Fortunately, with the right processes in place, HR departments are proactive rather than reactive. This helps them anticipate when and where a metaphorical ball might be dropped and puts a plan in place to deal with the situation.
Fleet management can be a tricky part of the HR role as not only are your drivers on the road most of the time but so are the vehicles. To avoid the danger of fleet compliance and management being out of sight, let’s look at the important role HR has to play to keep company vehicles on the road.
HR professionals must wear many hats and one that is often thrust upon them is the need to fulfil admin duties across their company. In a company that relies upon its fleet, this becomes an essential task to ensure compliance and good fleet management.
From scheduling routine maintenance and repairs to tracking fuel consumption and driver hours, fleet management is essential for the success of many companies. Whether it’s a cleaning firm sending operatives into the field, a food delivery service using chilled vans or a plant machinery hire business, how the fleet is managed from the HR perspective directly impacts the fortunes of a company.
HR will work closely with fleet management to set guidelines and procedures for:
- Driver safety
- Fleet tracking
- Vehicle maintenance
- Electronic Logging Device management
- Driver retention
Health and safety
Many large corporations split their HR and health and safety divisions but not all do and some HR professionals may find themselves straddling both. There are also times when both departments work in collaboration so health and safety is certainly an area that HR will be involved with.
Health and safety is also an essential element of fleet compliance and management. HR staff must ensure that those driving and using a company’s fleet are aware of and follow the company’s health and safety procedures when working and operating their vehicles.
Unfortunately, accidents happen and approximately 4.5 per driver were recorded in 2022. HR leaders may find themselves leading a safety-led investigation following any incidents. This may be used to review if the right procedure is in place to report accidents or to ensure that the appropriate follow-up action is taken in the aftermath.
Compliance and regulations
For a company fleet to stay operational it must comply with all laws and industry regulations that apply. That might be relatively simple for some companies but for others, it represents many hoops to jump through.
Having a vehicle out of commission due to falling behind on its maintenance schedule or sending a driver out without the right training is asking for trouble and not only is it dangerous but it could result in a fine or lawsuit.
From ensuring drivers are qualified to creating a culture where HGV drivers don’t exceed their driving time without a break or total allocated time on the road per week, HR has an important role to play. Furthermore, if drivers are operating in the EU, they must also comply with European regulations that state they can drive no more than 56 hours in a week or 90 hours in two weeks.
Hiring and training
In any company the hiring process is essential, from getting staff into your organization with the right qualifications and attitude to helping the business grow. HR professionals play a critical role in the hiring of new employees, from interviews and job marketing to onboarding.
Once welcomed into the company, HR must maintain a connection with each employee, support their needs and, for fleet compliance issues, ensure their training is up to date. Whether that means their license to operate a specific vehicle is in jeopardy or they wish to progress to add certain driving classifications to their license, HR can help facilitate their training needs.
Delivery drivers and fleet operators can enjoy a unique role in a company where they’re integral to its success but rarely work from a central location. It can mean that they feel aloof or not quite a part of the team and for HR it’s essential to ensure that employee relations with fleet staff are maintained.
Driver turnover can be high in the HGV industry, estimated to be 89% turnover in the United States, and it’s often difficult for companies to retain their staff. But, failing to look after staff can see an organization with vehicles perfectly capable of doing the job without drivers or operators to get behind the wheel.
Once more HR staff can be of assistance to companies to help reduce their high turnover rates through better training, better bonuses and an improved acknowledgement of their contributions. HR initiatives such as company newsletters help fleet drivers and field staff feel more appreciated and central to company operations.
Companies can lean on their HR leaders to help smooth relations with their fleet operators through company benefits and initiatives. These can range from retirement plans and health insurance to flexible annual leave or wellness packages.
Learn more: Financial Wellness Plans: Everything Employers Need to Know
Logistics and operations
For companies to operate optimally they need to have a good grasp of their HR processes. From a logistics and operations point of view, understanding company capacity on any given day to coordinate drivers, operators and assistants is essential and it’s something that HR can assist with.
Once more, potentially disruptive essentials such as vehicle maintenance schedules and training compliance factor into the smooth running of a company fleet and this is something HR needs to communicate with various departments. There is also a great need for the opening of communication channels between departments, something that human resources is ideally placed to facilitate.