Fleet safety managers need to inform employees about everything from changing regulations to effective driving techniques - and a regularly scheduled driver meeting can offer an ideal venue for such discussions.
Fleet safety managers need to inform employees about everything from changing regulations to effective driving techniques – and a regularly scheduled driver meeting can offer an ideal venue for such discussions.
A little planning will also ensure that these meetings are able to meet their objectives.
Consider the following tips when preparing for your next session:
1. Choose the best setting
Like any classroom, the setting of your meeting needs to support the learning process. That means choosing a location that is free of any distractions. Of course, fleets do not always have a dedicated training room, but you can probably find a quieter spot than the middle of an active warehouse.
The layout of the room should also support the training techniques that will be used. For example, theatre-style seating will not be too helpful if each driver needs a writing surface, and any plans for smaller group discussions will require breakout rooms.
Regardless of the setting, everyone should also have a clear view of teaching aids such as brake boards that may be used for related demonstrations. Take a moment to check out the view by sitting in chairs at the back and sides of the room.
2. Explain why this information is important to the driver
Every driver in the meeting needs to understand how your information will apply to them.
Professional drivers may be interested to learn that progressive shifting techniques will improve fuel economy, but you will really hold their attention if you can point out that this driving style can help them to secure a fuel bonus. A lesson about inspecting a steering system’s components will also seem to be more relevant if you can describe how any related defects might affect their control of a vehicle.
3. Teach in practical terms
While regulations can be read out loud and memorized, practical exercises will help your drivers understand the way this information should be applied. Rather than asking someone to identify the number of hours they are allowed to drive in a given day, for example, give them the opportunity to plan a sample trip and describe where they will stop during any off-duty time.
4. Plan your PowerPoint
A PowerPoint presentation can help to support any delivered content, but it needs to be more than a transcript of your presentation.
Incorporate no more than six words per line, add charts and illustrations that support your points, and pick contrasting colours to ensure the text is as legible as possible. In general, you should also be changing slides no more than once per minute.
Meanwhile, hand out hard copies of these slides to give drivers a place to take notes, creating some valuable reference material in the process.
5. Learn before you deliver
Nothing will lose the attention of a group more quickly than a trainer who insists on reading from the pages of a textbook or regulation. Every presentation should come across like a conversation. Limit your speaking notes to a point-form list that will remind you about any key discussion points.
6. Test and measure
A simple quiz will help you to identify the drivers who fail to grasp the information that is delivered at these meetings. If the majority of drivers are failing to provide the correct answers, you may want to reconsider your teaching methods.
7. Make sure all managers deliver the same message
If drivers are being told to follow a certain procedure, their supervisors need to hear the same message. It doesn’t make sense to stress the importance of hours of service rules and fatigue management techniques if a rogue dispatcher is encouraging employees to bend the regulations.
8. Follow your agenda
Everyone’s time is valuable, and it will be up to you to keep the discussions on topic. Trainers need to ensure the flexibility to answer questions that emerge during the course of a meeting, but a formal agenda will also help to ensure that all of the related topics are addressed.
Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program, the Canadian Trucking HR Council (CTHRC) is an incorporated not-for-profit organization that helps attract, train and retain workers for Canada’s trucking industry. For more information, visit www.cthrc.com.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News