From the Top Down: Why Leadership Buy-in Is Key

It isn’t enough to simply implement a feedback program for your company and start asking employees for their feedback. If you can only gather the feedback but aren’t empowered to take meaningful action to solve pain points, you’re stuck in place. 

That’s why it is important to have leadership buy-in on your feedback program from day one. You need executives to understand why you’re seeking feedback, how it benefits the business, and why it’s essential to act on feedback in order to build trust and relationships. 

But why is that? Let’s talk through the basics.

Action Is Essential for Leadership Buy-in

If you’ve read any of our blogs — or talked to members of our WorkHound team — you probably know that we consider gathering feedback only one piece of the all-important feedback loop.

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While asking your drivers for their feedback is important, once you have that feedback, you actually have to do something with it. Otherwise, it’s inconsequential (perhaps even detrimental).

But in order to take meaningful action on most pieces of feedback you’ll receive in the life of your program, you’ll need to have the greenlight from those at the upper levels of the leadership chain. 

When you’ve received a piece of feedback from a driver who may potentially be at risk of leaving, time is of the essence. You don’t have time to stop and sell company leadership on the value of feedback each time you need to respond.

That’s why you need to talk through the program and its particulars with your leadership at the start of the program and then as-needed thereafter.

“Before starting a feedback program, it’s important to reflect internally and be honest about the types of issues you are most likely to hear about,” says Cheney Tardio, Director of Customer Success with WorkHound. “If a driver is vulnerable enough to share, you need to be ready to act. Not responding at all or responding to only part of an issue erodes trust. So it’s important that those in positions of power are really committed to the potential for change within their organization.”

Timing Matters (and It Should Be Fast)

We spoke about the need for action above and how time plays a role in it, but the need for fast action is important enough that it merits its own discussion.

In most industries, employees who are unhappy may stick around for months or even years, annoyed or frustrated but still trying to make things work. That’s because the American workforce as a whole has traditionally been one that values long tenures.

While that is now changing in the wake of The Great Resignation, quicker turnover has been a factor in the trucking industry for decades. The trucking industry moves fast, meaning your solutions have to, as well.

“Expediency is so important,” Cheney says. “Drivers can be happy on Monday, then something ticks them off on Tuesday, and they’re gone by the end of the week. If you don’t have leadership buy-in from day one on taking action, you might lose the opportunity to retain that employee.”

Why is it so important for leadership to understand how your feedback program works? It’s really pretty simple.

“It comes down to ownership,” Cheney says. “In order for any program to be successful, someone has to own it. If company leaders take ownership, they’re able to demonstrate to the entire team that what drivers have to say matters — so much so that they’re willing to do the sometimes challenging work of improving longstanding policies and procedures. It might not always be easy, but the benefits and cost savings of keeping drivers happy is absolutely worth it.”

Ready to sell your leadership team on the benefits of a feedback program? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!