Performance and recognition: strategies that fleets are implementing to work with drivers

Published on September 27, 2022

By Rafi Syed - CarriersEdge

The Performance and Recognition section of the Best Fleets to Drive For® questionnaire looks at how companies effectively measure, recognize, and manage performance both individually and across the fleet. This area has developed considerably over the history of the Best Fleets program, and the 2022 edition saw that trend continue.

Performance Management

A majority of this year's Best Fleets have multiple performance reviews with drivers throughout the year, using scorecards that incorporate both hard and soft metrics.

The top scoring fleets in the Best Fleets to Drive For program have created plans to learn from the scorecards and have a clear progression of performance for drivers to see. "People need to see their progress," says Jane Jazrawy, co-creator of the Best Fleets program. "They need to see they're getting better. And not only see it but know that other people are seeing it as well. Drivers don't feel incentivized to improve when managers and dispatchers only connect with them to show hard-braking or distracted driving events."

And while most fleets lean on training as the foundation for performance improvement, more and more are working with individual drivers directly to tailor coaching or performance support programs that focus on specific needs - extending beyond direct on-the-job issues and into personal situations that may be impacting job performance.

Supporting those performance management programs, reward and recognition offerings have evolved as well. While there was a brief trend towards points-and-reward systems for recognition, that appears to have subsided. The trend currently is towards recognition programs that let drivers recognize their peers directly (or at least nominate them for awards), creating a greater sense of community and engagement across the fleet as a whole.

Fleet Manager Engagement

Resolving issues with workplace communication significantly improves workflow and job satisfaction. Some fleets pair dispatchers and professional drivers by matching personality types and communication styles. Others will switch pairings or create the connection directly with fleet managers if the original pairing has had trouble developing.

A growing percentage of carriers are including driver metrics when evaluating fleet manager or dispatcher performance. While that most commonly focuses on productivity, the higher scoring fleets also measure retention, safety, and other metrics that create a more complete picture of the manager's success.


One of the highlights of the last year's program was the number of fleets coaching drivers based on dashcam footage as an extension of their training programs. This year, nearly half the fleets surveyed had a coaching and development plan that also included a focus on empathy and behaviors. Those plans also often included peer involvement, which gave drivers a chance to learn from each other more regularly rather than just working with Safety.

Beyond connecting development tools with development channels, the consistency and frequency of training options also influences performance throughout a driver's career with a fleet. The 2022 edition of the Best Fleets questionnaire adjusted the training questions to focus more on what happens after the first year - while all fleets have substantial training in a driver's first year with the company, it was becoming apparent that that training dropped off dramatically after the first year. The results confirmed that that's still the case, but there were notable exceptions with some fleets offering drivers multiple days of training on average across their entire careers with the company.

For fleets implementing technology to enhance their driver development programs, Jazrawy recommends that fleets think about how they're using it, and how drivers feel about it. This year, the driver surveys showed distinctly lower satisfaction levels with technology adoption, primarily related to how it was communicated and how much (or how little) input drivers had in the decisions. Investing some additional time to get drivers on side with new technology can greatly improve the acceptance, and the overall benefits seen across the fleet as well.