Motor on, Mobile off.
In 2015, Unilever produced their new policy – MOMO. Motor on, mobile off. Since its implementation, the company has seen a considerable fall in accident rates and collision claims. MOMO doesn’t just apply to company drivers, either. It applies to all employees, from someone in the accounting department, a fleet driver, or an executive. The company adopted this policy into their culture and the message is even spreading into the homes of employees.
Oleg Cytowicz, Americas fleet lead of Unilever, says that “it stems from a mantra that we have within Unilever: small actions lead to big results.” Cytowicz noted that by identifying the issue within our society and taking small steps to eliminate the threat can have a big impact.
The Beginnings of MOMO
This policy originated in July of 2015. The company preformed a global audit of its operations, seeking areas with potential risks to employees. They analyzed factors such as population in business areas, road conditions, available vehicles, and safety equipment. Neal Saiz of Unilever said “we had months and months and months of communicating the program on a regular basis, held town halls, and sent out various electronic communications, it was a well thought out process.” When MOMO was first released, employees had some questions and concerns. How literal is MOMO? Does it apply to all devices?
MOMO is not literal and applies to all electronic devices. If you’re idling in a safe area, it’s okay to check emails or take calls. At the same rate, it also isn’t just about company cars or your typical Monday through Friday work week. If an employee receives a call while driving on a Sunday, they cannot take the call and must wait until they are no longer driving. That even means use of hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth.
Once a quarter, Unilever reminds its employees about the requirements of MOMO. They are also including it in their new-hire orientation. With endorsement from leadership, the program is globally thriving. They run under the assumption that all employees follow the policy, but are also fully aware that some will violate it. Consequently, the company has set up a two-strike system for policy violators. The first time an employee is caught, it is their first and final warning. If an employee is ticketed twice, they will be let go.
Unilever has noticed a drop in accident rates since their new policy was first unveiled. So far this year, there has not been a single reported accident involving driving related incidents across the USA and Canada. There were several in the year prior. While they don’t know if MOMO is the main cause, they do know that they’re paying less on collision and having fewer accidents.
Heading into the Future
Cytowics would love to share MOMO with other companies and organizations. Since it’s introduction, it has shaped Unilever and resulted in positive change. The future of MOMO and combating distracted driving will be dependent on the future of technology. Saiz says “leveraging technology and continuing to sustain the process is the future of the program.”
Implementing a driver safety program is just one way to prevent accidents, injuries, and deaths. Car crashes are the leading cause of workplace deaths, and can be prevented through safety and health programs. “Companies with strong safety cultures take action by reducing risk in areas that protect their employees and the communities in which they operate. CEOs of leading companies committed to best practices in safety understand that safety is good business,” says the National Safety Council.
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