Helping your taxi drivers deal with stress management will have a positive impact on your bottom line. Stress creates a loss of focus, a decreased ability to make sound decisions, and ultimately increases the likelihood of having an accident. If you want to keep your taxi insurance costs low, risk mitigation is key and we have three tips to help.
1. Empower Your Drivers
A 2003 study by the Leadership & Organization Development Journal found that call center agents suffered from stress and health-related issues at an increased rate due to their inability to make meaningful impact and their perception of being less empowered than workers in a traditional office environment.
Another study by Qian Meng and Fangfang Sun published to Psychology Research and Behavior Management found that psychological empowerment can ‘stimulate individuals’ enthusiasm for work and promote the improvement of job performance.”
Research is clear: Empowerment impacts behavior. So how do you empower your drivers? For your drivers, empowerment starts with training (which we will get to shortly) and power.
Allow your taxi drivers as much control over their decisions as you can. For example, your drivers should feel empowered to care for customer service issues without involving a third party. Also, believe in your drivers! You would be surprised how empowered someone feels when you start treating them like a valuable asset. Finally, lay off. If you are prone to micromanagement, this might be a tall ask, but empowering your drivers is about allowing them to be in control versus you controlling every step of the process.
2. Train Your Drivers
Training your drivers to deal with stress-related incidents will also reduce on-the-job stress. Train them to assess passenger risk and handle money safely and create systems that keep them safe, like cashless payment options.
Finally, create a driver mentor program. There’s a reason why London’s Black Car drivers are globally famous. Their drivers are living, driving roadmaps who have trained for years and memorized every city street. While this level of professional training probably isn’t feasible for most U.S.-based taxi companies, creating a driver mentor program is a low-cost alternative.
Using a mentor program, you can partner seasoned drivers with newbies to teach them traffic patterns, shortcuts, the best routes, and tricks of the trade. Training through mentorship will go a long way toward stress management and creating meaningful relationships within your company.
Taxi drivers face a lot of perils: traffic, violence, unruly passengers, unstable income, etc. The last thing they need to hear is “suck it up” or “it’s part of the job.” While it may seem contrary to current livery culture, empathy and co-regulation will go a long way toward increasing driver retention, driver happiness, and profits.
When a driver is angry or stressed, telling them to calm down isn’t going to work. The emotions are in response to a chemical change in the body that creates a sort of “chaos” that does not dissipate on-demand. A better alternative? Co-regulation.
While most people are undoubtedly capable of self-regulating, humans are pack animals. We need each other, and we can help each other. Co-regulation is the act of helping someone else regulate their emotions by mirroring their emotions while remaining calm. This simple act can create change within the body, calming the irritated nervous system.
For example, if a driver is angry, instead of saying, “That’s life, pal!”
Try, “I get that you’re angry. That must have been so frustrating when the passenger didn’t tip you after you went above and beyond with her luggage; tell me more.”
Giving language to the emotion, not judging, and not fixing can go a long way toward emotional regulation. Contrary to popular belief, allowing someone to feel an emotion will not amplify it. Instead, feeling it will, in time, stabilize the emotion.
Why You Should Implement Stress Management Tips for your Drivers
Making little shifts can have a big impact. First, reducing stress can lower your taxi insurance costs. Second, implementing stress management techniques will increase driver retention. Third, empowering your drivers will create a sense of driver accountability. If your drivers constantly blame the customer, the company, or the technology, that’s a surefire sign that they are disempowered. When they own the solutions, they own the results. Finally, keeping your drivers happy will create happy passengers, putting more money in everyone’s pocket. In the end, isn’t making money while creating meaning and having a positive impact what it’s all about?