Building a successful driver incentive program to retain your drivers

Jan 15, 2021


To show appreciation to their drivers throughout the year, carriers are developing incentive programs. These can take several forms, and are instrumental in rewarding the contributions of your team, as well as attracting and retaining the best drivers in the current context of driver shortage.

Why an incentive program?

Who doesn’t enjoy having their efforts and hard work recognized? Not only do these programs inspire driver performance, they also foster loyalty to your company and lower driver turnover. Depending on your program’s criteria, drivers will be more likely to adopt safe driving practices, thus helping to reduce accidents, improve your safety score, and promote a positive brand reputation.

Before setting up an incentive program, ask yourself what goals you hope to achieve and determine what criteria will be assessed. Make sure that your program is simple; easy to understand, and above all, easy to manage!

Identify assessment criteria

To build an effective program, consider the key performance indicators (KPI) that will be important in rewarding drivers. Also, make sure to choose parameters that are under the driver’s control to ensure the objectives are realistic and attainable. Telematics and telemetry data provide accurate, reliable information to assess a driver’s performance and the appropriate use of this information can support an incentive program that truly evaluates driver’s performance on a level playing field.

For example, your performance metrics may focus on safety aspects and use indicators such as hard braking, sharp turns, and speeding. By setting a daily limit on the number of hard maneuvers, you can easily identify the drivers who meet the criteria and are eligible to incentives. You may employ technologies such as real-time feedback that notifies drivers as soon as they make a hard turn.

You may also set up different reward levels to encourage drivers to improve. With technologies like ISAAC’s, drivers have immediate feedback to develop better driving habits, have easy access via their tablet to their own personal performance report, and can compare their results with the targets you have set.

Knowing that driving practices can influence truck fuel consumption, you may also choose to incentivize driver ecodriving performance. To do so, you can use indicators such as the ISAAC Coach; an indicator on the ISAAC tablet that appears during driving. It assists the driver in real time to use the right amount of engine power according to the driving conditions – load, slope, trailer type and shape, wind, temperature, and so on.

The ISAAC Coach also displays driving practices that could be improved. Whether it’s releasing the throttle, upshifting, or turning off the cruise control, these indicators remind the driver how to maintain efficient power levels. Since the ISAAC Coach assigns a score out of 100 and records it on performance reports, it is very easy for managers to assess how successful drivers are in reaching objectives.


Also, by using technology that provides in-cab real-time feedback on selected performance indicators, drivers can exert greater control over their results. As you know, you cannot improve behaviours you are not aware of. With such technology, drivers have the advantage of being able to adjust their driving in the moment and build better driving habits.

Determine the frequency and types of rewards

You may choose a monthly, annual, or continuous program, or a combination of these options, to maximize the engagement of your crew. The advantage of a monthly program is it’s stimulating effect and how it gives drivers the ability to improve, surpass themselves, and receive incentives more often than on an annual basis. They have the opportunity to do better the following month if they fail to reach their objectives.

Some carriers choose to reinvest part of the savings generated by drivers into their incentive programs. This shows drivers that they too reap the rewards of cost savings and gives them an incentive to take an active part in the program.

Other than financial incentives, one way to foster employee buy-in, is to give those who quickly adopt the program a voice. By analyzing the performance of your drivers, you can identify employees who are doing well within the program and give them the opportunity to share their experience and successes with colleagues.

The ‘champions’ on your team can rally more employees by showing others the value in the program. It’s a win-win: you recognize the work of your high-performing employees and their successes will incentivize others to improve.

Use the right tools

To ensure your drivers buy in to the incentive program, you will have to use the right tools – most importantly, a telematics system that not only provides accurate data to assess driver performance on a level playing field, but also one that drivers appreciate. Drivers will be motivated if they find the system simple and user-friendly. And knowing that they have full control over their results, since the tool used never penalizes them for elements that are out of their control, drivers will feel justly rewarded.

Meanwhile, you will be enjoying many benefits and fostering workforce loyalty. Improving driving habits improves road safety for all and coaching on ecodriving practices will help you save on fuel and maintenance costs, as well as avoiding premature truck wear. Everybody wins! And you are truly utilizing your investment in telematics to build a high performing team!

Find out how ISAAC’s data can help you build an incentive program that your drivers will love. Contact our team today.

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