Opinion

Happy workers, happy drivers are what we want

Happy employees are more productive than unhappy employees: that's the headline finding of a new study exploring employee productivity in the United States.   

The finding from Blackhawk Engagement Solutions’ research probably doesn't come as a big surprise. Study after study, the world over, has shown, time and time again, that employee happiness leads to higher levels of productivity.   

So, how about pausing for a moment to ask yourself some questions about happiness?  How happy are you in your work?  And what about your co-workers?  What could your company do to bring a smile to the face of its employees?  And what's the role of the car fleet category in all this? 

Let's face it, the labour market has been really tough for the last few years and many employees have been feeling a little downtrodden. The financial crises has seen salary freezes and contract re-negotiations, with all the power resting in the palm of the employer. Now, with economic growth returning, employee mobility is on the up.  

Opportunities in the job market now mean employers need to start thinking about rewarding employees once again. One sure fire way to spread happiness is offering a better salary and boosting perks.

So what does this mean for us in the fleet community? We have been under the hammer to cut costs and source savings on top of savings. The bottom line may well look better as a result, but there are other impacts that we need to consider.

There's only so far that cost cutting can go without impacting quality. Many company car drivers have seen their valuable car downgraded or its features chipped away. Whilst willing to accept this when times were tough, there's less acceptance in today's climate.   

Yes, we are in the midst of the sharing economy and waking up to what corporate mobility can offer, but for many employees the car is seriously important employee perk. The hearts of many drivers start to beat that little bit faster when they talk about their cars. It's in the DNA of the people that we deal with on a daily basis.

What's on offer in the company car fleet can bring a smile to an employee's face (read increased productivity) or it could lead to some serious frowning (read lower productivity).

I put it to you that the fleet community has been honing in the pure financial aspects of the TCO equation now for too long. The costs of disgruntled and unhappy employees are not just falling levels of productivity, but the loss of excellent employees and trouble attracting new talent.

It's about balance
So, what's the solution? Let's start by re-balancing what value means when we're talking about the company car. The TCO starts to look different when it's looked at from a people based perspective. 

Fleet managers, as the custodians on company car policy, have a critical role to play in showing decision makers the added value of cars. We're not just here to secure cost savings and support the business deliver its objectives, but to bring a smile to the face of employees (or should I say boost employee productivity?).  Yes, we can do all three, but we have to strike the right balance.  

Authored by: Steven Schoefs