Culture drives policy

21 June 2018 - By Eugene Herbert

Many companies admit to having policies that drive safety. Yet, no matter how watertight a policy is, nothing of substance is accomplished without day-to-day adherence – a culture of adhering to and doing what the policy outlines. Ensuring this adherence can become a real burden; a cycle of enforcement and consequence. This can result in a negative experience for everyone involved, but it doesn’t have to be like that.


Like building a house, you’ve got to do the ground work first; a solid foundation avoids problems later. The foundation for compliance to policy is culture. This is not difficult, it is super easy to do, but you must mean it. Just going through the motions could do more damage than good as is evidenced by law enforcement authorities.


The first step to preparing a driving culture is to understand what prompted – the circumstances that determined the necessity – the project in the first place. Has there been a serious incident or have costs gone out of control? Is there a negative impact on operations when a vehicles is off the road? There will always be a reason; it may be as simple as a desire to be compliant.


Once you know why improvements are necessary, you need to understand the reality of driving for work at the company. Ask your people what needs to change and why. Ask as many people as you can and make sure you touch all levels; leadership, managers and workforce. Simply investigate the following:

  • What are their daily pressures or annoyances?
  • What risks do they knowingly take to achieve their work goals?
  • What is their perception of leadership /management /workforce attitudes towards driving for work at your company?
  • What would they change?


So long as you listen well, and care about the responses, you can map out the landscape of current driving culture. You will also start to build trust with them and gain a good idea about what is important to them. This gives you the tools to lay the foundations on which to build.


Now, you are in a position to set about developing new ways of working. Keep key personnel in each leadership, management and workforce level involved. It not only ensures policies are fit for real world application, but also maintains trust throughout the change process.


Whatever your approach to developing new ways of working, make sure you address every concern they identify. Even if there is nothing you can do to change the driving culture now or indeed even in the future. Failure to do this undermines trust and can sabotage everything.


Only then, are you ready to start implementation and driving actual change in the way your people drive for work.


Taking this holistic approach, demonstrating empathy for employees’ work-related pressures and the business’s operational and financial needs, should result in:

  • Policy that is easy to follow,
  • Improvements in efficiency
  • Reductions in incidents and related costs.


As staff  influence and design the policy themselves, you empower them to follow it. it reduces the need for enforcement and consequence. Instead it brings ‘natural compliance’ to the driving culture; people doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons.


It all sounds easy but should your company lack the time or resources, MasterDrive will happily assist in initiating the process and drafting a suitable policy.

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