Creating a Safety Culture: How to Build a Safety Awards Program

Creating a Safety Culture: How to Build a Safety Awards Program

September 26, 2018

If you're like many fleets, you've already built out a safety program (and if not, check out our tips for getting one started), but it can be difficult to measure how much your program is making an impact. How do you make sure that safety is ingrained in your company culture at every level? Even the best programs won't work without driver buy-in.

Encouraging your team to not only understand safety procedures, but to fully commit to them takes time and a bit of creativity. A safety awards program can be a powerful way to align driver incentives with best practices and make safe driving a priority. Check out our step-by-step guide for implementing an incentive-based safety program below.

1) Align on the Right Metrics

New advancements in fleet tracking make it easy to track a multitude of safety-related metrics, from harsh braking and acceleration to speeding. To determine how to rank drivers by safety performance, decide which metrics are most important to your team and how they should be prioritized.

Samsara’s solution combines multiple safety metrics, like harsh events or time over the speed limit, to generate a single safety score. Drivers see exactly what goes into their score so they understand how they’re being evaluated and get actionable tips on how to improve, giving them ownership over their scores. SafetyScore

2) Offer Concrete Incentives

Each prevented accident represents thousands of dollars in saved costs. Allow drivers to share in some of those savings by rewarding top performers with monetary gifts, special privileges, or other prizes. Gift cards, exclusive lunches, or public recognition of excellence are all wonderful incentives. Depending on your team, consider announcing the winner during team meetings, creating a safe driver “wall of honor” in the break room, or even sending a congratulations email company-wide.

Every driver knows that getting home safe is far more valuable than any prize. However, small incentives can go a long way toward making sure drivers know that safety is highly valued by their peers, bosses, and the company as a whole. SafetyScore

3) Set Clear Expectations

Transparency and clear communication is crucial for the success of any awards program. To eliminate any concerns about fairness, drivers should know exactly what the expectations are, how they’re being evaluated, and where they stand compared to their peers. Consider leveraging a leaderboard, like the one provided by Samsara, to rank drivers by safety score. This makes it easy to see top performers, encourages friendly competition, and motivates drivers to increase their score. SafetyScore

4) Implement alongside Training and Coaching

Launching a safety awards program is an excellent time to encourage all drivers, especially previous underperformers, to sharpen their skills and revisit best practices. Each driver’s score should start off fresh, giving them a reason to increase their focus on safe driving, even if they didn’t demonstrate it in the past. Take this opportunity to host training sessions, offer additional coaching, or showcase great examples of defensive driving.

Stephanie Peterson, Safety Director at R-K-Campf Transport, compiles video clips of incidents captured by Samsara dash cams to put together realistic situations for training. “Having our drivers be able to take part in their own safety awareness is amazing,” said Peterson. “Video footage of these real-life situations that our own fleet has encountered is more effective than any scenario recreated for a traditional driver training video.”

5) Create Ongoing Success

Once the awards program is live, continue to incorporate additional training into the process. When celebrating strong performers, have them share their individual best practices, success stories, or even cautionary tales. If dash cam footage is available, for example, share how a driver’s attention prevented an accident caused by another driver. Identify low performers and schedule additional coaching with them. Use the awards program to create an ongoing conversation around safety that keeps drivers committed to safe practices.

Interested in learning more about Samsara’s safety offerings? Contact us for a demo or free trial today.