Gamification takes training and adds an element of competition in order to spark behavior changes. Photo: Mix Telematics

Gamification takes training and adds an element of competition in order to spark behavior changes. Photo: Mix Telematics

In training circles there is a lot of buzz about gamification. Gamification is taking something that isn’t typically a game – for instance, safe driving techniques – and adding an element of competition in order to incent a behavior change.

Typically, this is done within a peer group, so drivers are competing against each other, either individually or within a team. In the fleet management world, this means making safe driving into a competition, complete with prizes.

But how do you implement Gamification into your fleet’s training?

1. Determine your goal(s). 

We suggest using the SMART method: goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. An example might be: decrease average idling time across the fleet to less than 10 per minutes per vehicle per day, within 90 days. Most fleet goals revolve around safe driving, fuel efficiency and Hours of Service (HOS), and specific factors that drivers have control over such as speeding, harsh accelerations and idling. While you can have more than one goal, if you’re just starting out we recommend implementing one at a time. And we recommend a time period of at least 90 days – enough to change bad behavior patterns.

2. Collect baseline data.

In order to measure improvements, first you need to collect baseline data. If your goal were to reduce idling, you’d collect data on idling in the fleet. We recommend at least 30 days’ of control data, without notifying drivers so the data presents a realistic picture of what’s currently going on.

3. Refine your goals, based on the control data.

Are they achievable in the timeline you’ve set? Make sure. Also consider that you may have to weight certain factors in your scoring. For idling for instance, you don’t want to penalize drivers who need to idle in extreme weather to stay safe.

4. Determine your incentives.

Will there be individual winners, or teams? Will there be one winner, or multiple winners? One category, or multiple categories (e.g., Most Improved)? The larger the group, the more winners and categories you might need to incent meaningful change – there has to be a reasonable chance of winning something. We’ve seen some fleets use raffle tickets towards one large prize, such as a trip. Others use company swag, cash or smaller prizes. When in doubt, remember cash is king. Consult with some of your drivers to make sure what you have in mind will be effective.

5. Put tools in place to share progress with drivers, and announce the campaign.

Some fleet management systems have this capability built in – pre-configured reports that can be posted to a breakroom or online showing each person or team’s progress against the goal, ranked. A few also offer driver apps specifically for sharing this data – so drivers can check their own scores and ranking.  Driver awareness is the key to making gamification programs work. They need to know where they stand and what they need to do to improve. Fleet managers who provide tips and training throughout will achieve the most impact. This could be in a classroom-type setting at the yard, or via in-cab prompts such as an audible reminder from an ELD unit.

6. When the contest ends, share impact with drivers.

For instance, letting them know that their efforts at reducing idling reduced emissions by a certain percentage, or improved fuel economy by a certain percent. You could also share the cost savings, though this is most effective if the company is essentially giving back some of that money in the form of a major prize or pay raises.

Gamification can have a big impact on fleets. Some of the results we’ve seen in the US and elsewhere:

  • Improved service delivery, driver behavior and driver morale
  • Lower fuel consumption – we’ve seen 6-12% reductions
  • Lower accident rates – we’ve seen >50% reduction in accidents
  • Increased productivity and efficiency – some fleets are able to achieve a 10-20% reduction in fleet size as a result
  • Reduced maintenance costs and increased return on investment on your fleet management solution

If you’re ready to begin this advice should start you off on the right foot.

Pete Allen is the chief client officer for MiX Telematics, a global provider of fleet and mobile asset management solutions.This article was authored and edited according to the standards of HDT’s editors to provide useful information to our readers.