As a fleet manager, your job is about so much more than simply managing schedules. You also need to protect your drivers’ safety, support their wellbeing, and help them engage with and improve in their jobs. After all, a happy, motivated team is a more productive one.
In fact, according to research from Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, engaged teams see improvements over their less-motivated counterparts in all kinds of areas, including:
- 17% higher productivity overall
- 10% higher customer satisfaction
- 20% higher sales
- 21% higher profitability
- And a huge 41% reduction in absenteeism
To help you keep your team engaged and operating productively, we’ve put together a list of the 6 top traits of highly effective fleet managers. We’ll also take a look at how each habit, when applied effectively, will help improve safety and boost your company’s bottom line.
1. Be Proactive When It Comes to Safety
Your team’s safety should be your number one priority. This includes staying on top of things, like vehicle maintenance, and keeping a firm grip on less-obvious issues, like fatigue and stress—both of which could lead to dangerous driving. If you wait until an accident or a close call happens, the impact on your company and employees could be catastrophic.
Fatigue has a direct correlation with crash risk, so it pays to pay attention and keep your drivers’ wellbeing front-of-mind when creating schedules.
As the graph above shows, even low-level tiredness can lead to issues. At its worst, this could lead to an accident. At the very least, it could cause your driver to take the wrong route, wasting time, petrol—and your budget.
Remember: great fleet managers are proactive with problems. This means they don’t wait until something becomes an issue—they put themselves in their drivers’ shoes and act now, instead of reacting to situations after they arise.
2. Listen to Your Team
The best fleet managers think of themselves as part of the team rather than someone operating above it. They are collaborators and mentors. They put their drivers first (people before profits) and encourage an open, communicative space for drivers to air their thoughts and concerns.
Your drivers should think of you as a person they can turn to whenever they face an issue—whether that’s a problem with their vehicle, occupational stress or even personal worries, like bereavement or anxiety. It’s your job to offer support in any way you can.
The best fleet managers are empathetic and able to imagine what it’s like to be a driver, supplier or business owner. They are determined and tough, but most importantly, fair.
3. Make Things Easy for Your Drivers
Good managers also recognize that vehicle maintenance can be difficult, so they make reporting and scheduling as effortless as possible.
This includes investing in time-saving technology, like Fleet Complete’s Inspect app, where drivers can perform their routine vehicle inspections digitally. If you’re doubting the investment, think about how much time it would save that drivers can be on the road. Also, consider that the simplicity of the inspection process with ready-made checklist and digital sign-off might ensure more regular checks – meaning your fleet is well-maintained and operating safely. Think of it this way: the more you automate, the less you and your drivers have to worry about.
You should also make your documents digital. Whiteboards and bits of paper are neither practical or secure, so move all your work orders, receipts, invoices, and product manuals into the cloud. That way, everyone can access the information they need from any device, wherever they are.
4. Define Clear Expectations
No one likes feeling confused or unsure of their responsibilities. Lack of clarity is a major issue when it comes to productivity. It increases cognitive load, which makes your drivers less focused on the task at hand. It also drains energy—something your drivers need a lot of.
Effectory is an employee engagement specialist. They conducted a study on employee clarity and performance and discovered that “nearly 50% of employees across all sectors currently lack role clarity in the workplace.”
They go on to add: “Employees who experience role clarity are 53% more efficient and 27% more effective at work than employees who have role ambiguity. Our research shows that overall work performance increases by 25%.”
Good managers are effective communicators. Applying their deep understanding of the business’s services, they are able to persuasively encourage people at all levels of the business to work towards a common purpose.
5. Set Achievable Goals
There’s also a need to set clear goals and hold drivers to a rigorous performance standard. This should include upholding safe driving practices, keeping vehicles in a clean and tidy state, and being rigorous when it comes to protecting the vehicle and its assets.
Setting goals isn’t just a good way to meet tough challenges. Creating actionable targets for drivers can also lead to greater feelings of accountability and motivation within the team, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and better performance.
Think of employee goal setting as an iterative, continual process that starts with you. First, understand why goal setting and job satisfaction are important. Then, collect feedback from your drivers and work together to implement changes. The result? Your team will feel more engaged, while you’ll have more insight into their goals and needs.
6. Promote Continual Learning
The fleet industry is always evolving—whether that’s rules and regulations, vehicles, or technology that can help you and your fleet operate safely and more efficiently. This is why it’s important for both you and your team to be adaptable to change.
The best fleet managers are motivated to continually improve. They stay on top of trends by joining associations, reading industry blogs, and leveraging new technologies, such as fleet telematics. They’re also involved in the industry and are receptive to new ideas, whether they come from peers, suppliers, or the drivers themselves. In short, they are advocates of innovation who always strive for growth.
As with all things, being proactive could be the difference between surviving and thriving. And in an increasingly busy marketplace, smart fleet managers know the importance of investing in tools that help both them and their fleet operate to the best of their ability.
If you want to help your fleet drivers be more productive, speak to us about fleet technologies by requesting a free demo.
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