Worried about installing Vehicle Tracking?
How to overcome your drivers’ objections to vehicle tracking
Duty of care… corporate manslaughter… the Working Time Directive… with a plethora of new legislation already in place or on the horizon, businesses are increasingly looking to the latest vehicle tracking technology to help them fulfil their legal obligations, as well as manage their fleet more effectively. But how do you overcome initial objections from staff over privacy and human rights? The following guide outlines the most important steps to take when introducing a telematics system to your fleet and arms you with 10 key reasons why tracking can be good news for drivers, as well as management.
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Put it in writing: Many people feel automatically threatened by change, particularly when it involves technology. But keeping everyone fully informed about what the change will be and exactly how it will impact on them individually on a day-today basis is the key to the introduction of any new system. Send a letter to all your staff explaining why the system is being introduced and what the benefits will be for both them and the company. Include an invitation for staff to ask questions and a clear feedback route for them to do so.
Explain why: Be as open as you can be about the reasons why you are installing vehicle tracking and get the relevant union representatives involved as early as possible. New legislation like the Working Time Directive, duty of care and corporate manslaughter are forcing the hand of many fleet operators. The UK’s enduring compensation culture is also having a significant impact on how businesses operate. A large claim could spell the end for a small company -and also for the fleet drivers on its payroll. Vehicle tracking can often be accused of breaching human rights, but you need to explain that the tracking is related to the vehicle itself, which is a company asset, not the individual. Tracking technology is designed predominantly to help managers to allocate resources more effectively – not to spy on driver’s lives outside of work, but this is an important message which needs spelling out to avoid a backlash.
Support your technophobes: Support the technophobes in your workforce – and there will always be some of them – by giving them proper training in how the system works. Most of today’s systems are so intuitive and user friendly that drivers often teach themselves. But 20 to 30 minutes is usually enough to take away the fear factor and demonstrates your commitment to support them through the changes.
Focus on fairness: When CCTV was first introduced to the UK over 20 years ago, it was met initially with hostility and fear centred on Big Brother accusations. Now, give or take a handful of vocal and persistent
￼opponents, there is a general tolerance of the technology, a widespread acceptance that the benefits it brings outweigh any issues of civil liberties and an understanding that it poses no threat unless you are doing something wrong. Similar parallels can be drawn with vehicle tracking. The vast majority of drivers do the job honestly and to their best of their ability. The message of reassurance must be reiterated clearly that for these, the technology improves the efficiency of the whole operation without having much direct impact of their working day and that the system brings parity and fairness for all. system brings parity and fairness for all.
Do NOT install covertly: We never recommend that our customers install tracking covertly. Doing things under cover simply reinforces the idea that you are snooping on your drivers and you risk a huge backlash if the technology is uncovered by staff at a later date. Prevention – curbing any prevalent negative driver behaviour by being open about your plans is much better than cure – having to sack staff if they are discovered.
“WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?”
reasons why your staff should welcome vehicle tracking
No more tedious paperwork: Field sales staff no longer have to fill in laborious mileage sheets to get paid or re-claim expenses and can send appointments straight to their own inbox back in the office from on the road. A tracking system also supplies independent verification that they have attended a job in cases of dispute by the customer. For example: an electrician spends an hour going to the warehouse to get necessary parts for the job; this can be proved when the customer queries the hourly rate invoice.
Safer working conditions: Tracking can also actively protect employees. Panic buttons are often integrated into tracking systems, triggering an automatic email or being converted into a text message. They are particularly valuable for lone workers in remote areas or drivers delivering high value goods. Unauthorised vehicle alerts show when a vehicle has been stolen when parked outside a driver’s house at night (more often than not with several of the employee’s personal possessions left inside). For example: a driver delivering pharmaceutical goods is hijacked in a rough neighbourhood. Hitting the panic button means the police can successfully intervene as he is being marched to a cash point at knifepoint. For example: a driver has a heart attack in a motorway lay-by. The stationery vehicle alert catches the attention of office staff who send for medical help.
Safer driving conditions: Integrating tracking with messaging technology also means that drivers no longer have to pull over to answer mobile calls from the office all day.
Better training: Vehicle tracking data also enables managers to identify high risk drivers who speed regularly and to address such problems –and ultimately stop accidents – through driver training.
Less stress: New technology is also available which integrates satellite navigation with vehicle tracking, offering drivers a popular employee benefit to sweeten what may be perceived as a bitter pill. Staff get sent job instructions and when they click on screen to accept the job, it
￼automatically launches an on-screen map with directions – with no need for planning and maps and none of the stress of getting lost or misinterpreting instructions and going to
the wrong address.
More money: For drivers who get paid by results or get a productivity bonus, being able to allocate the nearest driver to the job means they can get more jobs completed in less time.
For example: a drains cleaning company introduces a bonus for staff completing and exceeding a certain number of jobs following the introduction of vehicle tracking.
Less tax: The ‘benefit-in-kind’ tax charge on company vans for employees has soared recently from £500 to £3,000. The move means that van drivers will be forced to pay significantly more income tax – unless their employers can prove that the van is only used for business and not personal use. Vehicle tracking gives unequivocal proof of business mileage, with no extra effort required of drivers.
More breaks: Vehicle tracking ensures that drivers comply with the demands of the Working Time Directive, giving alerts when a break is needed and stopping drivers from working too many hours and falling asleep at the wheel.