The Keys To Proper Coaching: Part I

When it comes to increasing a fleet’s level of overall safety, coaching is key. Yet, far too few transportation companies handle coaching properly. Fleet managers must understand that to maintain a top-notch level of truck driver safety, they must take a comprehensive and proactive approach to safety coaching.

Essentially, transportation companies must combine all the cutting-edge tools at their disposal with an effective “human element” to ensure their truck drivers are getting the message. Programs exist that provide fleet managers and supervisors with the data they need to improve coaching opportunities and truck driver performance.

By investing in coaching, motor carriers can better manage driver risk by predicting which truck drivers and behaviors are most likely to result in a collision. This allows a fleet manager to focus his or her coaching efforts on those who need the most help.

There are three critical factors associated with effective coaching:

  • Reduction of truck driver turnover;
  • Cost cutting, and;
  • Morale boosting;

In addition to this, there are more than a few ways in which a fleet can measure the success of their coaching efforts:

  • How much time it takes to coach;
  • The overall cost of coaching;
  • Measuring behavioral change, and;
  • Seeing improved safety scores across the fleet.

Let’s look at one of the most important parts of any coaching program: The truck driver.

From an Employment Perspective

It is no great secret that employees thrive when they are recognized for a job well done and improved performance. They also appreciate it when their fleet actively spends time, money, and effort in ensuring they can safely operate their vehicles and can succeed.

While some employees may initially balk at measures taken to improve coaching, such as in-cab video, telematics, or other methods, once they realize that these systems can help exonerate them from false claims and help them become better truck drivers, it isn’t long before they buy into the concept.

When truck drivers know that their fleet is actively investing in making them better, it increases overall morale. As morale increases, truck drivers are less likely to jump ship to another fleet. Research shows that coaching has a net positive effect on how employees view their job.

From a Cost Perspective

Effective coaching also goes a long way in improving your company’s bottom line. When truck drivers are better at what they do, it helps to realize greater cost savings through fewer accidents and claims. Fleets also realize less vehicle wear-and-tear and increased fuel efficiency.

Furthermore, when truck drivers are less likely to quit and go elsewhere, this decreases the costs associated with turnover, recruiting, and retaining truck drivers. When the coaching is effective, the bottom line sees better days.

Using Technology to Coach

The fact is this: Watching video footage is an extremely effective way to train new or inexperienced truck drivers. It also allows a coach to get a clear look at how well a truck driver is doing and what their learning curve is. How quickly does the truck driver respond upon seeing the footage?

Telematics allow coaches to dig into the raw data associated with how the truck driver is driving. From sensing speed to braking and more, sensors and other advanced telematics solutions provide hard data that coaches, and truck drivers, can swiftly act upon.

The fact is, no cost is too high when it comes to ensuring safe operation of fleet equipment. Trucking companies should ensure they are investing wisely into coaching efforts. With so many new truck drivers entering the work force, a guiding hand could be the only thing preventing a disaster out on the road.