A Driver Risk Assessment Is Your Best Safety Tool

Joe Driver wants a job with your company. He looks good on paper, has the skills and requirements needed, and has a pretty good safety record. So you hire him. Then he causes an accident that costs your company $3-million dollars.

“How could this happen?” “Where did we go wrong?” “What could we have done differently?”

I’m glad you asked.

Michigan State University did a study that concluded, “The typical interviewing process used by most companies is at best only 14% effective in predicting successful job hires.” Combine that with the 2006 FMCSA study that reported “Driver Behavior Causes Most Truck Crashes,” and you get the idea that maybe you need to improve your hiring or management practices – or both.

Before hiring a driver you need to know – for sure – if he or she is the type of person who is safety conscious by nature or a daring, risk-taker type. You need to know if a driver applicant:

1.Is patient or impatient
2.Tends to follow or break rules
3.Has a steadiness or spontaneous nature
4.Is motivated to be a superior driver
5.Has true passion for the job

You can ask driver applicants questions to find out and get the right answer 14% of the time. People wear a “mask” during the job interview – they tell you what you want to hear, which may or may not be true. Stanley J. Randall said, “The closest to perfection
a person comes is when he fills out a job application.” How true.

To find out how a driver will perform on the job, you must assess the applicant’s behavioral style. To determine what motivates a person to do the job well, you must discover his or her values/attitudes. Even before you do that, you want to accurately determine what are the ideal behaviors and attitudes required by the job itself.

You do that by gathering a team of people who know the job well to benchmark the job. Your team, which includes some of your best drivers and their manager(s), determines the key accountabilities required for the job to exist. One key accountability might be, “A driver must safely deliver our products to our customers in a timely manner.” Other key accountabilities might include communications, customer service, safety and compliance, etc.

Then your team completes two job benchmarking assessments – one showing the ideal behavioral style required by the job, the other determining the ideal attitudes/values the job requires for superior performance.

Assess your current drivers and future applicants and match their results to your job benchmarks and you’ll get the best driver every time. Use the information in the drivers’ assessments to manage, motivate, and communicate with them effectively and you’ll be able to retain those top drivers longer.

One of our transportation clients was using assessments to hire drivers and it worked well for them. After a while, they decided they could get the same results without the assessments, so they stopped using them. After a year, they started using them again because they found they couldn’t make good hires without the assessments.

With job benchmarking, your company will improve:

-Hiring practices
-Management practices
-Retention of good drivers

If you want to hire superior performers, benchmark your job(s), and then assess your drivers, employees, and job applicants.

The key is to let the job talk – and listen.