Fleet owners know that GPS-based systems are a good decision for their business but sometimes they hold back, fearing a negative reaction from employees. Some staff feel these systems might be too intrusive, and the implication, when fleet management software is installed, is that their bosses don’t trust them.

So why do some employees feel this way and what can you do as a manager to help change their perception of a system that is rapidly becoming commonplace among mobile workforces? Is telematics really intrusive as some drivers believe? How can you help them have a more positive view of telematics?

Real-time monitoring

Some drivers may object to operating a vehicle that is being monitored at all times. That may possibly be related to a misunderstanding how GPS tracking works, and for what purposes businesses use it. Consider the following points about real-time monitoring.

  • Telematics is about saving time — One of the reasons a fleet owner installs telematics is to save time. It’s not done because the fleet manager has so much time on their hands they want to watch all their fleet vehicles, every minute of every day, drive around the block. Real-time monitoring means they can leave the devices to keep an eye on fleet activities and only report to managers if there are pre-defined exceptions that actually require a manager’s attention. Most managers are more than happy to avoid combing through pages of detailed activity reports! Think of it in the same way as a house alarm. Rather than staying home all day and watching your house, you have an alarm system that alerts you only when there’s an emergency. The rest of the time you happily ignore it.
  • Telematics is about improving the health of the business — It’s in the best interests of all staff when a business is profitable. The healthier a business is financially, the more secure employees feel, and the better position it’s in to offer improved pay and other benefits. Telematics is about helping mobile staff work smarter, providing valuable insights into working more efficiently, and allocating resources more effectively. That sort of location-based intelligence can give you the jump on the competition, who may be stuck in the past with traditional systems that don’t provide them with the insight that can only be gained when mobile assets are monitored in real time.
  • Telematics can be used as an incentive — Good managers can use telematics to create measurable goals and incentives for their staff. Offering bonuses for productivity or efficiency gains is a lot easier when you have an objective way to measure staff performance.
  • Telematics is about how company resources are used, not tracking individuals — When introduced by management in an open way, with clear guidelines about how it will be used and what will be measured, many reasonable people admit that it’s fair for a business to know how its assets are being used, and how employees spend their time on the job. In cases where employees take work vehicles home, such as Professional Fleets, the system can be configured to only monitor during working hours.

Help staff have a positive view of telematics

As a manager there are several ways to encourage a more positive view of location-based applications. We’ve put together ten ideas on assisting staff to embrace telematics, including being open to employee suggestions, being open about why it’s being installed, and how you can offer incentives or share savings.

Accepting change is not always easy but it can help when we educate ourselves about the change, asking questions, and talking about the issues. The better informed staff are about the use of telematics the more they realize it’s a smarter way to work.