In all seriousness, though, may I ask you a question? Are your staff meetings simply routine gatherings where instructions are given and then the employee leaves to resume their job without providing input or a conversation having been created?
Or, are the staff meetings actually productive where communication is encouraged, valued, and utilized? Are you an employee or a manager who understands the value of effective communication?
How Do You Communicate?
Analyze how employees are communicated to – are you a vocal manager, a manager who uses print media, or is communicating visually with graphics, presentations, or trainings the preferred method? Don’t forget the power of body language – this speaks volumes to your staff.
With many moving parts, operations often get bogged down by logistics that communication may easily slip through the cracks. Are employees aware of policies and procedures in order that each is operating on the same page? Oftentimes as managers we just assume each staff member knows the ‘basics’, but do they? Let’s start here.
Poor Communication…Affects the Bottom Line
Poor communication, or even the lack of, can really do a number on operating efficiency. This directly crosses over into the management of your company’s fleet operation.
For example, do your drivers know what grade of fuel each vehicle requires? By using a higher grade of gas can increase expenses by $.25+ cents per gallon. This adds up quickly and directly affects the bottom line. You may be paying for a fuel increase and not realize it until it hits the budget line item expense. By that time, it is too late.
What’s Your Policy?
A company policy on communication provides a framework for cost management that directly relates to fleet performance. Communication ensures consistency across all areas of the operation.
Employees who understand which forms of communication to utilize for each action also ensures consistency. Staff needs to know what is expected of them and how they are to keep the lines of communication open. Communication is a two-way street and should be implemented as such. Do you have an open door policy? If not, why not consider it?
Safety Standards and Training
Safety training is crucial and one of the most important tools you can give your team. Each staff member should be aware of technical protocols such as vehicle safety and operation, equipment usage, schedules, routes, work standards, inspections, company rules and regulations.
The training and on-going development provided to your team is critical to the success of your operation. Quality training from a certified professional ensures staff is aware of guidelines and policies and are equipped to handle unexpected situations that may come their way.
Keeping staff current on licensing and certifications is essential for any good-standing organization. Keep track of licensing and training courses through RTA’s tracking system. Know when licenses and certifications expire in order to keep your staff and operation in compliance.
Providing routine performance reviews (at least annually, if not more frequent depending on the job at hand) goes a long way in keeping the doors of communication open. Address concerns, discuss issues, provide feedback on things going right, training, responsibilities and so much more.
Don’t underestimate the power of a performance review. As a manager, it is good to let employees know they can trust you and have confidence in speaking with you on items that they may not feel comfortable addressing during a staff meeting.
Make good and routine two-way communication a habit. The fleet industry is continually changing as new technologies enter the scene and outdated practices are replaced. Regular communication through email, reports, person-to-person conversations and meetings, help keep everyone on the same page and ensures no one is left behind.
Centralized Data at Your Fingertips
Does your company capitalize on proper data collection? Do you know the status of your fleet, staff, or inventories at the touch of a button? Capturing data in an efficient manner and utilizing the data to improve communications is a great way to work smarter, not harder.
RTA’s fleet management solutions software captures the correct data right the first time. Having access to real-time data drastically improves the opportunity and ability to communicate effectively.
At the end of the day, with proper communication, goals and budgets are intact and met – management and employees are happy and satisfied.