Gamification can help build driver loyalty, offer a dose of fun

A few things have come back the past few years and were accelerated during the pandemic. One of my favorite things is the resurgence in board games. Who doesn’t have fond memories of sitting around with their friends or family and playing Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly or Clue?

Besides having quality family time (and eating and making popcorn), what did those games teach us as children? And what can they teach us now? Strategy, competition, camaraderie, sportsmanship and more. These are all the key parts of gamification.

What’s gamification? It’s taking game-design principles and elements from board games, and digital classics like PacMan, Asteroids and the modern XBox or Nintendo, and applying the same principles and elements to the workplace. Many companies are applying gamification to improve employee morale and engagement, raise productivity and lower turnover rates.

Related: The gamification of driver training

During the pandemic, gamification has become even more important as many people feel disconnected from their work. It keeps them engaged with the workplace no matter where they are, building pride and loyalty.

In fact, studies have shown that gamification may increase employee engagement by 60% and taps into the very human need for instant gratification, competition, and adding more value to real-world business processes.

Why does this matter in fleet management? Fleet managers should be using gamification to incentivize their drivers, and in turn reward them.

Gamification for Fleet Management

Whether it was Little League baseball, Peewee Football or gym class, one thing is true: we all have a competitive streak, and we all want to win. That has moved from childhood leagues to work with March Madness tournaments to company softball teams and competitive dodgeball. We all want to beat the competition.

The same competitive nature applies to fleet drivers, only in relation to how they can progress their careers. By applying gamification to fleet management, companies are able to motivate teams by rewarding positive driver behavior. Gamification makes day-to-day tasks more engaging, gives drivers immediate feedback and helps individuals and teams create better connections.

Ways to Reward Commercial Drivers

Companies have a variety of gamification levels to choose from, such as allowing drivers to see peer-ranked scores or only how they compare to the fleet average. Just like game shows, these rankings can lead to prizes like bonuses, company-branded swag, holiday-themed gifts, gift cards, etc.

Below are a few ideas to help build a safety program around fleet gamification.

We all already have March Madness brackets for the tourney, but what about building in a monthly tourney at work? Build a bracket around safe driving scores, and award prizes for the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four and Champ.

Royal Rumble/Battle Royale as an annual event. Who doesn’t love wrestling? Let’s do a version at work (but without a ladder match). Keep score all year, and for the final week of the year have tag teams compete to see who comes out as the top of the fleet.

Wheel. Of. Fortune! Everyone loves games shows, the accumulation of points and winning prizes. Use a game show theme and monthly rounds.

What if your team is more into NASCAR than NCAA? Re-create the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Each driver and his or her support members are one team, and through the “season,” points are accumulated until the last quarter. From those final 10 teams, the points accumulated for the final quarter lead to the NASCAR Cup winner. 

The incentive to earn points, and be acknowledged and rewarded for driving, will turn happy drivers into even better drivers. Earning prizes and bonuses incentivizes drivers to create a deeper bond (and loyalty) to the company and help the company improve driver retention. 

Boosting the Bottom Line

In our downtime, many of us play games on our smartphones, have a next-gen gaming system or participate in a fantasy league. Why? Fun, competition, and more.

Knowing that 90% of employees are more productive when they engage with gamification, 72% of people believe that gamification inspires them to work harder, and 95% of employees say they enjoy using gamification systems.

The gamification of commercial fleet management is going to play a big role in the future of transportation. It helps manage fleet drivers, improve operational efficiency and improve productivity. It leads to safer driving, better fuel efficiencies (and savings) and employee loyalty.

Adam Kahn is president of Netradyne's commercial fleet team.