We conducted a beta Fleet Driver Incentive Program with two of our Fleetio Drive customers and a total of 153 drivers, from February to April.
Our goal was to measure the change in driver engagement with our smartphone-based fleet GPS tracking app before and after the incentive program. We measured driver engagement based on the number of active drivers using our tracking app and the number of miles tracked.
In this gamification of driving behavior, drivers receive a trip score from 0 to 100 based on driving behavior, losing points for phone usage, harsh braking and rapid acceleration.
Every week we awarded the top driver at each company a $10 gift card.
As we saw results and received feedback, our approach for this program evolved over the testing period. We learned best practices for the most effective driver incentive program, which we think are applicable to any fleet driver incentive program.
Here are our major takeaways:
1. Establish a distance threshold
Each driver trip and thus trip score is not necessarily equal. The shorter the trip distance, the lower the chance of exhibiting risky driver behaviors—aggressive braking, rapid acceleration, phone use—and as a result, the higher the trip score (usually).
We noticed that drivers who traveled the shortest distance compared to the rest of the group, usually 25 percent of the average traveled distance, had noticeably higher trip scores. For example, in our beta program, one fleet had an average recorded distance of 3,765 miles one week. Drivers who traveled 941 miles or less that week, in other words 25 percent of the total average distance, had trip scores three points higher than the other drivers.
In order to correct for this, we found it best to “disqualify” drivers that tracked 25 percent or less than the total average miles tracked that week.
Weekly distance threshold = Avg. miles tracked * .25
This requirement had two effects: (1) made the driver reward program more fair and (2) encouraged drivers to track more trips.
2. Reward drivers based on most improved
You may be tempted to reward drivers based on earning the highest trip score. We were too.
When we tried this, however, we started seeing the same driver or couple of drivers winning each week. As a result, the other drivers, especially those with the most risky behavior, lost motivation to improve their score. This was the opposite intended effect of the incentive program.
We switched to rewarding drivers based on most improved score instead. This way, the same driver or couple drivers did not win each week, and drivers were incentivized to make the greatest progress in their driving behavior, no matter where they fell on the leaderboard.
3. Be public about the weekly winner
Originally in this beta program, we would email drivers individually to notify them when they won. As a result, there was little awareness about the driver reward program and thus minimal driver engagement.
We decided to change it up. Once we began announcing the top driver via email to the entire company, we saw immediate results.
Company-wide emails helped (1) increase awareness about the reward program and (2) encourage healthy competition amongst the drivers.
One participating fleet manager said, “Our drivers are actively talking about the incentive program, and we've had supervisors approach us asking about how to get their drivers’ scores up so they can be rewarded.”
We sent the first mass email on March 6. As you can see on the chart above, our customer with the least driver engagement saw the number of drivers participating in the program double from the week prior and increase 16 times compared to two weeks prior.
Drivers made major progress week over week. One driver improved his score by 15 points from a score of 68 one week to 83 the next. That’s a 22 percent score increase in one week. He continued to improve his score the following weeks, finishing the three month long program with an average score of 92.8.
One participating fleet manager, Chris Mondeau from McCorvey Sheet Metal Works, shared feedback on the program:
“In the short period of time, we have immediately engaged our staff in an area that was difficult to quantify and reward drivers for their work. We've seen an increase in the quality/duration and frequency of our inspections and more collaboration between the drivers and dispatch because of the rewards. We've also been able to promote safety and recognition internally across our organization.”
“We've seen a 30% decrease in cost/mile from Feb. 1 thru April. We've also noticed a significant increase in the quality of our assets upon return to base, as well as more descriptive issues due to driver engagement.”
Our main goal for the fleet driver incentive program was to increase driver engagement, which we measured based on the number of active drivers and miles tracked.
In the first week, there were 32 active drivers in the program using Fleetio Drive and 12,477 total miles tracked. In the last week of the program, there were 91 active drivers and 29,660 total miles tracked. In other words, there were three times as many drivers tracking their trips and twice as many miles tracked at the end of this driver incentive program.
We consider this gamified incentive program a success. Consider adopting these best practices for your own driver incentive program to increase driver engagement.
Also, keep an eye out for more information regarding our driver incentive program. We hope to make this program available to all Fleetio Drive customers by the end of this year.