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Game On: The Future of Fleet Performance

February 11, 2016

As physical and digital worlds increasingly collide, social networking and gamification are becoming common in the workforce. In fact, more than 70 percent of Forbes Global 2,000 companies reported using gamification in 2015.

Gamification, which emerged in 2002, is using game design techniques in non-game contexts to motivate employees. The approach didn’t make its way into the 330-year old fleet industry until 2014. These fun applications help employees see their entire fleet’s driver behavior data in real time. This allows companies to set up internal metrics for success, which encourages healthy competition among colleagues. For example, one fleet started using gamification to improve company culture. Shortly thereafter, its management team noticed that while company culture improved, so did driver accident rates. By incentivizing drivers with gift cards, the company was able to positively engage employees while also improving safety.

Feet managers can now boost engagement while coaching drivers to become safer and more efficient. However, simply adopting a gamification program is not a magic bullet. In truth, a large part of gamification’s success depends on how a fleet manager guides his or her company through the rollout. Following are three steps to ensure fleet managers know how to maintain and monitor these programs so drivers are motivated and incentivized to participate for the long term.

STEP 1: DEFINE THE MISSION

Are company goals to increase safety, reduce costs or provide better customer service? All are important, but it’s best to focus on one critical mission at a time. For example, an HVAC company learned through its fleet management system’s real-time engine reading capabilities that its drivers had a habit of harsh braking. As a result, the habit led to damaged vehicles, wasted fuel and even crashes. The company’s management knew it needed to reduce harsh braking by 30 percent, and thought a friendly, prize-based competition would rally employees around the mission.

STEP 2: CREATE A PLAYBOOK

Define the mission, then clearly communicate how a gamification program will support the goals. By setting defined metrics and ground rules early on, both employees and managers will be more inclined to work together toward the same mission. When employees focus on one aspect of good driving, other aspects often improve simultaneously.

Managers also should encourage and guide employees by providing resources. Education and real-time feedback are key components to a successful gamification strategy. Before drivers get on the road, inform them of tactics that have worked well for other drivers, as well as the risks associated with ignoring safe driving protocol. Coupled with real-time feedback from the mobile application, this will allow drivers to see exactly how they are performing on a points scale.

If they do begin driving recklessly, the app will immediately provide them with tips on how to reduce unsafe behavior. From the best driver to the driver with the lead foot, everyone should be hyper-aware of his or her driving habits. This will result in better performance across the board, and a transition from a “gotcha” to a “great job” culture.

STEP 3: GAME ON

When the first two steps are done right, this final phase should be easy. Even less tech savvy employees will be up for the challenge because fleet management mobile apps are intuitive and user-friendly, which makes onboarding a breeze. Once fleet drivers are signed up for the program, follow these tips for maximum success.

SET RELATIVELY SHORT GAME CLOCKS

Games that go on for too long tend to lose engagement. Set shorter game periods that only last for a few weeks instead of a whole quarter so drivers are motivated to stay at the top of the leaderboard during the allotted time frame.

ALLOW THEM TO BRAG

Fleet management mobile apps allow drivers to instantly share successes on their social media profiles. In today’s social sharing culture, this feature can help drivers develop a sense of pride. It also keeps them engaged, which inevitably improves company culture (and helps with marketing as well).

INDUSTRY-WIDE RECOGNITION

Some fleet telematics systems don’t just enable employees to compete against each other, but also encourage competition nationwide across all fleets. Rankings for these programs are often calculated by a weighted average of several individual components, including speeding, hard braking, harsh acceleration and idling events. When a fleet receives an award such as “overall safest fleet in America,” company morale skyrockets and employees are motivated to perform their best on a day-to-day basis.

The only thing that’s different in this game is that everyone wins. Drivers enjoy and benefit from the friendly competition, while managers can ultimately report positive outcomes on the bottom line.