significant driver feedback

What Drivers Were Saying in the First Half of 2020

Earlier this year, we took a deep dive into all the feedback received through WorkHound in 2019. From that information, our analysis shared what we found to be the most significant driver feedback trends heading into 2020.

While that information armed trucking companies and those in the industry at large with helpful details about what drivers want and need, no one could have prepared for what was ahead in 2020.

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in late February and its many effects on trucking and the world at large that are still continuing today, it only stands to reason that there have been some shifts in what drivers are saying.

The data backs that up. With half of 2020 in the rearview, we stopped to take a look at driver feedback trends — here’s what we found.

Empathy Is Important
With so much turbulence and chaos in the last few months, it’s only natural that many drivers had a lot to say.

Up through the end of June, we received 18,400 comments from more than 7,200 different drivers. 

Their overarching message? It’s pretty much a magnified version of their normal wants and needs: They want to know that their employer has their back.  

“Trucking is a people business,” says Max Farrell, CEO and Co-Founder of WorkHound. “Drivers do not want to be treated like numbers. They are more likely to stay with companies that have the human touch and strive to create personal relationships with drivers.”

Pay & People Switch Places
In an interesting shift, pay became a more frequent source of feedback than people in the first half of the year.

For many, finances are a source of stress. Unsurprisingly, then, many of the comments related to pay were negative and fairly urgent — requiring prompt action on the part of the company.

“One-quarter of all pay comments also concerned COVID-19,” Farrell says. “These issues mostly have to do with hazard pay. COVID-19-related pay comments increased from 20% in March to 30% in April and remained steady through the end of Q2.” 

Another issue common during COVID-19 was time spent off the road — and not earning.

“Drivers are very aware of the time they spend off the road,” Farrell says. “Detention pay is one way to moderate this issue, but the complexity of submitting and receiving reimbursements for various parts of the job leave many drivers feeling like their companies are actively trying to limit their pay.”

The Top 5 Trends
While pay was a hot button topic in the first six months, it doesn’t take the top overall spot. In fact, the top five driver feedback trends remain the same as they were in 2019, with pay and people simply switching places in the order.

The top five themes were:

  • Logistics
  • Equipment
  • Pay
  • People
  • Communication

COVID-19 Was a Common Topic

Interestingly enough, while it didn’t break into the top five driver feedback trends, feedback related to COVID-19 was close behind as the sixth most common topic. 

“Even though the other themes had a head start, the amount of COVID-19 comments surpassed some of the main themes through Q1 and Q2,” Farrell says. “COVID-19 was the 6th most prominent theme for the first half of the year and only started appearing at the very end of February.” 

Drivers shared a lot of feedback related to the pandemic, including topics like hazard pay, morale, the need for sanitation supplies and PPE, new policies, company plans for the future, and the risk to self and family.

“Drivers may be putting the needs of themselves and their families above any difficulties or issues they face within the workplace,” Farrell adds. “Many were happy to just have a job during a global pandemic.”

The Bottom Line
Much of the feedback in the first half of 2020 is similar to what was seen in 2019. Ultimately, drivers are looking for support in all areas — in equipment and technology that are working optimally, in logistics that ensure that all facets of their work are lined up properly, in communications that provide transparency and show respect, and in people who demonstrate they care.

“The old adage that employees quit managers, not companies, is true for drivers as well,” Farrell says. “Drivers stay with companies that strive for strong personal relationships. If they feel forgotten or unsupported, drivers are at a higher risk for turnover.”

Ready to put our feedback tool to work for your company? Sign up to connect with a WorkHound expert.


improved healthcare safety

How to Improve Safety in Healthcare

"See something, say something" is no longer an effective way to improve safety in healthcare, especially when workers aren't sure who is on the receiving end of their elevated concern.

When was the last time you thought about how to make a meaningful safety improvement in healthcare? Did you know that employee-driven feedback is often the catalyst in the industry to push innovation and medical care forward?

In many cases, those changes have their root in feedback from a worker’s vantage point. Maybe a doctor mentioned a set of symptoms he was seeing regularly, or a nurse identified a point in a process that always caused a hiccup and suggested a potential way to improve it.

Feedback is a driver of change, and in healthcare, continual improvement is something we’re always striving for, both as a staff member and as a patient. Tweaks and improvements are especially important when it comes to patient and employee safety within the healthcare setting.

Nurses and other key healthcare staffers can often provide insights into deficits within care guidelines and suggestions on how to improve them. That’s where offering a continual feedback mechanism is so important.

The Dual Channels of Healthcare Feedback
It’s important to note that there are two overarching categories of feedback within a healthcare setting: The first is emergent and must be handled immediately. The second is less urgent and offers valuable insight for making a case to improve.

“In an emergency situation, obviously, employees need to make a more immediate connection with someone to report an issue,” says Max Farrell, CEO and Co-Founder at WorkHound. “But WorkHound is a solution to employee communication. Ultimately, every communication breakdown presents a potential risk in the healthcare setting, so it’s vitally important to offer workers an outlet for their feedback.”

While feedback in any industry plays an important role, it’s an especially necessary component in healthcare settings, where seemingly small issues can turn into significant problems very quickly. 

“I think a lot of healthcare organizations use ‘see something, say something’ as a universal phrase to encourage employees to have their voices heard,” Farrell says. “But sometimes employees simply don’t know where to go to share their feedback. Or maybe they do and are concerned about repercussions.”

Feedback’s Safety Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic

The timeline of COVID-19’s emergence and impact in the United States alone presented volatility in healthcare. During the course of just a few months, the virus spread across the country and created chaos — and a significant burden on the healthcare system.

By nature of the field, healthcare workers are presented with significant physical and emotional stress on a good day — which means having a sounding board for feedback is even more important during a pandemic.

With a tool like WorkHound, healthcare organizations can work not only to improve patient safety but also to prioritize their employees. This includes multiple facets, encompassing both physical safety and emotional health.

“Employees don’t always want to openly share that they're overwhelmed — they don’t want to look weak,” Farell says. “I know that any medical professional is trained on how to handle trauma in a patient, but that’s often overlooked when it comes to healthcare workers or caregivers. This can help leaders and other admins know when employees need a break and when they’re at risk of burnout.”

Raising that silent alarm is especially important right now, with changing dynamics in the way that many healthcare organizations and non-clinical employees are working.

“HR teams are working from home in some cases,” Farrell says. “And even if they’re not, they’re separated from what clinicians are actually seeing on the floor and what changes and information they need in this evolving climate. WorkHound provides a tool for overcoming that barrier and improving safety all around.”

Ready to put our feedback tool to work for your healthcare organization? Sign up for a free consultation to learn how we can help.


high-quality drivers

How to Retain High-Quality Drivers

WorkHound partnered with Roadrunner Freight on a July 1 webinar to discuss the company's evolving culture and retaining high-quality drivers. With anonymous driver feedback in the mix, Roadrunner Freight has improved retention and driver satisfaction. To watch the replay, click here.

As part of a massive company-wide culture overhaul, Roadrunner Freight began prioritizing retaining high-quality drivers by asking for anonymous feedback since April 2019. Adopting the mantra within their new tagline, “SHIP IT LIKE YOU OWN IT,” has led to increased service and quality to customers.

“SHIP IT LIKE YOU OWN IT” isn’t just about the drivers. It’s meant for the entire organization,” said Brad Sowa, Director of Recruiting at Roadrunner Freight. “The way we look at it is everyone has a part in shipping our customers’ goods from (Point) A to B. And we have to believe that everyone has a responsibility to customers, both internally and externally.”

In initiating this company-wide focus, the Roadrunner Freight team set out to source a service that could help reduce turnover, eliminate the guesswork, and establish a feedback culture within the company. The Roadrunner Freight cost-to-replace drivers is roughly $5000, and more for a high-quality driver.

Oftentimes high turnover can be met with inefficient and costly assumptions, and so Roadrunner Freight has been using anonymous driver feedback for:

  • Operational intelligence to make impactful change
  • Instant, anonymous driver feedback
  • An alternative channel for driver communication
  • Intervention when a driver indicates they're ready to leave

To achieve these goals Roadrunner Freight Independent Contractors are sent an open-ended text message weekly asking how things are going.

Drivers first confirm they aren’t operating any machinery, this is important for both WorkHound, Roadrunner Freight, and the safety of our roadways. And then they are asked to rate the company on a scale of 1-10. Finally, drivers can share exactly what’s on their mind, anonymously. This all takes less than 90 seconds.

Once their feedback is submitted, then it’s sent directly to Roadrunner for members of the team to read, unfiltered, and this helps their team understand current driver priorities.

“The word “unfiltered” sticks out,” said Sowa. “We’ve seen just about everything, and that’s the benefit of the tool, because it is unfiltered. When the feedback is blunt we can say, ‘okay, this person is passionate about this’ and that’s what we want. We want passionate people who are willing to help us fix it.”

Anonymity offers security for drivers to leave higher quality feedback. Without it, there is a real fear of retaliation.

While there are several ways to take action on this feedback, our focus here will be on two features that Brad and his team are using regularly to resolve driver communications, even when they are anonymous.

These features offer:

  • The ability to send a request for drivers to reveal their identity
  • The ability to send drivers a one-time notification when carriers need to share direct information in response to feedback

Request-to-Reveal

The ability to ask workers to reveal their identity was initiated so that companies, like Roadrunner Freight, can address worker issues. Most often, professional drivers would rather get their problems fixed than go sit through orientation somewhere else.

Dashboard users in the operations or recruiting or HR departments can click a button on the dashboard labeled “Request” and the drivers instantly receive a text message asking if they’ll reveal.

“When we read the feedback, we provide it to the appropriate owner to intervene or congratulate a team member when we get positive feedback,” said Sowa. “We really try to get feedback directly to the owner of the responsibility.”

Measuring the specific efforts put into action in response to driver feedback is important to both WorkHound and Roadrunner Freight. Sometimes turnover is just a result of the straw that broke the camel’s back and so we want to be proactive as often as possible.

So when a driver decides to reveal, a timer starts and if the driver stays an additional 30 days, it’s counted as a successful retention opportunity. Roadrunner Freight has experienced 328 retention opportunities and nearly 95% of drivers stayed at least 30 days after their issue was addressed.

While the request feature is often used for intervention, it’s also a great chance to capitalize on wins and ask the driver to have a positive conversation over the phone.

Comments that are considered “wins” are categorized in the “Praise” theme. The “Praise” theme helps companies identify opportunities to double-down on what’s going right.

For example, here’s a real comment from an anonymous driver on the Roadrunner Freight dashboard: “I would like to say. Over the past few weeks I have had multiple truck problems. 24/7 and roadsquad have gone above and beyond to assist me in a timely fashion. Through great communication I have been kept informed every step of the way. Thank you for the help in my times of need”

Because of a collection of comments like this one, the Roadrunner Freight team is now informed that expedient, thoughtful, and thorough communication is an area that is excelling in this driver’s specific location.

One-Time Notification

Through WorkHound experience and research, oftentimes a driver's identity isn’t necessary for resolving concerns. The ability to leave a one-time notification to get drivers the information they’re looking for has been a game-changer in retaining high-quality drivers.

A button on the dashboard labeled “Notify” allows users to enter a custom message to send to the driver so that they can provide important resolution, like specific information or company resources, or a phone number to call if they need urgent assistance, but have chosen not to reveal.

“Not every single comment needs large-scale involvement. Sometimes just an acknowledgment is all that's needed,” said Sowa. “The most impactful portion of this feature is that its custom and the reason that’s important is that it’s helpful to give a personal message. Drivers want to know that someone is actually doing something with their feedback.”

This feature has helped Sowa and his team affect real change for drivers on an interpersonal level thanks to the ability to share specific, individualized responses.

The Impact of Instant Communication

These intentional steps to amplify the voice of drivers on the frontline have resulted in company-wide, tangible change. As a direct result of feedback from Independent Contractors, Roadrunner Freight has made the following changes:

  • Increase of direct email communication to the Independent Contractor Fleet from Roadrunner Freight
  • Started a monthly Independent Contractor newsletter in October of 2019
  • Improved settlement timing allowing for Independent Contractors to turn in trips later in the process and be settled the same week
  • Match Independent Contractors fuel purchases to their specific trip to match cost to revenue for their business
  • Improved cleanliness and organization at our facilities as a result of direct feedback
  • Use One-Time Notification feature to reinforce driver confidence on feedback and directly share helpful resources
  • Independent Contractors have committed to "SHIP IT LIKE YOU OWN IT," leading to increased service and quality to customers
  • Consistently achieved 93% or above on-time service in top 100 lanes over the last 6 months
  • Contractor participation in team member recognition by submitting photos of properly loaded trailers

Actions like ones on this expansive list have demonstrated the importance of driver feedback over the last year as feedback on the WorkHound dashboard has evolved to a more positive outlook while retaining high-quality drivers. Measurably, Roadrunner Freight has experienced the following successes in their evolution to becoming a feedback culture:

Impact:

  • YTD: Added over 100 Independent Contractors
  • Rolling 12 month turnover has dropped to 75% from over 140% at this time last year
  • Turnover in the last 90 days is at 55%

In reflection over the last year of insights, Sowa says that feedback has been a catalyst for the evolution in culture changes that have driven retention for high-quality drivers.

“We have to acknowledge the high turnover we had when we began this program,” said Sowa. “For us to recognize where we want to go culturally, we have to understand where we’re coming from and we’re not afraid to show it. We clearly know where we’ve been and we refuse to go back there."

You can watch the full webinar, including additional Q&A, here. Interested in retaining high-quality drivers? Talk with an expert to learn more.


Equipment feedback

Examining Driver Feedback Trends: A Look at Equipment

Earlier this year, we unveiled a report about driver feedback trends from professional drivers across the board during 2019. It provided an insightful look at what drivers need and want.

But 2020, of course, has brought many changes. The COVID-19 pandemic, an unsteady economy, and shortages of many essential items have had a significant impact on everyday life and work for truck drivers. In many cases, that’s changed their focus — and their feedback now is a bit more targeted and specific to the unique challenges they’re facing.

What hasn’t changed, though, is that equipment continues to be a topic of frequent feedback. In 2019, equipment ranked as the second-most common source of feedback, and as the pandemic unfolded, we still received plenty of comments about equipment — and we even noticed that what is to be considered “equipment” has evolved.

What Drivers Are Talking About, Equipment-Wise

Feedback related to equipment encompasses anything related to the tools drivers need to do their job. This can include the truck specifically and its condition, the truck’s electronic equipment, and any troubles drivers are facing with maintenance and repair needs.

Comments and concerns in the equipment category are often urgent because when they aren’t solved promptly, drivers find themselves with unwanted downtime. 

“Time is money, and long delays in the shop are more than just an inconvenience,” says Max Farrell, CEO of WorkHound. “Drivers view this as a potential threat to their livelihood. We received hundreds of comments about trucks being in the shop for weeks or even months, and this can be a stressful time for drivers who are anxious to get back to work and anticipating steep bills.”

Beyond the immediate need for repair work to get their trucks back up and running, many drivers consider their equipment a source of pride. Taking actionable steps to help ensure their equipment is working well and in good condition is one way that trucking companies can build trust and gain respect from their drivers.

“Good, well-functioning, clean equipment is important to many drivers and a big factor in their job satisfaction,” Farrell says. “Companies that understand this and respond accordingly earn the respect of drivers and give them greater reason to stick around.”

 

How Equipment Feedback Has Changed During COVID-19

We mentioned above that equipment feedback relates to any tools that drivers need to perform their job. Interestingly enough, the definition of equipment has evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While equipment feedback previously revolved primarily around the truck itself, equipment needs now also encompass personal protective equipment or PPE. Drivers need PPE to help protect themselves when on the road — and they also need help navigating protective equipment requirements in the locations where they deliver.

“Drivers are still giving us feedback about their equipment,” Farrell says. “But now that feedback is also related to personal protective equipment. PPE is now a part of performing their job, so they’re expecting employers to stay on top of things and ensure they have what they need. They need PPE that’s effective, well-maintained, and easy to access.”

Companies are meeting this need in a variety of ways, but regardless of how you provide PPE, what’s important is that you prioritize the safety and well-being of your employees. 

“The CEO of one company we’re working with asked his mom to make face masks for all of the drivers,” Farrell says. “Together, they made about 500 face masks. He said, ‘It’s a family-first business, and we got our family involved.’”

In all the trends data we share, one of the most common threads is that drivers are people who need to be considered and heard. We’ve encouraged empathetic leadership during this time of crisis, and we love this example of empathy at work to solve real-life problems.

Stay tuned for more news about what’s trending in feedback — a new 2020 feedback update is coming soon! Ready to put our feedback tool to work for you? Sign up to talk with an expert to learn how we can help.


anonymous feedback

Why Do Your Drivers Want to Remain Anonymous?

It makes sense: When someone is willing to give feedback, we feel like they should also be willing to attach their name to that feedback. But this isn’t the case, so we’re about to tell you why your drivers want to remain anonymous.

It would be ideal if we always felt welcomed to share feedback and that our opinions and thoughts would be valued and treated with respect. Sadly, that’s not the reality in most settings, and that has made many employees hesitant to share honest and transparent feedback for fear of repercussions.

Regardless of the reason, our research shows that truck drivers want to remain anonymous.

"Less than 1% of drivers giving feedback through WorkHound are willing to preemptively self-reveal,” says Paul Castronova, Strategic Projects Manager at WorkHound. “There are a lot of reasons drivers choose to remain anonymous, whether they’re naturally shy or just like the comfort of anonymity. Or it could speak to a lack of trust in the industry as a whole — drivers have often encountered situations in the past where they were treated negatively based on feedback they gave."

The remedy to this lack of trust is to begin obtaining consistent feedback while also taking prompt action on that feedback. Over time, that can help trucking companies build relationships with their drivers and encourage drivers to share their feedback more often, both anonymously and not.

Anonymity Can Yield More Accurate Feedback

While you might wish that you could identify who is sharing feedback with you in order to remedy individual situations more promptly, there’s incredible benefit in allowing for anonymity. In the end, it means the feedback is more likely to be true to what’s occurring and what drivers really need and want. And WorkHound has a solution for situations that require urgent attention.

“The importance of workers, drivers, and office workers being able to provide information anonymously is that it gives them the confidence to be 100% honest,” Castronova says. “Employees are able to say what they’re thinking and feeling, and employers can focus on what was said and not who said it.”

There’s also a bigger picture when it comes to anonymous feedback. As much as we might like to imagine that our workplaces are unbiased and open to insight from all employees equally, the reality is that none of us or our businesses are perfect. Anonymous feedback can help you step away from bias in the ways you interact with your team members.

“For a lot of companies, a handful of employees will have the louder voices,” Castronova says. “Anonymity reduces the likelihood of companies unknowingly introducing bias into their process and encourages workers to be more honest in their feedback."

Ready to put our feedback tool to work for your company? Sign up for a free demo to learn how we can help.


healthcare staffs

3 Ways Healthcare Staffs Benefit From Regular Feedback

Employees in every workforce have concerns and feedback related to the work they do. But when you introduce life-or-death situations into that work, that feedback becomes even more important — and listening to and acting on it is vital.

That’s true now more than ever before in the healthcare industry as frontline workers across the country grapple with an evolving situation and seemingly new challenges each day while facing the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter what healthcare setting your organization is in, whether you are in the long-term care space or offering acute medical services, your employees have important feedback for you.

Why is capturing that feedback regularly so important? Let’s break down a few of the key benefits your organization gains by capturing and acting on feedback:

1. You’ll capture changes in morale and needs more quickly.

Many organizations rely on annual surveys or quarterly check-ins to gauge how their healthcare staffs are doing. While you can gain valuable feedback from those surveys, you’re missing out on the raw information in between those surveys.

“A major concern with annual surveys is that they don’t happen quickly enough and organizations are afraid they’re missing out on valuable information,” says Max Farrell, CEO & Co-Founder at WorkHound. “These organizations are not getting a good feel for what’s happening day-to-day, and they’re afraid — particularly right now — that their employees are experiencing burnout. They have a need for a more consistent checkpoint with workers.”

Offering your employees access to a feedback tool like WorkHound provides them with a valuable resource. When they face challenges or have concerns, they have an outlet to immediately share those thoughts with higherups who are in a position to make a difference.

2. You’ll be able to track trends and determine where action is needed.

When you’re gathering feedback from your healthcare staffs on an infrequent basis, it will give a broad picture of what your employees need and want. But it doesn’t give you the whole picture.

In order to know where you need to take action as a healthcare organization, you need more targeted information that relates to the day-in and day-out challenges your workforce is facing. Regular feedback can help ensure you have a good understanding of what actually needs to be done.

“Many organizations right now find themselves in a position where they aren’t sure how to react because they don’t know what the specific issues are,” Farrell says. “Having consistent feedback can help healthcare organizations avoid assumptions by giving them a clear line of data about what decisions need to be made.”

3. You’ll be able to build trust with your employees overtime.

Most of us have been in a work-related situation at one time or another where the wheels of change seemed to move so slowly. That’s frustrating no matter what type of work you do.

But when you’re working on the frontlines of healthcare and taking care of those who are vulnerable, slow action on a necessary change can be demoralizing. 

Providing your employees with a tool to share feedback, concerns, and questions — along with positives about their work — is step one in helping build a valuable relationship with those employees. Step two is acting on their feedback.

“Especially right now, healthcare staffs are going to remember how their employers handled this time,” Farrell says. “There’s not an easy way around what the global pandemic has caused in the present. But six months or a year from now, employees are going to remember the level of respect they were given and whether their voices were heard.”

Listening to your employees’ voices is an essential part of building trust, and it will make a lasting difference.

“These people are on the frontlines, and they’re so important,” Farrell adds. “They’re taking care of the people we love. It’s our job to make sure we’re taking care of them by allowing them to communicate what’s on their mind and what’s needed.”

Ready to put our feedback tool to work for your healthcare organization? Sign up for a free demo to learn how we can help.


Communicating Safety

Guiding Drivers to Safety Amidst Civil Unrest

As carriers across the country deal with the effects of the global pandemic, focus has recently divided to also understand how to guide drivers to safety during nationwide protests. WorkHound supports Black Americans in their fight for racial justice, and the rights of all Americans to make their voices heard. We also understand that this can create operational and safety challenges for frontline workers. We are committed to helping you provide those workers with safety resources during this time. 

News about how professional drivers and freight have been affected: 

Resources to Guide Drivers to Safety:

  • Civil Unrest: Carrier Best Practices When Protests and Riots Interrupt Business As Usual - DriverReach and NTCI Webinar
  • Here’s what drivers should do when encountering a protest on highway - Click Orlando
  • A template to guide your strategy via the Trucking Association of New York: 
    • Plan for road closures.
    • Remain in continuous communication with the delivery location to stay on top of the most current and timely conditions.
    • Plan ahead to park in a safe location outside the area and secure the truck.
    • Drivers should keep their company posted and updated as they travel on both their situation and the conditions of the roadway for other drivers.
    • Carriers should know where drivers are at all times.
    • What the driver is observing may be different than what a dispatcher is seeing on a computer screen. Communication is key.
    • Drivers and carriers should utilize all technology available to them.

Updates from State Associations: 

Navigating Tough Conversations

 

This is an ongoing situation. WorkHound will stay on top of conditions to guide drivers to safety and will update this list of resources as new information is available. 

If you are with a company interested in understanding how to improve your company’s culture and ability to communicate with drivers, let us know here.

If you are media with interest in seeking specific information as it relates to driver feedback, please contact: info@workhound.com


change

Are Trucking Industry Changes Here for the Long Haul?

Everything is changing. It's an important question: ARE trucking industry changes here for the long haul?

As the world is different now than it was three months ago, we're looking ahead to understand how the trucking industry will continue to change. WorkHound invited trucking industry innovators to share how they're tackling these uncertain times head-on. Today we’re sharing the answers to some of the top questions from the webinar.

To watch the full webinar click here.

It’s a broad question, but how will the trucking industry be reshaped? 

Rebecca Brewster, President & COO at ATRI: It is a broad question, but do I think we have some clear indicators of what we can expect going forward. The ATRI research has documented data throughout this time that will help the industry going forward. 

One of the things from our survey with OOIDA, where we had over 5,000 respondents, was the number of fleets that were not prepared for a situation like this. I don’t think any of us could have imagined the scope of this pandemic, but in our survey, 80% of respondents who were either owner-operator or small fleets didn’t have any sort of business continuity plan in place to be prepared for what has been a significant change in operation. Going forward it would behoove everyone in the industry to reflect on what has changed and how we can use that insight in the future. 

Jackie Giefer, Director of Operations, Bay & Bay Transportation: There will be more paperless ways to do business. Less personnel and driver interactions with customer and warehouse. On the sales and office side, more virtual meetings. I’m hoping for more parking for drivers. It was definitely a fast-moving change for all of us, but I believe positives will come out of it. We had to catapult our technology resources. We were considering ways to improve our technology offerings, but due to the pandemic, we had to make the decision quickly, for both communication and orientation. 

Mark Walker, Chairman and CEO at TransLand: It’s an exciting time for the industry. Out of every crisis situation comes wonderful opportunities for innovation. So much of it lies in our human resources innovation in how we utilize our most valuable resource and that’s our people. Technology is certainly helping do that in multiple ways. Remote working is going to improve the number of days available for workers to work. Less sick time for moms and dads. The words “agility” and “resiliency” come to mind. We had to turn on a dime and all of a sudden we had laptops available for everyone to work from home. The culture of our company matters and we’ll continue to evaluate how much of our culture we need to keep. 

How will company culture evolve? 

Giefer: The culture at Bay & Bay has always been family-oriented, and this has made Bay & Bay even tighter. Drivers are leaning on Bay & Bay everyday. They don’t have the same contact at truck stops they once had with one another so now they’re calling the company even more frequently. It’s become even more important to stay in touch with drivers and WorkHound has been helpful in that and staying on top of concerns. We’re certainly pulling together as one big family. 

We have about 85% of folks working from home. Most of the upper management stayed in the office. Those that are working from home have been successful thanks to our IT department. They’ve grown accustomed to it and have become more effective. Personally I think those who are at home are more at ease and so when driver managers are talking to drivers, it’s more soothing. 

Walker: Greatest productivity gain has been in orientation. We’ve gone from a 2.5-3 day orientation to 1.5 days, and we’ve moved parts of the orientation to video. Drivers do still come into the office, but we’re able to socially distance. We’ve also transitioned to a high-tech, high touch strategy. 

What are some of the other ways that you see the responsibilities in this industry changing? 

Brewster: Events have come to a halt. As an industry, we’ve figured out ways to communicate and network completely virtually. You can’t completely take away the value of in-person events and conducting things virtually. There’s a cost-savings in not spending money on travel. There’s a whole host of positives in becoming virtual. But drivers still have to remain in-person contact and so, carriers are finding additional ways to allow the in-person contact with protection and distance.

How do you see other industries evolving because of this? 

Brewster: The whole supply chain has been impacted by this. Trucking companies will see changes on their customer side as well. Again, one of those silver linings I talked about is the positive light that’s been shown on the trucking industry, particularly our professional drivers and how valuable they are to society. So I think our interactions with our customers are not only going to change on our side, but I think there’s going to be a change on the customer side with better treatment for drivers, like limiting delays and detention. 

Giefer: You can go to the doctor on skype now. The food industry: restaurants, people and wait staff. Travel industry: I had to fly recently and there were only about 10 people on the plane. Everyone is impacted by this. I do believe we’re going to see positive from this though.

Walker: We’re ordering our groceries from instacart on occasion. Last-mile delivery is a huge part of our industry, but I think it's going to accelerate as consumers choose to utilize and get value-add from it. How we choose to receive goods as consumers is going to impact manufacturers and distributors and all sorts of things. Commercial real estate is going to change. I’m worried about what we’re going to do with all of the public office space when our office home becomes the new normal.

Brewster: One last thing to add, trucking isn’t an industry that you have to worry about getting laid off or furloughed and it keeps on trucking throughout the pandemic. So I do hope that as people are looking for work opportunities they consider trucking as a valuable, sustainable career.

What resources have been helpful to you throughout the pandemic? 

Walker: The SBA, PPP Program. What a tremendous resource it has been to provide a safety net. It’s helped us provide a hybrid of a guaranteed pay program and that’s been invaluable in helping our drivers sentiment toward TransLand. I am just blown away by the commitment, loyalty and passion for the work drivers do for America. Additionally, we’re continuing to become more high-tech, but we’re cautious to avoid becoming too high tech and remaining high touch. 

Rebecca: People have been the best resource for us. Increased participation in our research. 

How are you handling the nationwide protests when it comes to driver safety? 

Walker: I’m grateful we received this question because I think the DNA of our country is really on display with how we deal with this. Communication is critical. When you’re in transformation or a crisis you have to over-communicate. And you do that best by stopping talking and listening more. We have to listen with empathy. As leaders in this industry, we really have to understand where our drivers are coming from and then we have to reinforce the core values that all of our companies are built on. A key core value is safety. There isn’t one load of cargo that’s more valuable than driver safety. We’ll be reinforcing that a lot and continuing to over-communicate and over listen. 

I look at this the same as when COVID-19 began. We're getting the same questions and the same overall anxiety about personal safety. It was Day 2 and our drivers asked “what is TransLand going to do for us if I’m 1000 miles away from my family?” They just wanted to know that we’re going to take care of them. And we’re going to do whatever it takes to help drivers get home safely. I think that’s what we all would do, but you have to say it, intentionally, to provide trust. 

Rebecca: State organizations are providing the latest information about road closures or whatever the case may be to their drivers. That’s where you really see the value of an association membership. Since COVID-19 began, the ATA has had a detailed website available with the latest information and state associations have been pushing that out. This week in particular I’ve seen a wealth of information being shared to help provide the latest insights. 

If you have any additional questions following the June 3 webinar, reach out to our team of experts. We’re glad to discuss and share our insights with you.


mental health worker

Why Mental Health for Essential Workers Matters

The risk of experiencing mental illness as an essential worker is high — leaving many workers debilitated, unsafe while operating equipment, burnt out, or with suicidal tendencies. If left untreated, mental illness can pose significant threats to more parties than just the worker. Other workers, customers, clients, the machinery, and even the product are at risk as well. The damage in these circumstances is astronomical for everyone involved. But these aren't the only reasons why mental health for essential workers matters.

Strap In for the Long Run

As a company, you can help steer your staff to safety. Putting resources in place to help protect your workers is not only responsible, but it’s also smart business. According to estimates from a recent World Health Organization-led study on mental health, depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity.

In addition to safeguarding against damages and inspiring productivity, it’s an employee retention opportunity in a perennially competitive hiring market. You have everything to gain by making your company more amenable to workers — especially in the arena of mental health.

So what are the best ways to take action? Above all else, you want to take time to explore the mental health tools and options available for drivers. But before you swing into problem-solving mode, you need a firm grip on the issue at hand — the stressors, the risks, and the underlying needs that cause them. These insights should form the basis of your approach.

Know the Mind Behind the Wheel

The complexities of life on the road are myriad. The isolation of extended days and time away from family leaves many workers feeling deeply alone. The monotony of daily tasks can be numbing on the one hand, while the dangers of the job can spike anxiety on the other. On top of that, workers like truck drivers often witness a greater number of major accidents than the average person. And some have been in critical accidents themselves. The trauma of these experiences can be particularly damaging to a driver’s stability.

“PTSD is an ongoing risk in the transportation industry,” said Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “Accidents involving injury and death are extremely shocking events to witness or experience directly. Drivers may develop obsessive fears or flashbacks while having to remain on the road for prolonged periods of time.”

Another challenge for workers is the amount of time they must spend on the job. This makes maintaining relationships difficult for some. Time spent with family and friends is often inadequate, perpetuating the sense of loneliness many already feel while isolated in their trucks. For some workers, the ripple effects can be far-reaching.

Employers: Reach Out and Listen

As a company, the single most important thing you can do to support workers struggling with mental health is to make a connection.

“Stigmas around the topic of mental health can make it very difficult for workers to admit when they’re struggling, even in 'open door policy' cultures,” said Love. “But when employers proactively and consistently communicate about the issue, workers start realizing they’re not alone in their experiences and are thus more likely to seek help.”

Another way to make employees more comfortable expressing their mental health needs is to provide them with an anonymous way to do so, suggested Love.

“The real-time feedback platform provided by WorkHound is designed to facilitate sensitive conversations like these,” she explained. “It’s also a great way to gain insight into potential changes you can make internally that would better accommodate employees’ mental health needs while making them safer on the job.”

Some of those changes might include:

  • Implementing an emergency phone line that allows workers to call trained professionals for support when they need someone to confide in while on the job
  • Adjusting your insurance policy to provide coverage for remote therapy sessions
  • Providing workers with their schedules far enough in advance so that it’s easier for them to arrange quality time with family and friends
  • Amending your bereavement policy so employees have adequate time to travel for funerals and experience necessary grieving with loved ones
  • Trucking companies can offer the opportunity to bring companions on the road: family, friends, or pets
  • Creating physical spaces that encourage social interaction for workers when they are in the workplace
  • Being more receptive to workers’ needs for time off
  • Allowing truck drivers to use PTO in some of the locations they travel for work or providing a stipend for their vacation time
  • Offer assistance for self-care routines, such as gym memberships, a massage, or even necessary hygiene practices, like a hair cut at a barber

Most importantly, remember to listen closely and be responsive as ever. Workers know what they come up against on the job better than anyone, which makes them excellent partners in tackling this problem. And be sure not to wait to take action or communicate updates. Staff members who reach out with mental health concerns and assume they’re going unacknowledged will take note — and potentially seek employment elsewhere. But when employees feel valued and that their needs are being taken seriously, especially on the topic of health, it makes a real difference. And ultimately, employee safety and company safety always go hand-in-hand.

WorkHound provides an easy-to-use feedback platform that gives employees a voice. If you’re ready to learn how using our tool could improve the feedback culture at your business or organization, talk with an expert today.


logistics

Examining the Feedback Trends: A Look at Logistics

A few months back, before the COVID-19 pandemic, we began a series of blogs honing in on the most common topics of feedback among drivers. While the effects of the pandemic are far from over, now seems like a good time to return to the trends and examine the most common source of feedback — logistics.

The reason it feels pertinent right now is that even as feedback has evolved and taken new shapes during the pandemic, logistics has remained a topic of concern for drivers across the board.

What we’re seeing within the logistics category has changed, but the category itself remains a hot topic. Let’s take a deeper dive into what drivers have to say about the impact of logistics in their day-to-day routines, both now and overall.

Logistics As the Feedback Leader

Logistics overtook equipment in 2019 as the most frequent topic of feedback, regularly accounting for up to 20 percent of driver feedback each month.

But what exactly does “logistics” entail?

In our 2019 driver feedback trends report, the category encompassed everything about the organization of a driver’s work, including scheduling, downtime, planning, and load specifics.

Basically, it’s all the processes involved in executing a driver’s job.

Because the topics within logistics tend to be of extreme importance in getting work done, feedback within this realm is often fairly urgent. Driver satisfaction related to logistics is often lower than that related to other topics, and the feedback is generally less positive.

With that said, though, this category also often provides trucking companies with a lot of constructive feedback — areas in which they can take action to resolve the situation and improve overall.

What Drivers Are Talking About, Logistics-Wise

The bottom line with most feedback is that drivers simply want to get on the road and be working. Anything that stands in the way of that can be a source of logistics feedback.

Common areas of concern include downtime, lost earning potential, slow freight, an inability to reach dispatchers on nights and weekends, disrespectful interaction with dispatchers, a lag in getting situations resolved, and bad information. Drivers want to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible, so information or a lack of clarity around items like addresses or directions, wait times, and policies and procedures can be an impediment to that.

How Logistics Feedback Has Changed During COVID-19

As with most things during the COVID-19 pandemic, driver feedback related to logistics has shifted some. The best way to describe it is that it has sharpened in focus.

Driver feedback about logistics during this time has really honed in on a sense that companies are unprepared for what drivers are facing on the road. They’re looking for reassurance that their company has their best interests in mind and that they’ve planned ahead to ensure drivers have what they need.

This change in focus has even encouraged us to change the way logistics has been analyzed in the latest COVID-19 related analyses — shifting the name from “logistics” to “planning.” 

Overall, regardless of the specific issue at hand, drivers want their companies to be prepared, and they want to know the plan that’s in place. For your business and drivers, this may mean communicating about whether or not drop locations are open, whether routes are clear, whether rest areas are open… The list goes on. 

The bottom line is this: Now more than ever, your drivers want to know you have their best interests at heart and that you’re taking actionable steps to ensure they have what they need to safely get on the road.

Ready to put our feedback tool to work for you? Sign up to talk with an expert to learn how we can help.