How to Get Driver Buy-In on Your Safety Program 
[Blog] How to Get Driver Buy-In on Your Safety Program
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IntelliShift Team

There’s a world of difference between simply having a safety program and achieving a culture of safety. While implementing rules and procedures is crucial, true driver buy-in is what drives lasting results. This is especially true when introducing new technologies like AI-powered video solutions

This blog post will equip you, the fleet, safety, or operations leader, with the tools to navigate the critical middle stages of your safety journey and overcome perceived issues with new technology, particularly AI dash cams. Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • Why employee disconnect derails your goals 
  • The power of a clear and compelling safety message 
  • Strategies to gain buy-in from both supervisors and employees 
  • Important functions of a safety policy 

The Consequences of Employee Disconnect 

If employees are not connected to an organizational goal, it is likely that in addition to targets getting missed, morale will suffer. There won’t be a strong acceptance of policies or changes rolled out and, frankly, it could make leadership afraid that employees will quit. If you sense a disconnect, you are not alone. 

  1. Only 15% of employees understand the organization’s top goals: This suggests a fundamental communication gap. Employees may not be receiving clear messages about the company’s priorities. 
  1. Of the people who know the top goals, only 19% are bought into those goals: Even when informed, a significant portion of employees don’t feel invested in the company’s direction. This could indicate a lack of alignment between personal values and organizational goals. 
  1. People only spend 49% of their time working towards those goals: This highlights a potential disconnect between understanding goals and taking action. Employees may be unclear on how their daily tasks contribute to the bigger picture. 
  1. 51% do not understand what they can do to help achieve the company’s goals: This reinforces the earlier point about a lack of clarity. Employees who are unsure how their role contributes are unlikely to be fully engaged or productive. 

The data (Source) paints a clear picture: a significant gap exists between where employees are and where the organization needs them to be. To bridge this gap and achieve true alignment, a strategic messaging approach is crucial and can alleviate the fear that employees will have a mass exodus upon making a needed change. In the next section, we’ll explore how to craft clear, compelling messages that resonate with employees and get them invested in the company’s goals. 

Step 1: Clarify Your Message for Maximum Impact 

Imagine rolling out a new safety program without a clear explanation of its purpose. Confusion breeds resistance, and resistance can quickly derail your efforts. 

A clear and concise message is essential. It should outline the program’s goals, benefits for both the company and employees, and how it aligns with your overall safety culture. 

Think of your safety message as an internal marketing campaign. Just like you would strive to connect with potential customers, you need to connect with your employees. Ditch the dry, rule-focused approach and focus on the positive outcomes your program offers. Remember, most employees want to do their jobs safely and efficiently. 

Craft Your Rallying Cry: The Power of a Few Words 

Every company is unique, and so should its safety message. A powerful tool you can utilize is a “rallying cry”. This short, impactful phrase (ideally under seven words) captures the essence of your safety culture and becomes a unifying force for your team. 

The right statement isn’t a permanent fixture. It should evolve alongside your company and safety goals. These examples will get you started. 

  • “Safety First, Success Always.” (Simple, direct, and emphasizes how safety is the foundation for success.) 
  • “Go Home Safe. Every Day.” (Focuses on the emotional element of safety and personal well-being.) 
  • “Look Out for Each Other.” (Promotes a collaborative safety culture where everyone is responsible for their own and others’ safety.) 
  • “Challenge the Risk. Choose Safety.” (Encourages proactive identification and mitigation of risks.) 
  • “Zero Incidents. One Goal.” (Sets a clear and ambitious goal for safety performance.) 
  • “Safety is the way we work.” (A favorite mantra at IntelliShift!) 
Straight Talk on Fleet Podcast Episode 39: Hear from host Erin Gilchirst and her guest, Sharon Etherington, on how driver buy-in is part of taking your fleet safety to new heights.

Step 2: Overcome Barriers and Build Buy-In 

One of the biggest hurdles to achieving safety buy-in, especially with new technologies, is the fear of punishment. If employees perceive the program as a tool for blame rather than support, resistance is inevitable. 

Improving safety is a goal everyone can appreciate. Unions are in place to represent and protect their members. The main objective with an AI dash cam program is to keep drivers safe. It’s crucial that this shared objective remains the focal point throughout the process. 

Facts and statistics can go a long way in gaining support. Illustrate how drivers are better off with an AI dash camera safety system. Outline key benefits such as accident prevention, driver exoneration, protection against false claims and on-the-job coaching. Last but not least, reinforce the technology benefits with industry data on safety and commercial vehicle accident statistics

Engage Your Team: From Resistance to Collaboration 

The key to overcoming this hurdle lies in gaining buy-in from your supervisors first. They play a crucial role in communicating the program’s true purpose and ensuring its implementation is supportive and fair. Consider testing new technology before a full roll-out to help identify where you may have bigger buy-in issues or policy gaps. But most important, this test can show exactly how driver safety will benefit. 

Once your supervisors are on board, it’s time to engage your employees. Instead of simply dictating new rules, involve them in the process. Ask for their input on the challenges they face and how the program can help them. This fosters a sense of ownership and collaboration, leading to greater acceptance and buy-in. 

Ask for Driver Input and Address Concerns Upfront 

Once you establish a positive dialog, involving drivers in the discussion increases the likelihood of a smooth process. Find out how they feel about an in-cab dash cam system. What questions do they have and what are their main concerns? Get feedback on proposed safety program policies. 

Some common concerns include: 

  • Isn’t video monitoring an unnecessary invasion of privacy? 
  • Will the video and data be used to unfairly discipline drivers? 
  • Why are we not trusted to do our jobs? I don’t want to be watched all the time. 

When answering questions and addressing concerns, always bring the discussion back around to the safety benefits and reported industry data points. 

Be Transparent About How AI Dash Cams Work

Increase the comfort level of all parties by clearly demonstrating how the technology and program work. Frequently asked questions include: 

  • Does it capture audio and store audio/video continuously? 
  • How much audio/video does it store, where and for how long? 
  • What tracking/monitoring features are active? 
  • How are alerts and notifications dispatched? 
  • What triggers audio/video for immediate uploading and review? 
  • Who has access to stored/uploaded content? 
  • How secure is the audio/video/data? 
  • How will in-cab coaching, ongoing training, rewards, and ramifications work? 
IntelliShift Revolutionizes Fleet Management and Safety for its Customers Across Industries.

Step 3: Build Your Organization’s Safety Policy 

Keep Drivers in Mind 

Draft safety program policies to be mutually beneficial based on driver input and concerns. Take recommendations from industry organizations, such as the Department of Transportation (DOT) or Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), into consideration, as well as any union requirements outlined in the contract. 

Design for Scalability 

Instead of listing every specific hazard, focus on identifying and mitigating potential risks. This allows for easier adaptation to new situations. Build a system for regular review, feedback, and updates to the policy. This ensures it reflects best practices and addresses emerging concerns.  

If you have a multi-faceted organization or one that is growing, use a tiered approach. That means having a core policy that applies to everyone, with additional layers of specific procedures for different departments or risk levels. The policy much be readily accessible to all employees in a digital format that can be easily updated and distributed. It also must have a system to track safety incidents, near misses, and the effectiveness of implemented controls. This data can inform future revisions of the policy. 

Document Outcomes 

Once you define the AI dash cam safety program, follow the specified policies and procedures. Deviating opens up holes for misinterpretation and mistrust. Document results to demonstrate how the program is working and where you can make improvements. 

Coach and Reward for a Positive Ongoing Experience 

Driver comfort levels will continue to increase when you keep the experience with the AI Dash Cams positive. You can use gamification with Driver Scorecards to reward good driving behavior and illustrate how safe driving can be rewarding. Use the video captured to coach drivers, rather than punish them, and train new drivers on common issues and incidents ahead of hitting the road. 

Get 9 essential policy best practices for your fleet safety program.

Gaining driver buy-in requires a multi-faceted approach. By crafting a clear message, developing a powerful rallying cry, and fostering collaboration, you can turn resistance into enthusiasm and create a lasting impact on your fleet’s safety record. 

The IntelliShift team is ready to show you how fleet intelligence will transform your operations.

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