Rick Wood, head of driver training and fleet solutions at Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) agrees.
“There is no point in incentivising someone to be crash-free if they don’t have the skills to achieve it.”
The key to workable incentive schemes, says Murray, is to ensure that the process and not just the outcome is involved.
“League tables, for instance, should be based on the process of driving well and not just outcomes,” he says. “Otherwise incentives can twist behaviour.”
Rewards should be competed for and granted to teams and not individuals. This way there is a shared cultural approach and a peer pressure to stay within the rules.
“Teams should include work allocators and line managers,” says Murray. “This engages the workforce better and ensures that line managers will be monitoring and motivating good performance.”
Wood adds: “Often the best approach is smaller rewards shared among many drivers.”
He also feels focusing on process and skills is important. Although telematics can indicate a driver’s approach to using the vehicle, it still doesn’t show what’s happening in the cab – for instance, mobile phone use.
Driver league tables are probably among the most common carrot and stick scenarios, particularly for those fleets which use telematics and can therefore draw on various data points for comparison.
Even these have a limited application, however.
“There is a danger that those who won’t be near the top become disincentivised and don’t bother,” says Wood, although recognising achievement is important.
“We see a lot of evidence that public recognition can be worth more than a pay rise.”
This also suggests that proper feedback and encouragement from managers for all drivers can be as important a motivator as a high-level, universal scheme.
There are companies who use incentives very successfully. Wood cites John Lewis which has combined training and incentives with, he says, fantastic results.
AA DriveTech collaborates in a driver of the year scheme with one of its clients which involves an online assessment
The top 22 candidates are then assessed on the road with AA DriveTech assessors.
“Although there is only one winner, this gets a very wide buy-in from right across the business,” says marketing director David Richards. “People want to engage with it.”
Graham Hurdle, managing director of E-Training World, says incentives can be used to shift beliefs.