There are a number of ways to drive safety within your organization. Some say it starts with the CEO. Others say it ends at the safety manager. In reality, the safety of your fleet is driven primarily by its truck drivers. The fact is, your operators hold the keys to the CSA castle.
For many a fleet safety, HR or recruiting manager, things like back-office aspects, from drug testing programs to inspection protocols and e-logs take up the majority of available time. But what many seem to overlook is the truck driver relationship aspect. Is your fleet doing enough to get to know its operators?
To Know Your Truck Drivers
In any situation, people want friends. Getting to know the people that are at the forefront of your fleet’s operations can do only good. It should be considered a perk to get to know your truck drivers. Having experienced truck drivers is something that should be treated with honor and respect.
When you are recruiting a new person, training a new driver, or even doing an exit interview, you want to be able to look someone in the eye and be completely above board with them. Even if a situation arises where benefits or pay have to be cut, when you can be honest with someone, generally they will trust in your word that it will be okay, and you will find them back in the cab the next day.
By operating this way, you ensure veteran truck drivers have the faith in your organization, that they will work harder and be more loyal over the long term. You want to treat them fairly, with respect and dignity.
It’s About More Than Paper
You can’t just write something down and expect it to be just so. Just because you’ve expressed a thought doesn’t mean that your driver is going to go out there and actually implement whatever your idea is. You need buy-in. Those who work for you want to know you care.
Most of all, remember that the bad comes with the good. As a responsible fleet or safety manager, you need to know that whether you have to hire, fire or fuss at, it’s more important that your people are safe than that someone had their feelings hurt.
You also need to keep specific fleet policies in mind. While many may be immediately inclined to let their truck drivers take the vehicle home, you also want to make sure the truck is parked somewhere safe.
Integrating the New and Old
When you are evaluating your relationship with your truck drivers, it’s important to remember that we live in a brave new world. Now you have to cover things like electronic logging devices and advanced safety technologies. You’ve got to make sure your people are bought in to these new ideas.
For most fleets, their truck drivers are sort of on the fence about e-logs. Some might ask what they will do if they get held up at a shipper or receiver. On the other side of it your truck drivers should be reminded that they will have better navigation capabilities, messaging capabilities and in some cases advanced technologies like touchscreen tablets.
While you may run into arguments regarding privacy and such, the fact is this technology is all about safety. If your truck drivers show disinterest or don’t pay attention, it could have an impact on your fleet’s safety.
In the end, the best way to ensure safety is to ensure your truck drivers are motivated to operate safely, and the best way to get them to do that is to ensure you are getting to know them. Only through solid relationships with your people can you help ensure the safety of your fleet.