Trucking company managers and owners must carefully consider policy enforcement strategy for the sake of the law and company interests. The trick is how to do it?
Policy enforcement/management is a linchpin strategy and includes:
- • Safety training – new hire/orientation and continuous training
- • Driver remediation
- • Money-saving practices – ex. braking and accelerating to maximize fuel efficiency
- • Breaks – frequency and length
- • ELD regulations
- • New laws/regulations – federal and state-specific
- • Company-specific policies
You need drivers to cooperate. But you don’t want to push away drivers with your methods. “Hey guys, get it together!!!” on your message board probably isn’t going to work. (Maybe you’ve tried it.)
And, threats can work, but they have their place, and they can’t produce a better team of drivers for the long run. You’ve also got a limited budget for bonuses.
How do you strike a balance between urgency and long-term effectiveness?
1 – Pick Your Top Content
First, identify your priorities. The solution is not to lower the hammer on everything at once. That can be alienating to your drivers and confusing.
Consider your top priorities for policy enforcement. This is your “top content” for training. What protects your business? What would pull up the most important numbers? These are the specific areas to focus on first.
2 – Prioritize Safety
Include legal and safety issues, no matter what. Tickets, fines, fees, incidents, accidents, and lawsuits all come down to driver knowledge and performance on legal and safety topics.
If you don’t currently use online driver training, this could be a good time to get on board. Online training lets you release brief, continuous content to drivers that they can finish quickly, remember easily, complete more frequently, and do in their off time.
Bare minimum safety and legal issues you need to cover:
- • Distracted/impaired driving
- • Speed
- • Maintenance and safety/road checks
- • Situation-specific policies, such as driving with HAZMAT
3 – Streamline Info Distribution
Remember the old phrase, “It’s not always what you say; it’s how you say it?”
- • Are you communicating in a way that all drivers have the technology to receive?
- • Are you communicating frequently and dependably, or scatter-shot?
- • Are communications always relevant to the recipient?
Make it a mantra of leadership to view compliance as your responsibility. What can you do to make this easier? A reliable organizing tool that helps you streamline training, documentation and communication with drivers can speed up compliance without causing chaos.
Streamlining information distribution, while keeping top content like safety and legal issues #1, is going to maximize efficiency, cut stress, and meet more compliance goals.
4 – Understand Enforcement vs. Management
Enforcement is a direct method, whether positive or negative, to spur drivers on to policy compliance. Management describes the strategies you put in place to indirectly influence compliance.
Either of these solutions can work. But they do not equally save you time, money, and frustration. The idea is, the more management you can improve, the less enforcement you’ll have to push.
Methods of enforcement (commonly used):
- • Positive reinforcement (awards, acknowledgments, bonuses)
- • Negative reinforcement (pulling someone from the schedule until they comply, warnings, threatening to fire)
Methods of management (not as common):
- • Make training and remediation requirements easier to fulfill
- • Send positive feedback to drivers regularly (individually and as a fleet)
- • Send requests for improvement along with why and how (ex. “We’ve got a short, easy training this week to help you reduce speed violations.”)
- • Improve driver-manager and driver-dispatcher communication
- • Give leadership roles to drivers who excel (ex. driver mentors and driver trainers)
- • Use key drivers as regular point people to learn first-hand about driver experience, complaints, and needs
- • Connect CEO to drivers regularly (ex. through a short video)
5 – Improve Management Strategy
The lists above are just examples. What methods you actually use will depend on your particular business. But remember, trucking companies tend to rely more on enforcement than management strategies. The examples for enforcement are common, whereas the examples for management are not.
Just pick one or two of these management strategies to improve, and you’re already an industry leader. Investing in solutions that get to the heart of the problem, instead of spending all your attention on fixing problems—that’s what’s going to make a difference.
Let’s just take one example. If you used some of your star drivers as trainers and mentors for new drivers, and then made changes based on trainer and mentor feedback, you’re already sending a strong message:
- • You care about keeping excellent drivers
- • You make training a smooth, positive process
- • You want drivers to have good relationships on the road
- • You want to hear what’s going on with drivers
- • You want drivers to be real and honest
- • Drivers directly contribute to making your business better
This is the kind of place drivers want to work, and the kind of management they’re ready to cooperate with.
6 – Manage Your Records
There is urgency behind policy enforcement/management, but how often is half the urgency just stress, because you’re not as organized as you could be?
When you’re sure who’s been trained, who needs training, what topics need to be covered, what topics you’ll need to cover soon, who have complied, and who you’re still waiting on, the battle is halfway won. You can apply pressure where you need to, and not just push all issues to all drivers. Don’t generate confusion and frustration because you’re not sure you’ve covered your bases with documentation.
Prioritizing excellent management will support your positive and negative enforcement policies to save you time, money, and turnover, and show your drivers you’re in it for the long haul.
Infinit-I Workforce Solutions combines online training with management communication tools so you can connect with drivers like never before. All training is auto-documented in our secure, cloud-based server, giving you a 24/7 accessible, accurate record of driver compliance. Try a free demo!