fleet management system that helps monitor the performance of both employees and their vehicles when they’re out of the office. 

These generally look at key performance indicators such as distance travelled, jobs attended, vehicle speed, braking, acceleration and safety logs. The technology pulls all this information together automatically and feeds it into one central hub or dashboard – usually accessed by the person managing a fleet of vehicles. This means drivers don’t have to worry about reporting their status or compliance back to their bosses and it gives them full transparency when it comes to performance. It also makes it easier for managers to reward employees for their good work, helping improve their engagement with the organisation. 

From an organisational perspective, the benefits of the technology are two-fold. First, it can help streamline operations, increase productivity and improve field efficiency by integrating management, scheduling, dispatch, reporting and other key functions within a vehicle-based business into one platform. This can help save money that SMEs can invest in other areas of their business. Secondly, it allows organisations to maximise the potential of their employees by helping to create a sense of fulfilment.

 Healthy competition

Whatever the organisation, motivating workers to keep hitting targets week after week can be a struggle. To keep them enthused, many organisations are introducing a more competitive element to improve levels of participation and engagement. But what does look like for fleets?

It is being introduced through the concept of “gamification” – a process which encourages participation and friendly competition by introducing a “scoring” system for performance metrics such as fuel-efficient driving, vehicle idling and safety, and grading employees’ scores against each other (in the form of leader boards) and against company objectives. Drivers can then be incentivised based on key performance metrics. Incentives could be financial, or it could be something simpler, such as a free lunch, extended breaks or the ability to finish work earlier on certain days. This can bring in a sense of friendly competition amongst teams and helps them feel more engaged with the business’ core objectives – two critical factors for staff retention and longevity for SMEs.

By encouraging drivers to adapt their styles to prioritise efficiency, they can also use data to educate and reward employees who perform best on the road. But it’s not just about getting a high score; it’s also about helping employees develop and grow in their role, seeing their progress and ensuring they buy into the direction the company wants to take.

Collective responsibility

In the age of the “on-demand” economy, organisations are under huge pressure to deliver on time, placing great significance on the role of their fleet of vehicles, regardless of the size of the business. Building one that is punctual and efficient – and keeps its employees engaged – is critical to laying the foundations of growth for SMEs.

To achieve this, a comprehensive fleet management solution needs to be in place to provide an overview of individuals’ performance to all employees within the organisation, through one single application.

Derek Bryan, VP EMEA, Verizon Connect