August 4, 2022
Here at Wessex Fleet, we work with businesses of all sizes, from those who have just a few employees with company cars to those with numerous multi-site vehicles. One thing we find in common across them all is that the companies with better driver engagement have a better-maintained fleet.
Drivers taking on responsibility for their company cars has many benefits, it promotes better care for the vehicles which results in less damage repairs and a better asset for you if they are business-owned vehicles, or lower charges if they are leased models. Repairs or maintenance work will be spotted earlier, and so the costs will be lower and further wear will not happen. If drivers feel a sense of responsibility for the vehicle they are also likely to avoid engaging in potentially dangerous driving habits that they might otherwise do, such as harsh braking or not regularly checking the oil level.
Top Five Tips to Improve Driver Engagement
1. Have Clear Guidelines and Expectations
Drivers cannot meet your expectations for their company vehicles if they don’t know what they are. You need to have clear and accessible guidelines on the expected responsibilities when they take a company vehicle, whether that’s as their own company car or using a pool vehicle.
Setting out the expectations is an easy way for your business to encourage driver responsibility as it makes clear from when they accept the use of the vehicle what they’ll need to do. But don’t worry if you want to improve the guidelines while drivers are in contract, you can do this you just need to be careful that you do not give your existing drivers unfair rules they did not agree to.
You want to make sure that what you expect from your drivers and what they can expect from the company is clearly stated and fair for both parties.
If you need help with this or any other aspect of fleet management then we’re always happy to help just get in touch.
2. Provide Training and Support
Another simple way to improve driver responsibility is to make sure that they have support and training to help improve their driving habits. With better habits not only comes safer driving for them and their passengers but also for the vehicle.
Additionally, you can offer courses on vehicle maintenance or additional support leaflets on things to check / look out for so that the support is directly related to caring for the vehicle as well.
3. Have Open and Easy Communication Channels
If you want your drivers to look after their company cars then they not only need to know what checks to be doing and best driving practices but how they can report any maintenance work needed, who they need to contact if there is something wrong with their vehicle.
We recommend having a designated fleet management team, whether this is internal or an external one like us, who are easy to contact and able to resolve any vehicle questions or queries they have. This might be a case of them finding out the information from another team member or company and feeding this back to the employee but by being their point of contact they have a clear line of communication making it simpler to report vehicle issues and for these to be resolved.
4. Conduct Regular Vehicle Checks
This can be done by your fleet management team or the drivers themselves. We advise getting the vehicle driver to complete these checks and then fill in a report that is processed by the fleet management team as this encourages them to look after the vehicle and report any issues detected.
We recommend that once a month the vehicle condition is checked over. This allows any small or unnoticed damage to be picked up and quickly repaired to avoid more costly bills further down the line. Additionally, these checks can include the vehicle fluids and tyre pressure which can easily be topped up by the driver if needed just as they would in their own vehicle.
5. Allow Them Some Autonomy
Drivers are more likely to engage if they are in a vehicle of their choice and they feel like they have been given some executive power in the decision-making process.
A lot of businesses find that letting drivers choose their own company car, with only a few limits such as a price cap and target CO2 emission levels, gives them a greater sense of responsibility for the vehicle as it is one they want to be driving.
Another area that you can give the drivers some control over the vehicle is with the monthly vehicle checks we suggested above. You can allow them to decide when they complete these checks, provided they’re done within the month. This flexibility allows them the freedom to complete at the most convenient times for them.
Enjoyed this article? Read more of our latest blogs below:
- How Much Could Your Fleet Save by Switching to EVs?
- Understanding Seatbelt Laws
- Getting an Extra Number Plate for a Leased Car
- Wessex Fleet and Snows Motor Group Create Snows Direct
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