CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) training usually takes several weeks for truckers to complete, and with over 3.5 million professional drivers in the United States alone, you are bound to run into a handful of employees that are prone to disruptive behavior.
How should management deal with defiant drivers? Read on to understand their causes and what can be done to reduce trucker resistance.
Understanding the Source of Disruptive Behavior
Identifying and modifying problematic driver behavior reiterates the importance of fleet management. It can be incredibly difficult to keep a well organized, on-time and efficient fleet when certain indviduals waste management time and resources.
Pinpointing the reason for this type of behavior may require a more sympathetic understanding of what your drivers go through on a daily basis as the unexpected demands of driving can take their toll on truckers over extended periods of time. However, while some offenses may not be intentional, others can be an outright violation of company policy which will require immediate action.
Disruptive behavior and reasons for it include:
- Padding the clock – When the driver tacks on extra hours to their time sheet to make up for low-paying runs.
- Bending the driving rules – Rules and regulations are in place to prevent accidents caused by drowsiness due to long hours. Yet, many bend the rules which put the fleet (and everyone else on the road) at risk.
- Bad attitude due to personal experiences – Some are jaded and dissatisfied with the industry. This makes them hard to deal with due to their negativity and its ability to rub off onto others.
- Preferences – Personal preferences about jobs, other fleet members, and/or pay play into fleet politics which causes in-fighting.
- Imminent danger – Truck driving is one of the most deadly professions across which in itself is a stressor that will cause tensions between driver and management.
You will have the ability to provide guidance, feedback, and resources once you understand the source of their frustration. You can then apply management strategies to keep disruptive drivers in line and the fleet happy.
Ways to Curb Disruptive Behavior with Drivers
Dealing with a disruptive driver requires stern policies to keep the business relationship professional and productive. Effective management strategies inform while providing resources to meet half way in finding solutions.
Consider these management strategies:
Driver Reports with GPS Tracking
Fleet trackers are used to report efficiency and accuracy of the truck driver. This information is used to prevent time sheet errors and generates data based on speeding habits, hard braking and hard turns. Driver scorecards can be used to curb poor driving habits in addition to developing better scheduling and routes which meet common complaints from drivers.
Communication & Collaboration
Plan ways to meet eye-to-eye by providing resources and information in exchange for driver professionalism.
- Conduct surveys to better understand your employees’ needs and accommodate them
- Talk one-on-one to get a more intimate point of view on what it’s like to be on the road and where improvements can be made
- Seek third-party consultation to help seek resolution for conflict within your organization
Finding a middle-ground in the complaints followed by collaboration is imperative to maintaining the harmony of your entire fleet.
Reinforcing Your Policy When Necessary
Some disruptive drivers overstep the line and need a stern reminder of company policy. If you find some of your truckers bend the rules more often than not, the appropriate actions should be taken to set an example for the rest. Fleet guidelines should be in place not only to improve the productivity of your business but also keep everyone on the road safe. If defiant behavior becomes the norm, then you will have a more difficult time reforming your operations so that everyone follows the rules.
Drivers place themselves in dangerous situations on an almost daily basis. The pay and benefits can seem disproportionate to the risk vs reward. Curb the complaints by offering incentives: pay raises, expansion of benefits, paid vacation, and bonuses for good track records. Many fleet managers even take money saved with GPS on fuel consumption and distribute it among their drivers every month for good behavior.
Propose an incentive program to keep drivers engaged and rewarded.
Still having trouble? Get in touch and tap into the benefits of installing GPS tracking to improve dispatching. Our management solutions provide the communication tools, optimization, and reporting used to run an efficient, satisfied fleet.
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