Creating Your Driver of the Year

As Chairperson of the Hamilton Niagara Fleet Safety Council it has been a pleasure to see so many people nominated over the years for their professional driving techniques, attention to detail, accident free record for a certain time period, great customer service, and much more. The recipients are awarded with a jacket and other mementos should they win the nomination. If you would like to view the criteria then visit the Fleet Safety Council website and click on the Hamilton Niagara Chapter for details. The actual award is the Rick Grammick Award, a person who was very special to the chapter. You may be asking yourself why I bring all this up as you are not part of the Fleet Safety Council? The reason I bring this up is that in an age of fierce competition in driver recruiting and retention, fleets trying to attract new people to the industry, why wouldn’t each employer hold their own awards internally at their own company? I know in the past it was always a silent function, if you worked at a company and were good they would give you a newer truck, or better runs, or a steady run. All great stuff but it was never mentioned out loud that it was for a good job. I think much of it has to do with the industry being mostly men and bonding is not meant to be shown. As we have come to learn however, is that everyone, both men and women need that feed back and support on a regular basis to help them keep doing their jobs effectively.

We hear a lot about those that have terrible records in the industry and the industry regulations focus on the negative side of transportation on a regular basis. What about the good side, what about the drivers and employees at companies that are doing a good job, and being safe on the roadways? We need to hear more about that throughout the year especially in the workplace. It will help in the recruiting drives, it will help with retention issues, and it will help in company culture. Go to any truck show and you will see guys line up and polish all weekend for that one trophy showing they have the most pride in their trucks. Why not do that for other areas of transportation? Why not have an award for the best customer service, safest driver of the month, etc?

I find too many companies focus on the negative and don’t promote the people doing a good job, and then when that person leaves management doesn’t understand why. This goes for any industry and any company, whatever your product or service, is there is a way create a positive environment for those that deal with it on a regular basis. One of the best programs in the workplace has been the McDonald’s Employee of the Month Program. Why do we not have that in transportation? Why is it only left for truck shows or special events? If you would like to create your own program here is what you do. Find a few areas that can be measured on a regular basis, you may not want to do this monthly, or maybe quarterly works better for you. One might be equipment cleanliness, customer service, on-time deliveries, fuel economy, etc. Road safety and freight incidents may be tracked as another program for a yearly basis. The point is to have something that can be attained and shows off what the top performers are doing and reward them for the hard work they are putting into your company. Many companies do these types of things but they are limited in criteria. For instance you get an award after a million miles of accident free driving. That’s fine, it’s a great milestone to achieve, but you are talking ten years out before you can get that award. Reward your people and you will find that it brings up the workers that need help and awards the ones that are working hard for you. The other choice is to do nothing and wonder why they left.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant with 30 years of experience in the transportation industry. For more information on his programs please visit his website at www.outridge.ca