Gamification: A Powerful Tool for Improving Driver Performance

Gamification has become increasingly popular in recent years as companies have sought new, more effective ways to engage employees and achieve higher levels of productivity and compliance. While gamification was once the province of web-based businesses, today, businesses in just about every industry vertical are taking advantage of the benefits gamification programs can offer, and fleet companies have been quick to adapt.

chair-300x200 Gamification: A Powerful Tool for Improving Driver Performance

The idea behind gamification? Tap into our innate desire to compete (and be rewarded), and then use that desire to drive changes in behavior. Telematics software and mobile technology like smartphones make it simple to incorporate gamification in the fleet industry to improve driver safety and compliance while supporting deeper engagement in company-wide goals.

Gamification and Driver Behavior

When it comes to driver behavior, providing immediate corrective feedback is critical for eradicating bad habits and helping good habits “stick.” The key is to use feedback that “feels” positive so drivers don’t feel they’re being shamed or lectured to. Gamification is ideally suited to providing the kind of immediate, positive feedback designed to increase engagement and, more importantly, compliance.

Tied into a telematics system, a gamification program can provide a numerical “score” that’s easy to interpret and understand, as well as a rankings system to enable drivers to see how their performance “stacks up” to the performance of their peers. This type of peer-to-peer competition is a hallmark of workplace gamification systems, and it can be very effective in improving performance and driving employees to assume leadership positions, especially when tied to a rewards system like virtual badges or even gift certificates or similar rewards.

Increasing performance awareness is just one way gamification can help improve driver behavior. It’s also being widely used to provide real-time feedback and coaching aimed at helping drivers improve their performance right in the field. Offering immediate guidance and coaching helps drivers adapt by making the corrections immediately relevant, turning what could be viewed as a critical “correction” into a helpful “lesson.”

Some systems provide videos and follow-up quizzes to underscore coaching lessons, as well as notifications that let the fleet manager know when the driver has viewed a video or completed a quiz or other learning activity. Completing an activity can be rewarded immediately with additional “points” or a virtual badge.

Gamification and Safety

When used in combination with telematics, gamification systems can be designed to reward specific behaviors, like braking properly, reducing idling time, maintaining proper speed and even wearing seatbelts. By assigning a point value to rewards, drivers will have a visual representation of their safe behaviors as well as motivation to maintain a higher level of safety throughout the work day.

Rankings, scorecards and other gamification data can also be very useful in helping fleet managers devise more effective safety training programs. In addition to providing greater insight into driver behavior and performance, gamification data help identify which types of rewards and training activities are most likely to drive improvement. Optimizing safety training activities for greater compliance can be a powerful tool for reducing accidents while also minimizing liability and repair costs.

Gamification and the Future of Fleet Management

Today’s gamification platforms are designed to tie right into an employee’s smartphone or tablet, making them easily accessible throughout the workday. As a result, companies who use gamification systems report their employees are more motivated, and the “built-in” rewards system helps them feel more highly valued by their employer.

While gamification systems in the fleet industry probably aren’t ever going to compare to the sophistication of today’s video games, by taking some of the elements of game play and incorporating them into the more mundane – yet highly necessary – tasks of fleet operation, fleet managers and companies can proactively correct poor behavior, enhance driver performance, cultivate greater engagement and promote a safer work culture – and all while improving employee morale. With all those benefits to consider, it’s a good bet gamification is a technology that’s here to stay.