When I’m touring fleet facilities, it’s always interesting to note what kind of recognition programs exist in each fleet.

In May, we held our first Government Fleet Expo & Conference (GFX) Road Show in the Southern California area, where we visited and got tours of six public fleet facilities in San Diego and Orange counties. We saw walls of awards and certifications, as well as trophy displays showing department achievements in many facilities. I saw a wall of at least 20 certificates for just one technician alone, adjacent to his work bay. We saw Employee of the Month photos and a giant Garage of the Year wrench trophy. People are proud of their awards.

What do awards mean to fleets, and why are they important to the industry?

Providing Motivation
People go to work for the paycheck. But they stay, mostly, because they’re happy with their jobs, because it motivates or challenges them in some way, or they like their coworkers or the cars they work on.

Recognition programs provide another way for fleets to reward their staff and for the industry to reward its highest performers. There are individual recognition programs you may have at your fleet, such as Employee of the Month, which may come with a small perk such as a nearby parking spot for the month. There are internal team awards such as safety programs that encourage safe operations, which may come with group awards such as a catered lunch. There are industry awards that recognize both the accomplishments of individuals and entire operations, including Government Fleet’s own awards. There are certificates that prove excellence or competency in a specific topic or overall operations.

Whatever it is, there are many ways available to recognize your staff and people, and it often doesn’t cost anything. You can certainly provide monetary prizes, but they aren’t necessary.

Recognition programs can provide motivation and promote healthy competition, as well as goal-setting, and encourage staff to become more knowledgeable and efficient. It pushes fleet managers to continually improve.

Also important is that recognition programs help professionalize this industry. Awards programs can bring positive attention to fleet and what a complex job fleet management is as well as the areas in which technicians are highly proficient.

And recognition doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of specific, preset programs. It’s easy to recognize someone for a job they do well, and it can be as simple as noting their accomplishment during a meeting or stopping by their work area to let them know. I doubt any of your staff would complain about a “congratulations” and a pat on the back.

Strive for Continuous Improvement
What might be best about recognition programs is the drive for continuous improvement. Even if you don’t achieve that one specific goal or award this year, you can learn from the experience.

We manage a few awards here at Government Fleet, and one action I’ve been impressed with is a fleet that applied for the Leading Fleets and didn’t make the list. The fleet manager e-mailed me to get more information, and he eventually set up a meeting with one of the judges to discuss how he could improve his fleet to better qualify for the award next year.

What are some creative methods you’ve used to motivate staff? How have you used awards to improve your fleet’s morale and operations?
thi.dao@bobit.com

Author

Thi Dao
Thi Dao

Thi Dao

Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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