In the US, the trucking industry generated $875.5 billion in gross freight revenues, accounting for 80.8% of the country’s freight invoice in 2021. Moreover, associated businesses employ 38.9 million trucks and nearly 7.99 million employees.
This data suggests that the trucking industry contributes to the nation’s economy on multiple levels. Nonetheless, running a profitable business in such a competitive industry is challenging. So it’s essential for businesses to efficiently manage and improve their fleet’s performance and business processes.
However, using tools to optimize your fleet operations and monitor varied KPIs (key performance indicators) will only take you so far. But gathering honest driver feedback through surveys can be your key to improving your fleet’s performance.
What is Fleet Performance Management, and How Can Drivers Help Improve It?
Fleet performance management goes beyond the traditional concepts of business success and profitability to further optimize resources. It considers fleet safety via risk management techniques, such as loss minimization goals, incident inspection, and data analysis. It even accounts for insurance requirements and driver behavior.
But businesses and managers can’t keep track of all the KPIs, so they employ fleet management solutions and tracking devices. Focusing on safety, efficiency, and compliance, these solutions offer deep insights regarding a fleet’s performance, including:
- Real-time location tracking of your drivers
- Driver behavior analysis to promote responsibility and accountability
- Instant route planning and management to optimize fuel usage
- Comprehensive trip data metrics for review
Armed with these insights, fleet managers can work on achieving macro business goals, leverage their strengths, and identify areas of improvement. These solutions drastically improve fleet performance, cutting unnecessary costs and making drivers more efficient. The number of truck driver jobs has experienced a notable increase in recent years, playing a vital role in the overall performance of a fleet and should be prioritized for improvement.
Such solutions even record and transmit HOS (hours of service) reports to the relevant authorities, letting you stay compliant with FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) rules and regulations. They also inform drivers when they’re violating FMCSA regulations, taking care of all your compliance requirements.
Though crucial for fleet management and devising risk management strategies, these solutions make it easy for managers to overlook their most valuable resource: their drivers and other employees.
How can Drivers Help Improve Fleet Performance?
Drivers form the backbone of the fleet industry, and tapping into their on-field experience makes it easier for fleet managers to anticipate and take corrective measures for definitive risks.
That said, managers can also turn to their other employees for feedback. This will help them understand the impact of business processes and systems on their human capital. However, fearing the management’s wrath, most employees either don’t provide feedback or when they do, they provide extremely generic answers.
This is where feedback surveys come in.
Being anonymous allows your employees to open up and share their genuine feedback on business processes. Collecting feedback will allow companies to enhance their performance on and off the road, perpetuating a positive work environment.
Moreover, you can minimize absenteeism and improve employee retention by making your employees feel that they’re being heard and their opinions are valued. The best part? This simple activity has the potential to solve one of the biggest challenges faced by the fleet industry: managing and retaining skilled employees.
That’s not all. With around six in 10 employees actively disengaged at their workplace, feedback surveys have the power to improve employee engagement. At the same time, this might not look like a significant problem, unmotivated and disengaged employees cost the global economy $8.8 trillion, making it vital to improve employee engagement.
But handing your employees a survey link won’t yield satisfactory results unless you know the right questions to ask. But giving your employees a survey link won’t deliver satisfactory results unless you know the right questions to ask. Considering the engagement rate to measure and improve employee engagement effectively is crucial.
Tips for Designing Driver Feedback Surveys to Improve Fleet Performance
Feedback surveys aren’t just a means to improve employee engagement. It’s also an excellent tool to help you improve your business’s bottom line and drive growth. However, to achieve that, you need to design an effective survey to gain actionable insights.
Below are a few tips to help you develop an impressive employee feedback survey and gather related feedback.
1. Curate a List of Questions to Gather Relevant Feedback
Your feedback survey will propel business growth only if you ask your drivers and employees relevant questions. So create an employee feedback survey based on the output you desire.
For instance, if you need their feedback on vehicle procurement and maintenance policies, include these questions in your survey. However, if you’d like to involve your drivers in executive business decisions, you can ask for their views on vehicle procurement and up-fitting.
Similarly, if you’d like to understand the efficacy of internal processes or new policies, devise surveys that pose questions relevant to these topics. So if your employees are unclear about the repair status of the vehicles, you can ask them if they’d like to try out a work order template.
But before you do that, tell them about the benefits of one. A work order template will allow all the stakeholders involved to keep track of all the approved and pending repairs and the work that has been completed. This will ensure everyone is on the same page, eliminating unnecessary back and forth.
You can either create your template in-house or take advantage of the free ones available online to have a single source of truth. Besides recording repairs approved and complete, these templates also help you record data about the parts used, their guarantee and warranty period, and the total cost.
Moreover, if used efficiently, a work order template can help you recognize vehicle trends and issues, allowing you to calculate the vehicle’s ROI (return on investment) in real-time.
Remember, this feedback isn’t just about gauging where you’re going wrong. This is an excellent opportunity to remind them that their opinions matter.
Key points to remember while curating the survey
While devising your survey, ensure that you’re hitting the following two important notes:
- Primary theme: these questions are must-haves, forming the crux of your survey. They should be framed in a manner that leaves no room for interpretation. You don’t want to end up with answers to GPS importance when you’d posed the question to learn about the actual performance of the installed ELD device.
- Secondary theme: these are your nice-to-have questions. They allow you to determine if your employees are engaged, happy, and motivated. You can ask them how likely they are to recommend the company to their friends and family. Check if they’re thriving in their current role or if something is missing.
You can even add a few other questions that would further your agenda, but refrain from turning the survey into a five-page questionnaire. Keep it short, crisp, and create a targeted survey to receive appropriate feedback from your employees.
2. Set Deadlines and Identify the Reviewers
Devising questions for a survey is just one part of the puzzle. To ensure that your employees don’t submit the feedback randomly, set strict deadlines for their submission. Encourage your employees to take time out of their busy schedules to complete the survey.
If some of your employees need more clarification, remind them of the benefits of filling out the survey. Tell them how their feedback is key to improving the business processes and how it would impact them and their colleagues.
Pick reviewers from the executive team and ascertain that the individuals you’re picking:
- can take an unbiased approach,
- won’t get upset over constructive feedback, and
- would go through all the feedback surveys.
But just going through the surveys won’t provide actionable data. So you must ensure that there are individuals on the reviewer board who can make sense of all the feedback and turn them into actionable data. For better results, set deadlines for the reviewers too.
3. Gather and Implement Feedback
If you’re through with the above steps, it’s time to gather your employee’s feedback and ensure that the review board is prepared to go through the feedback. After the board presents you with a list of feedback your employees offer, you need to decide which ones to implement.
You obviously can’t implement them, even if they’re all pertinent. Pick the ones impacting the business the most and address the issues in real-time. This will let your employees know that the survey wasn’t just for show and that their concerns are essential to the organization.
Use Feedback Surveys to Improve Your Bottom Line
Encouraging your employees to take feedback surveys will open lines of communication. It’ll empower them to proactively reach out to the management or their supervisor about their issues. This will build their confidence in the organization and turn them from mere employees to brand champions.
Feedback surveys can work wonders for fleet performance management if you define the objective of the survey beforehand. Don’t go in blind. If you’re unclear about the survey’s goal, it’ll impact your survey questions and the feedback you receive. You can use dedicated software if you need more time or expertise to curate a survey.