The 2-step plan to prevent your drivers rejecting your telematics system
Here’s something that all experienced fleet managers know deep down to be true, and less experienced managers soon find out:
The biggest factor in determining how well a new fleet safety product/service will work for your organisation has nothing to do with price.
It’s nothing to do with how shiny the equipment or software is.
Nor is it related to how easy it is to set up… or indeed how good looking the supplier’s team is (although here’s proof that it doesn’t hurt 😉)
The biggest factor that will determine whether any safety product cuts your incident-rate, repair costs and insurance bills is the extent to which your drivers are on board with it.
Without true engagement from your drivers, no safety policy will work very well or last very long.
Lack of driver engagement is a key reason why some companies experience difficulties when introducing telematics systems among their drivers.
Companies tell me that they often have to deal with objections, and in some cases flat out rejection, from their drivers who do not want to have data collected, as is required with telematics systems.
This is understandable.
After all, being observed can make drivers feel quite stressed. Drivers might be concerned about how the data will be used. Sometimes, individuals oppose the system if it requires them to change their driving habits or threatens their freedom to do their job.
That being said, the good news is that objections to telematics need not be an inevitability.
In fact, there are two preventative steps you can take.
The first step is conceptual…
Step 1: Get your drivers on board with the idea of telematics.
The second step is practical…
Step 2: Optimise the actual implementation of the telematics system after you’ve got your drivers on board with the idea of it.
Allow me to explain further.
Step 1: Getting your drivers on board with the idea of telematics
To some degree, we are all inclined to resist change. Given that introducing a new telematics represents a significant change that drivers will feel the impact of immediately and daily, managers are well-advised to neutralise resistance by preparing drivers for the change, before the change actually occurs.
Here are 5 ways to achieve this.
- Communicate the broad objectives behind using telematics at the outset.
- Explain the specific benefits that the telematics system, and drivers’ compliance, with lead to. For example, explain that it will lead to fewer crashes and fuel efficiencies and how this will improve profitability and job security.
- Quantify the benefits rather than only describing the high level benefits. For example, explain in as concrete terms as possible what a telematics-induced 5% saving on fuel and less bent metal will mean for the business in actual terms (e.g. more widgets being produced, more deliveries being made, better service etc).
- Explain your duty of care. Remember, not all drivers are aware of this important responsibility you have.
- Give drivers an opportunity to express their concerns anonymously and make sure you respond to those concerns in an open dialogue with the workforce.
These tips are easy to put into practice and have the potential to make an enormous difference to how likely your drivers are to engage with your telematics system.
Step 2: Optimising the implementation of your telematics system
So you have followed the advice above and your drivers are on board with the idea of telematics, as well as all that brings in terms of having their data collected and being under closer scrutiny.
The work you’ve done to get this point could be undone if actual implementation is handled poorly. Some refer to this as “execution risk”.
To minimise this risk, consider following the process below.
#1 Pilot: Conduct a pilot project on your newly installed system and collect baseline data
#2 Plan: Develop a training and communications campaign for drivers, managers and leaders; Design your fleet risk management programme
#3 Deploy: Roll out the programme taking into account experiences from the pilot
#4 Review: monitor performance and adjust as necessary
The time spent paving the way for the successful introduction of a telematics system, or indeed any new fleet safety product/service, is an incredibly valuable investment of time that managers ought to prioritise.
The steps in this article are designed to assist you in investing this planning time wisely.
These are steps that successful managers are taking to secure the engagement of drivers, without which all other safety benefits are infinitely harder, if not impossible, to attain.