Fleet managers and safety managers have more information and tools to identify driver risk than ever before. Thanks to advanced analytic tools, managers can identify driving risks quickly and with incredible accuracy. However, finding practical ways to mitigate those risks is still very much a human problem.
Leadership support is critical for training to succeed
We know driver safety programs create a long-lasting behavioral change that establishes an organization’s underlying assumptions about safety. For managers, the benefits of introducing an improved driver safety program are often both obvious and considerable. The reduction of collisions, fatalities, and injuries that result in lawsuits and lost productivity are reasons to promote a workplace that revolves around safety.
Unfortunately, not everyone will see the need for change. Employees may respond to the program implementation with less enthusiasm than management. Some drivers may be motivated to take safety training only by personal factors after a collision or a near-collision. These same drivers could resent a corporate mandate to do so before any accident takes place. They may also interpret a new safety initiative as a negative commentary on their current performance or even as a betrayal of trust.
Therefore, senior management must work hard to encourage employees to see the value in driver safety training. The company’s leadership must communicate that implementing a driver safety program is a proactive, rather than a reactive, measure. Changing these perspectives and ensuring that drivers are motivated and prepared to learn is challenging. However, it will increase the likelihood of information retention and help facilitate real change.
How leadership can expedite change:
The benefits of communication
A short message from the senior leadership team about the company’s belief in the importance of safe driving could help achieve the following:
Create the right conditions for change
Proper training can lead to long-lasting behavioral change if completed in good faith. A strong commitment from executives can help motivate drivers. If drivers are not committed to learning, behavioral changes will not last.
Change basic assumptions
Some drivers might assume that managers care more about corporate performance than about employee safety. By personally endorsing a safety training program, managers can illustrate that the safety of their drivers is a top organizational priority.
Hold drivers accountable
Using a customized message from the company’s leadership to introduce a driver safety program will inform employees of all necessary expectations and responsibilities. With program goals and deadlines clearly communicated, drivers are less likely to ignore or rush through the training, and they will be more likely to take it seriously.
Ultimately, improving safety knowledge and behavior in a workplace requires broad cultural change. It requires a different way of thinking, acting, and identifying with safety. Safety needs to be treated as a priority and not as an afterthought. Technology and advanced metrics can be excellent training aids. However, programs are most successful when they target the underlying behavioral assumptions surrounding driving itself and establish the need for regular, ongoing training.
Invest in driver safety training
Managers in charge of selecting a driver safety training program should prioritize one that allows senior leadership to communicate directly with their employees. A high-quality driver safety program will not only correctly leverage modern training methods, accurate information, and technology, but it will also allow a company’s leadership to keep drivers informed of the program’s scope and their progress within it.
Regular communication can provide the program with both purpose and direction, which will ultimately boost compliance. A company’s drivers are only as safe as the training they receive, and they will only take such training seriously if their leaders do as well. The human component—investment—is as critical as any of the safety content covered in training. It is crucial to ensure that the implementation of any driver safety program is in sync with the company’s goal to get all of its drivers sincerely invested in learning. Otherwise, any behavioral change will be temporary.
Alertdriving and Skillsoft
Since 1998, Alertdriving has specialized in global, online driver risk management solutions. Our one-of-a-kind platform, FleetDefense®, helps customers reduce collisions, injuries, operating costs and liability exposure in over 125 countries. AlertDriving’s pioneering solutions continue to define the standards for innovation and efficacy.
We are delighted to now partner with Skillsoft. Together we give Skillsoft Compliance customers access to a comprehensive, innovative solution for educating company drivers on the dangers of road risk. By utilizing the Alertdriving solution, an online approach to improve driver behavior proactively, customers reduce injuries, operating costs and liability exposure for some of the largest businesses in the world, with clients routinely experiencing a 60% reduction in collisions.