We live in a world where we can tell anyone exactly what we think about anything with a few keystrokes. Why is it, then, that the majority of the feedback is negative? Why do people feel so much more apt to complain than praise? And, what does this have to do with fleet management?
First, take a look at reviews online. Most of them will be complaints, vents, and some of the harshest things someone could even think of saying. People hide behind their screen and write horrendous things without thinking about it. These reviews take over, dragging ratings down.
Companies are taking action to get happy customers to rate their product or company. Have you done ANYTHING online and seen the “if you like us, please give us a 5-star rating?” pop up? This is their way to balance out the ratings and increase the priority of praise.
When people are praised, the effects go beyond the moment. We like to feel good and think good things about ourselves. When we hear these positive comments it lifts us up. But, when someone is told everything they have done wrong for the day, the effects can last even longer.
Anger is a stronger emotion than happiness and often when we are angry we need to vent. We want to warn others away from having the same problem. But, sometimes, someone is just having a bad day and the “straw that broke the camel’s back” was the few extra minutes it took to get their coffee that morning, which they now equate to the one thing that caused the rest of their day to go downhill. They take to Yelp with a vengeance, noting “worse service ever” with a paltry one-star review. According to Our Social Times, 23% of people post a negative review out of vengeance.
Negative feedback can hit on emotional and psychological triggers in someone’s past. This means, without realizing it, making a quick comment to a driver about how they can’t seem to improve their mileage can bring up feelings of inadequacy that go back to childhood. Now, we aren’t expecting anyone to tiptoe around important feedback topics. We aren’t mind readers and every person’s past is different so what may bother one driver won’t even faze another, but it is something to be aware of when you wonder why Driver A is always upset for a few days after any poor review or negative feedback.
So, it is clear that praise can go a long way toward someone’s happiness, just as negative feedback can go a long way toward dragging someone down, just like those ratings. And, while criticism is very important and can be used as a tool for growth and improvement when it’s the only tool in the toolbox you’ll find it difficult to build a solid foundation.
But, what in the world does this have to do with fleet management? As a fleet manager, your job is multi-faceted, but often one of those faces is personnel management. It can be easy to be caught up in data and reports — which are going to regularly point out what your drivers are doing wrong.
And, with so much to do each day, we must prioritize. One aspect of personnel management is addressing problems that result in increased costs, downtime, and an overall loss of productivity. So, Priority No. 1: address the problems your reports are showing.
Result: Call in employee A and tell them what they are doing wrong and come up with a plan to address the issue. Move on to the next