4 Steps to Stronger Safety Incentive Programs for Motor Carriers

  1. Make Them Predictable and Achievable
    1. Predictable: Set a schedule, ideally quarterly. Quarterly bonuses reward them frequently and keep promoting the behavior you want to see more of. Additionally, use data to
    2. Achievable: Make sure everyone has a fair chance at the incentive by basing the incentive around behaviors that the drivers control. Avoid offering incentives based on hours or on-time deliveries, which can often be outside of the driver’s control thanks to the weather, dwell time, traffic, or ill-health. These events aren’t predictable, and basing incentives around them can cause drivers to either take risks to keep their bonus or ignore
    3. Rather than incentivizing zero speeding incidents, give them a free pass and re-start the clock.
  2. Give Drivers What They Want
    1. It’s easy to throw a quarterly bonus together, but is that what your team values most? And is it what will set you apart from other companies who are competing for your drivers?
    2. Anyone can throw more money at their drivers. Creating an incentive program that offers something that drivers really value can help influence behavior and increase the longevity of your program while also boosting retention.
    3. Consider starting your incentive program with a survey of drivers. Ask them questions about their job, what they’d change, and what they wouldn’t.
    4. For example, some drivers would much prefer earning more paid vacation time than a few hundred dollars a quarter.
  3. Set Benchmarks to Measure Progress
    1. Before rolling out your incentive program, you need to know where you started so you can better measure your progress. Spend a month collecting data to create a baseline. You might be surprised at what your biggest perceived risks are vs. what the data tells you.
    2. For example, you might think that speeding isn’t a big problem because you have governors and rarely see tickets. But you might see trucks driving far too quickly through urban areas.
  4. Shout Out the Progress
    1. Don’t just hand out the rewards every quarter. Give them further recognition and validation.
    2. The nature of long-haul trips in particular means drivers are very isolated. With public recognition, you generate social proof that your program works and that their fellow drivers are seeing real rewards. This can help win over those hold-outs who just want to do their job without influence from the office.

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