Drivers invested in training improve behavior, consultant says

Many drivers resent training because they see it as punishment. Some fleets assign training as corrective action after something has gone wrong, Kelly Anderson, president, Kelly Anderson Group said on Thursday.

Drivers don’t understand the value and what’s in it for them, Anderson said at a webinar organized by transportation management system provider Axele.

A slide from the Axele webinar.
(Photo: Axele)

Anderson’s company helps transportation companies recruit, retain and train drivers. He said punishment has no training value. He also pointed out that not all bonuses change behavior. He said drivers don’t drive safely because they don’t want to lose a bonus. But they will slow down and limit idling for a fuel bonus.

Anderson said some bonuses, like those for productivity, reward the wrong behavior and increase risk. If you pay drivers more to drive more miles, it motivates them to drive when tired and take more risks, he said.

The challenges companies face include how to get people to complete assignments and how to realize the results from the training.

Company owners must ask themselves why they made the investment and why do they have to put themselves through the stress. Anderson said, “Don’t let someone with no investment in or commitment to your business put everything you have built at risk.”

Drivers must be asked “why do you do what you do?” And the answer is most likely “so I can provide for my family,” Anderson said. Trainers must explain to drivers that a good licence, safety and compliance record, and physical will help them drive a truck and provide for their family.

There are different ways to get an assignment completed. A company could expect it to be completed, or won’t dispatch a driver until it is completed, and some pay a bonus.

Expectations

If employees understand your expectations and understand you will enforce those expectations, they will comply, Anderson said.

He added that if people only take assignments because you are making them, you won’t realize the results you want. Change the reason for them doing it. Anderson suggested instilling pride in the team by creating a culture of excellence, comradery and recognizing accomplishments.

Recognition is a huge motivator, he said. Accident-free driving, fuel economy and clean inspections should be celebrated, he added.

Get to know your drivers, Anderson advised. Ask them what they expect from you and let them know what you expect from them. Building relationships with drivers will help improve communication and safety, he said.

Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at leo@newcom.ca

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