It all starts with trust. Everything that a fleet wants from its drivers — a high level of engagement, quality performance, and a willingness to stick around long-term — all comes back to trust. There’s so much value for the fleet as a whole when tools and practices are put into place to build a sense of trust with every driver.
Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Stephen M. R. Covey and Douglas R. Conant make the point that “cultivating a high-trust culture is not a ‘soft’ skill — it’s a hard necessity. Put another way, it’s the foundational element of high-performing organizations.” To get that kind of high-performance out of every driver, they need to be able to trust the fleet they are working for, and the fleet needs to trust that they are doing a good job.
Trust is difficult to build when the goals of the fleet manager and the driver are out of alignment. Fleet managers naturally want an efficient and productive fleet. Drivers want as much pay as they can get, fair hours, and time at home. Sometimes these goals clash when drivers believe they are being worked too hard, and judged for their performance unfairly on measurements they can’t control like the truck, the load, the route, and the weather. Fleet managers use these metrics, and they don’t see the results they want. Drivers leave, managers have to deal with the heavy costs of turnover, and no one is happy.
To defeat those problems and build trust throughout the fleet, those goals need to be aligned, and the measurements need to be fair and reasonable on both sides of the equation.
It’s a tough task for fleet managers. In general, we’re really good at assuming the worst about people. If a driver gets feedback that they are underperforming, their first reaction might be to blame the person giving the feedback, rather than internalizing it and working to improve. They might assume the feedback is just wrong, rather than realizing that they might actually need to adjust.
Part of it is pride and part of it is that it’s just really hard to give and receive feedback. Often, it’s simply the effect of personal bias and subjectivity. A driver may have their own opinion of their performance, and they will have a hard time believing that anyone else knows better, especially if there isn’t some objective measure to clear the bias and confusion.
That’s exactly what we’ve worked to build with True Fuel™. True Fuel™ is both a tool to maximize fuel economy and a conduit between fleet managers and drivers that measures performance objectively. Drivers know that the feedback they are receiving is fairly given, and they know exactly what they need to do to improve.
True Fuel™ only assesses the factors that drivers can control and actively improve upon, and it recognizes and respects their expertise. Drivers are given ownership of their own destiny, and that alone can do wonders for trust-building.
True Fuel™ empowers drivers even further through incentives and rewards when they show measurable improvement and progress. With True Fuel’s™ fair and reliable performance benchmarks as a foundation, the better the drivers become over time, the more they show their skills and are rewarded,
This kind of fair reward system serves two purposes: it recognizes, rewards, and engages the driver in their own improvement, and it finally gets those goals of the driver and the fleet manager to align. Drivers are motivated by the same goal as fleet managers: to perform at a high level and help the fleet succeed. Drivers become more than just workers; they become partners both in their own personal success and in the success of the fleet as a whole.
With an objective measure like True Fuel™, everyone gets what they want, and everyone can trust that they are all united by the same mission to make the fleet stronger. Drivers and fleet managers aren’t working with just their own interests in mind anymore. They truly are part of the same team.