The Role of Smartphones, Gamification and Rewards in a Business Driver Safety Programme


The Role of Smartphones, Gamification and Rewards in a Business Driver Safety Programme

If your employees drive for work, you know that keeping them safe on the road can be challenging. Increasing pressure to meet deadlines, driver distraction, and rising substance abuse use and stress levels are not helping. The pandemic's emptier roads have even been tempting more drivers to speed.

Persuading people to be safe is tricky, especially with a task performed daily that often doesn’t feel risky. So, how can companies encourage their workforce to change their behaviour? The answer may surprise you—leveraging the power of the smartphone to gamify and reward safer driving.

Smartphones—The Most Powerful Delivery Method Ever Invented

We now live in a world in which almost every aspect of our lives can be managed via our smartphone. And that extends to personal development –it’s hard to think of a habit we want to develop or change for which there isn’t a widely-used smartphone app. Think personal fitness (Strava, FitBit), meditation (Calm, HeadSpace), and even personal finance (Monzo, Nutmeg).

So it stands to reason that if we want to sustainably improve an employee’s driving behaviour, we need to find a way to engage them via their smartphone. And the good news is that today’s smartphones, with their built-in sensors and incredible processing power, can be used for data capture as well as driver engagement

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Gamification—Tapping into a range of Motivations

Many companies effectively use gamification, particularly the health and fitness industry. For instance, Strava’s fitness tracking app enables its users to track, record, and compare their fitness achievements with friends and their network, which helps change habits and improve health. This collaborative positive feedback helps Strava add about 1 million new users every 40 days.

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Rewards—And a Positive Culture around Safety

Gamification enables the ‘carrot’ in addition to the ‘stick’ in a company driver safety programme. Employees may be completely unaware or deny that they’re being unsafe on the road. Warnings and penalization certainly communicate the consequences after the fact, they can foster a negative working culture and difficult discussions – it’s safe to say that every company would prefer to avoid the need to discipline an employee in the first place.

Incentivising safe driving and creating a positive culture around driver safety can help break bad habits and reprogram better ones in real-time, all without any management intervention.

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Putting It All Together

Deploying a safe driving app is unlikely to change bad habits and dangerous behaviour on its own. It must be complemented with a holistic safe driving programme that makes sense for your organization. But, when the key to achieving desired results is to change the behaviour of the driver, it seems likely that smartphone apps will have an increasingly prominent part to play in driver safety.

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