Fort Transfer Improves Retention with Full-Fleet Communications

Recently, Casey Lehman, Director of Recruiting and Retention at Fort Transfer, had a call with a driver who he never hears from, and lately, this seems to be an ongoing trend. 

Since engaging drivers through WorkHound starting in January 2021, more drivers are getting in touch and it’s allowing the team at Fort Transfer to experience fewer surprises. According to Lehman, they haven’t seen as many snap judgment “I-quit-right-now” moments. Instead, proactive communication has allowed them to get out in front of issues.

“I’m excited about the simplicity of asking how things are going through WorkHound,” said Lehman. “The way it works is really easy and the drivers have responded well to it.”

Fort Transfer serves crop protection customers and operates one of the largest indoor liquid bulk storage facilities in the Midwest with a capacity of 2.6 million gallons. This means that Fort Transfer drivers are required to have Tank and HAZMAT endorsements in addition to a Class “A” CDL, narrowing an already tight talent market for qualified drivers. These days, a positive response is more important than ever.

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Because of the real-time feedback provided by drivers, Fort Transfer has made strategic changes to increase retention, which has allowed them to grow their fleet with 19 more drivers already this year. 

This has been a quick and valuable turnaround after ending 2020 with turnover as high as it’s ever been. In 2021, Lehman says their goal is to return to normal, but he’s projecting a rate 20% better than that.

“In the second half of last year, all of our ‘warts’ were being exposed,” said Lehman. “Our turnover was unacceptable and there were a lot of different factors for that. But the biggest change we’ve made has been adding WorkHound to our program.” 

Fort Transfer uses WorkHound to gain feedback in the moment, but it also uses the service to talk about the “Driver of the Month,” recognition of other employees, birthdays, and anniversaries. And because not every driver is on social media, it’s provided a positive boost to morale to see the acknowledgment of good news. 

Following the acquisition of Fort Transfer by Kenan Advantage Group in November 2020, Lehman and his team are using WorkHound to understand questions and misconceptions that need to be addressed among their driver community. For example, the affiliation has inspired ongoing changes at a Fort Transfer facility. While driving trust and transparency through the transition, they’re channeling driver questions to Fort Transfer’s executive leaders and responding with answers while also addressing the rumor mill head-on.

They’ve also utilized WorkHound communications to announce changes made in response to driver concerns. When drivers in the lease program were forced to shut down because of a snowstorm, Fort Transfer worked with drivers via WorkHound to help them navigate lease forgiveness while compensation slowed down. 

These changes were announced via their WorkHound broadcast message, which is read by 72% of Fort Transfer drivers on average. This speaks to the latest surprises for Lehman, that he’s in touch with drivers he doesn’t regularly hear from and that even those in the silent majority are taking the time to look for WorkHound communications. 

But although Fort Transfer has experienced positive progress over the first six months, it’s still early days. And Lehman believes the best is yet to come as they look forward to hitting their goal to stabilize turnover and grow in the future. 

“This isn’t about waving a magic wand,” said Lehman. “It’s little things, like listening and working with the drivers every day a little more. WorkHound gives us a guide on how to get out of our own way.”

If you’re looking to improve driver engagement with your full fleet, get in touch. The WorkHound team of retention experts is enthusiastic to help you take control.