Q&A: 2019 Annual Driver Feedback Trends Report

Each year WorkHound releases a collection of trends from our annual review of driver feedback. With the driver shortage topping 30,000+ drivers and industry-wide turnover averaging 95-120%, we’re excited to see in our research that WorkHound is making an impact in retention.

Turnover is a hot topic, which means turnout for the annual conference call offered great questions. Today we’re answering those questions from call attendees:

Q: What was the biggest change in driver feedback last year?
A: We’ve received less negative feedback about pay. The pay rate is going up and that’s helpful. But when it comes down to it, the comments we receive about pay tend to be rooted in communication. As anyone in the industry knows, driver pay is confusing for both the carrier and the driver. What drivers are telling WorkHound is that they don’t understand pay or it isn’t correct. Companies have to find a way to make sure their technology is working properly because this can make a huge impact on the way you communicate with drivers, which ultimately, should improve your business with your drivers.

Q: Has the wait time metric improved year over year?
A: We’d love to say that it has, but in reality, it hasn’t. Typically the frustrations around wait times stem from challenges in communication, as most concerns do. That can be simply insufficient communication or disrespectful interactions. What we do know is this: Drivers will leave if they have to work with a hostile shipper. Companies are coming to an important fork in the road where they have had to decide whether they’ll work with a hostile shipper or lose great drivers. This is important, because while wait times have improved somewhat, overall what we’re seeing is an improvement in the way shippers and drivers interact. And this is overall better in the long run.

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Q: Are you noticing any difference in the generations? Any differences in drivers based on age?
A: Because protecting driver anonymity is a major priority, we aren’t able to offer demographic data based on age. What we do know is this: New, younger drivers are entering the industry and they’re familiar with technology because they’ve lived most of their lives with it. This means they’re more comfortable speaking anonymously through a phone and they’re more comfortable with that than face-to-face interactions.

While we can all identify a handful of drivers at any carrier that aren’t afraid to vocalize their concerns, the majority of drivers aren’t as confident and fall into the silent majority, regardless of age. Most of all, WorkHound is helping these drivers navigate the communication chain of command without the apprehension associated with admitting they might be confused with how it all works.

Q: How have Elogs impacted the industry?
A: Elogs and hours-of-service should hold shippers accountable. The challenge is that the market flattened in 2019 and carriers weren’t able to be as strict as they were in 2018. Shippers are still able to make adjustments as they see fit. Overall, the impact is still to-be-determined because the hard deadline only passed in the last 60 days.

Q: Did you receive any feedback about large carriers shutting down in the last 6 or 7 months?
A: We’ve received a wave of feedback with concerns from drivers about the lack of transparency from their companies about their company’s future. Seeing industry news about financial difficulties raises concerns from drivers about industry viability. We coach customers to increase transparency and encourage open lines of communication to build confidence.

Q: As we look at driver turnover’s impact on the industry, what kind of data shows improvement in driver turnover?
A: We work with several carriers who have experienced a significant positive impact on their turnover and business operations because of anonymous driver feedback. American Central Transport shared that in 2019 they took an aggressive approach to tackling turnover, including WorkHound in their strategy, and they were able to improve their retention by 30%.

Read the full ACT Case Study here

The WorkHound dashboard looks at how many drivers issues were addressed and how proactive were the companies in these cases. Our 2019 annual average shows that 90% of drivers who’ve had urgent issues addressed stayed with their companies for an additional 30 days. This goes back to our findings regarding “the silent majority.” We know that drivers might decide to present their concerns directly with the company, but we also know that plenty of drivers decide not to speak-up and instead they share their concerns online or worse: with a recruiter at another carrier.

Q: How did the California Gig-Worker Law (AB5) affect driver feedback?
A: The frustration we received in driver feedback was mostly about the lack of transparency and clarity in remaining compliant. This caused some drivers to explicitly express that they were leaving because of this issue. We typically saw the most impact on owner-operators. Our greatest takeaway is that companies must remain up-to-speed and seek additional communication channels to stay in front of major market changes or impactful legislation.

Q: What do you think plays the biggest factor in comment volume changes?
A: Summer months tend to have higher work volume, which means that drivers tend to experience more activity and that results in more feedback. For most carriers, significant pay changes tend to happen in April, and July is at the end of a higher volume season for tanker and flatbed carriers. For these drivers, they tend to present their uncertainties about the next season during this time.

This is just a glimpse of the thoughts about feedback in 2019. If you have questions, please reach out to the WorkHound team. We’re here to help!