It’s easy to say safety matters at your company but implementing safety programs that are effective is another matter.
In the case of Green Lawn Fertilizing, based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, they have recently implemented an interesting safe driving incentive program that got its inspiration back in 2006.
The company was in its third year of business when president and owner, Matt Jesson attended their yearly landscape conference and attended a class held by Burt Sperber, founder and CEO of Valley Crest.
Sperber presented his passion for keeping his team safe and how they celebrated safety by awarding employees with the strongest safety record with F-150 trucks.
“As a young entrepreneur at the time, this class made a dramatic impact on me,” Jesson says. “Burt’s care and passion for his team members gave me the chills in this meeting because this was the type of company, I dreamed of building.”
Jesson says one of their core values is treating their team members well and every year they are looking for ways to invest in their team and reward them for the success of the business. In 2020, they had their best year for their safety record.
“In the off-season, as we continue to strategize and think of ways of rewarding and recognizing our team members, I remembered the class I sat through with Burt Sperber giving away F-150’s to top safety performers,” Jesson says. “And now 15 years later, it was time to roll out this idea.”
In the past, the company had to rely on field audits, customer call-ins or managers on the road seeing a driver to know if an employee was not driving safely. Now with the telematics device Azuga, they can track behaviors like hard braking and speeding. The system also creates a safety score.
“The items we measure are 40 percent hard braking, 30 percent speeding, 20 percent sudden acceleration and 10 percent idling,” says Tim Clowney, facilities and fleet manager for Green Lawn Fertilizing. “All these items are tracked within the program itself and generate the safety score.”
The program rewards safe drivers monthly and annually. On a monthly basis, they use the rewards feature that is built into the platform to recognize their top 10 drivers on a sliding scale starting at a $100 e-gift card for the number 1 driver down to a $25 e-gift card for the number 10 driver.
“Azuga automatically ranks the drivers taking it out of our hands, so we feel it portrays a fair contest,” Clowney says. “We also reward our top branch based on their average safety score of the entire group. Each of those drivers in the specific branch receives a $25 e-gift card which is built in the rewards section of the Azuga Fleet Mobile App. We are aiming to have the drivers speak to each other to promote safe driving so they can win the monthly contests.”
On the annual side, they are awarding a Ford F-150 truck. Jesson says they picked a truck as the prize as it has the ability to change someone’s life.
“This truck is a great reminder each day when 150+ team members start up their vehicle, to be a reminder to drive safe,” Jesson says. “This incentive reinforces that goal.”
Drivers who have a score of 91 or above average for the year receive tickets for a drawing.
“The better your average yearly score the more entries/tickets you receive,” Clowney says. “A perfect score of 100 will give 48 entries or chances at the truck.”
Clowney says the response to the incentive program has been very positive so far.
“I have had drivers come up to me and tell me they are going for the truck,” Clowney says. “And the drivers mean it, this one driver is consistently driving with a 96-99 driver score which is outstanding, and we have many more that are scoring in the 90s.”
While the program is only in its second month of live data, Clowney says they’ve seen a decrease in hard braking and speeding incidents since installing the telematics devices.
Clowney encourages other companies looking to improve their safety records by investing the telematics options on the market as what once would have been cost-prohibitive in the past may now be more affordable
“Also, the incentive approach has worked very well for us and has gained buy-in quickly,” he says. “We would encourage this approach vs. an approach more focused on accountability only. That is certainly part of any process but was not/is not the primary driver of the safe driving habits we are forming.”
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