App-based driver behavior management solutions are shifting to a carrot rather than stick approach with game-based features.
Motivating commercial drivers to be safer behind the wheel can present a sticky challenge. With a shortage of qualified drivers, it’s often better to seek improvement rather than pursue termination. Using a carrot approach can also improve morale and company culture.
Mobile apps that enable a fun approach to safer driving, known as “gamification,” provide an effective way to improve driving behavior and improve morale.
You’ll also likely create a more engaged driver pool, while collecting plenty of actionable insights around fleet trends and risky drivers.
What is Gamification?
In 2019, mobile games such as Candy Crush, Fruit Ninja, and others generated $49 billion in revenue, according to industry sources. The popularity of these games has led fleet driver safety providers to incorporate game-based features into driver safety apps.
Using a game-based approach can encourage engagement, motivation, and loyalty. Gamification taps into our inborn impulse to compete either with ourselves or others.
It’s important to remember that people are motivated differently – some are motived by extrinsic factors (external awards such as money), intrinsic factors (such as job satisfaction), or a combination of the two.
By rewarding the new, and safer, driving behavior in some way, managers are increasing motivation within each driver.
Foundations of an Initiative
The only way a gamification works is to get the drivers to “play.” Once drivers begin engaging with the mobile app, it can start collecting useful data. This driver behavioral data will underpin the initiative.
So, the first step will be overcoming the driver’s reluctance to use a driver behavior app. Drivers enjoy playing and earning rewards, as long as they understand and accept the initiative and its value.
Brightmile, one of the solution providers on the Roadz marketplace platform, uses five strategies to get drivers to use its gamification app:
- The driver’s location isn’t reported to company managers.
- Driver behavior is only assessed on business trips.
- Good drivers receive rewards and positive reinforcement.
- A private mode gives drivers control of their data.
- The app consumes minimal battery life and data consumption
Accomplishment Propels Safer Driving
Simple data visualizations in the app engage drivers in an immediate, transparent way. They allow drivers to monitor their own behavior and self-coach on a regular basis. These can be pop-up charts, rising or falling arrows, or other trending events.
Apps that serve data visualizations every day will help drivers remain engaged. Ideally, the apps will send a daily report card that allows the driver to see how the day compared with other days.
An effective gamification app will provide drivers with daily, weekly, or monthly challenges or missions akin to the levels of a video game. Accomplishing the missions should provide rewards that can be redeemed.
Some apps allow drivers to compete with their peers to unlock the reward.
Stay Committed to the Process
Changing ingrained driving habits, especially among a veteran driving pool, will take time. Much of a driver’s behavior was ingrained when they first learned how to drive — in some cases 20, 30, or 40 years earlier.
Humans are great at setting goals, and less successful at attaining them. Changing behavior requires our brains to use something psychologists refer to as “executive function,” meaning that we must use conscious attention.
The driver must be actively thinking about the behavior change, rather than pushing it into the background of their mind. Gamification keeps drivers engaged because they’re motivated to achieve rewards. It keeps safe driving in the forefront.
The approach isn’t a quick fix, however, it can bring significant improvement when implemented and retained for the long haul.