Heroes of the Hound: Storey Trucking Company

WorkHound Customer Q&A

When you visit the homepage on Storey Trucking’s website, the company’s philosophy is immediately front and center. The carrier prides itself on being “The Human Side of Trucking.”

In business since 1966, Storey Trucking has long been committed to the people who make the business run. That’s led to decades of growth, increasing from a two-truck organization to a fleet of more than 100 trucks, and continued progress toward a workforce that’s truly valued and satisfied. That workforce includes a much higher than the average community of female truck drivers at a company, a noteworthy accomplishment that we’ve highlighted in a past blog. 

Beth HamiltonSo what drives the company forward?

Beth Hamilton, Business Development at Storey Trucking, offers some insight in our latest Heroes of the Hound interview.  

WorkHound: How has having a feedback tool like WorkHound helped Storey, particularly during the pandemic?

Hamilton: I think, if anything, what I’ve seen is an increase in connectivity. Even though WorkHound is an anonymous platform, it’s helped us really continue to have more dialogue as a company. 

Almost every time a driver provides us feedback on WorkHound, they reveal themselves and then turn around and call us to tell us what they shared. To me, that speaks volumes to the level of trust they have, not only in the platform, but also in us as a staff — that we’re going to treat that feedback with respect and address it with care.

This is a tool that’s allowed us to have way more transparent conversations with our drivers, which ultimately builds trust.

WorkHound: What makes Storey Trucking so unique? 

Hamilton: Around 35 percent of our drivers are women. We have a lot of team drivers, and a lot of those are husband and wife teams or team partners who come from the same household. 

That speaks volumes to me. We’re able to gain a level of trust with two people who are earning for the same household. 

Our retention rate right now for this year is 70 percent. Put another way, we’re on pace to retain 70 percent of our drivers this year, which is incredible. Our retention numbers, compared to the average with other over-the-road carriers, are quite high. 

WorkHound: What would you say is the reason Storey has such success in the industry?

Hamilton: I think there are several things we’re doing to help move that needle in a positive direction, and a lot of these spawned out of feedback we received through WorkHound.

We have a driver committee that represents every driver and every position we have. There’s a meeting every month, where drivers get to bring us concerns and issues they’re seeing. We’re able to bring staff into those meetings, as well, so we build relationships.

Something else we’re doing: When we onboard drivers now, we have a “goals” segment, where we spend a lot more time interacting with the driver on a personal level. We talk through personal and professional goals, preferred schedules, and a number of other factors. 

We invest a lot of time on the front end to make sure we meet their expectations and that they meet ours.

WorkHound: What is Storey’s vision as we move forward into 2021 and beyond?

Hamilton: In order to answer that, we have to look backward first. We feel extremely fortunate that we’re not sitting right now with empty trucks. 

In this last year and a half, we’ve not only maintained our fleet size, but we’ve also had a net increase in drivers. We’re really proud of that. It’s an indicator to us that we’re doing something right, that we’re using the tools we have access to — WorkHound included — to make that happen.

But the last thing we’re going to do is let our foot off that gas pedal. We’re going to continue to put our focus and emphasis on the people. We’re not in growth mode for the sake of growth. What we consider growth is a better alignment with people and better satisfaction, which leads to better productivity and higher retention rates. 

When we look at growth, it’s not necessarily about growing fleet size. Our growth is going to be internal. Are we going to grow in our relationships with drivers? Are we going to grow in making it a better experience? Are we going to grow in giving anybody who chooses to work with Storey the best work/life balance possible? That’s where our growth initiative is over the next year.

Storey Trucking is part of a community of carriers that utilize continuous and anonymous driver feedback to help understand areas of priority and praise for their essential workforce. Want to put this into action for your company? Reach out to WorkHound today to talk with an expert.

why truck driver shortage

Why is There a Truck Driver Shortage?

There are a lot of reasons for the driver shortage. Some of it is generational and much of it has to do with unfavorable working conditions for drivers. In this post, we’ll discuss why the driver shortage is happening and what trucking companies can do about it.

3 Major Causes Of The Shortage

1. High Driver Turnover 

With a 92% driver turnover rate for large truckload carriers, trucking continues to see excessive shifts of drivers from company to company and from trucking to other industries. High turnover rates are caused by many underlying issues like low pay, poor work-life balance, inaccurate information and a lack of communication. These issues can be resolved if companies take the appropriate steps to do so, but without this, driver turnover rates continue to soar, leading to the current driver shortage.

2. Truck Driver Lifestyle

Being away from home for too many days and spending long, drawn-out hours on the road is characteristic of the truck driver lifestyle. Adapting to excessively long routes and few breaks leads to a very difficult life on the road. This prevents new, potential drivers from entering the industry, and causes many to leave.

3. Demographics Issues

One of the major factors contributing to the current truck driver shortage is related to age and gender. The majority of truck drivers are over 45-year old males, which is one of the generational issues at work in the trucking industry. The age to obtain a CDL license is 21 years old, but not many in the younger generation opt for a career in trucking due to unfavorable and unattractive working conditions. 

4 Actionable Steps To Help Solve The Shortage

  1. Increase Driver Pay: It’s true that it’s not “all about the money”, and there are many other issues that affect drivers, both preventing potential drivers from entering the industry and forcing your current drivers to seek employment elsewhere. However, increasing your driver’s wages and implementing a fairer pay scale remains one of the steps you can take as a company to address the shortage.
  2. Communicate To Find Out What Your Drivers Need: There’s so much that communication with your drivers can produce. From quickly resolving prevalent issues to building loyalty, taking the time and effort to establish open feedback channels can reap great results.
  3. Target Other Demographics In Recruiting Efforts: Shifting the focus of recruiting efforts to the younger generation is a wise choice for every trucking company to make. It will give you a headstart on understanding the new group of people who would potentially make up the future generation of truckers and shape your company culture and benefits packages to appeal to them.
  4. Invest In A Retention Program: Investing to keep your current employees is an important step to address the shortage, but the benefits of a retention program don’t stop there. Knowing what your current employees need and making changes based on them will attract new drivers, as your current drivers are bound to refer others. 

Let a feedback program become a communication bridge for your company's efforts to understand why the truck driver shortage is happening.  Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!

identifying at-risk driver

The Culture of Work for Truck Drivers Is Changing

Rapid and distinct shifts are taking place at work as we ride the roller coasters of the past couple of years.

In the past, the amount of time a car sat in the parking lot was often intricately tied to his or her value. Employees and employers alike saw long hours on the job as a badge of pride, a sign that they were dedicated and worthy of respect.

These days, though, we’re more likely to view long hours and blurred work/life boundaries as signs of potential burnout. In recent decades, researchers have gained a greater understanding of the conditions that make us more productive as employees for the bottom line (hint: long hours are not involved) and the things that do not.

And as a whole, younger generations of employees and their employers have used that knowledge to fuel a new culture around work — one where your value is not tied to the hours you’re putting in.

The Culture Shift at Work in Another Industry

To see this shift — and the perils of not evolving alongside it — look no further than the current state of the restaurant industry, particularly in fast food. 

Faced with widespread layoffs last year, employees in that industry have chosen in mass numbers to look for other work as they reenter the workforce. 

What are they looking for? Opportunities that require fewer hours, have better benefits, and value employees for the quality of their work, not the quantity of it.

How the Culture of Trucking Is Changing

Hiring, by nature, goes in cycles. In nearly every industry, companies face shortages and enhanced hiring needs when older generations age out of the workforce and new ones enter it.

The trucking industry is no exception. As we look to fill a massive need for professional drivers over the next decade — with estimates showing more than 1 million hires needed — trucking carriers have to evolve their hiring practices and their cultures to better meet the needs of younger drivers.

This requires hitting a reset button on how work is viewed and how employees are valued, as well as taking a thoughtful look at benefits related to time off the road and more.

“We are seeing companies allow drivers flex time and finding ways to get drivers home, or at least have a better schedule for time off,” says Max Farrell, CEO & Co-Founder at WorkHound. “Many drivers get only a 34-hour reset, which is what’s required. That’s the status quo for drivers of older generations. But in order for the industry to adapt for future generations, they’re going to have to reevaluate how time off works.”

To maintain their physical and mental health and well-being, drivers need meaningful time off.

“There’s an assumption that because the work drivers do is done sitting down, they’re resting,” Farrell says. “But that’s not true. Drivers need a ‘weekend,’ even if it’s not Saturday and Sunday. They need time off between drives, and they also need paid time off.” 

There are a lot of factors that play into the discussion around time off for trucking companies, but it’s an essential conversation to have.

“Paid time off still isn’t common in trucking, but companies are beginning to become more accommodating,” Farrell says. “Drivers historically haven’t had a lot of autonomy in general over their time off, and securing PTO has been fairly convoluted. When drivers don’t get paid time off, they don’t take time off, which creates a culture of diminished productivity and negatively impacts wellness.”

On the flip side, it’s also important for companies to take downtime into consideration. Truck drivers are often forced to take time off the road to handle work-related tasks that they aren’t typically compensated for — but fortunately, that’s changing.

“Companies are making pay changes that accurately compensate for the work that drivers are doing, not just when the wheels are turning,” Farrell says. “There are a lot of previously uncompensated duties that companies are now figuring out how to pay for.”

Opening Up the Lines of Communication

As our view of work evolves and less focus is paid to the “long hours = value” mindset, there’s another important piece of the culture change to keep in mind.

From years of gathering feedback from drivers, we know that they feel valued and respected when they’re given the chance to share their thoughts and concerns with their employers. Trust is built through open conversation — and action taken based on those conversations.

Implementing a feedback program is an important piece of the puzzle that allows drivers to speak up whenever and wherever they need to.

“Trucking as a whole tends to rely on open-door policies to encourage drivers to come in and talk,” Farrell says. “We know that simply doesn’t work. Drivers may never make it to the facility to get to the door.”

That’s where WorkHound comes in, providing the “open door” your drivers need, whether they’re miles away or close to home. It’s a simple solution with big results.

“The most successful companies are now finding new ways to build communication bridges across their organizations,” Farrell says. “At WorkHound, we love helping companies find out what their workers really need and how to adapt to rapidly changing landscapes all across the trucking industry.” 

Let a feedback program become a communication bridge for your company. Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!

Making Professional Driver Jobs More Attractive

How to Make Professional Driver Jobs More Attractive

If you had to use one word to describe the state of work in the United States in 2020 and early 2021, what would you say? For us, it would be “change.” 

As the COVID-19 pandemic took over in March 2020 and in the year to follow, we witnessed changes of all sorts in the American workforce. There were unprecedented levels of unemployment (at least in the post-Depression era), a wholesale move from offices and other communal workspaces to remote work in the home, and ultimately, a good number of people looking for a new career path.

The “why” behind looking for new work varies quite a bit. While you have many people who were forced into seeking new employment after a layoff, there were also many other people who took the opportunity to reassess their work and whether it was the right path forward.

As businesses gear back up for post-pandemic life, they’re looking to fill open positions. While hiring and retaining the best of the best for your workforce can already be tough, employees today have more options to exit than ever with plenty of companies hiring quickly in nearly every industry.

That has created a job search experience that’s somewhat similar to the seller’s market we’re seeing in real estate: Potential employees, especially if they’re exceptional prospects, can essentially name their price.

How can you position your employment opportunity ahead of the competition? Read on as we offer up some insights from other industries, along with our thoughts about how to stand out as a trucking company.

A Look at What Other Industries Are Doing

If you do a quick search online for work perks, you’ll be met with a glut of information. Some of the ideas for amenities and benefits are fairly common these days — such as compensation to cover the cost of commutes or catered lunches in the office — while others are a little more “out there.”

In the tech space, for example, you’ll find a lot of ideas that are way outside the box, such as onsite acupuncture or nap pods built into the office (at the time of this blog’s publication, WorkHound employees haven't requested acupuncture or nap pods as an employee perk. They are, however, big fans of a strong culture of transparency and trust). 

We’ve also found companies in a wide range of industries trying other strategies to make their job openings more appealing — in some cases, changing up job titles to make them sound more fun and exciting or powerful.

But as interesting as these ideas may be, are they really an effective way to capture the attention of potential employees? And specifically, would they actually work in trucking?

“Adding fancy amenities has become far more commonplace over the past few years, particularly in industries outside trucking,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “That’s nice, but at the end of the day, we know that professional drivers -- and employees of other industries, for that matter -- want to be respected for their abilities and their contributions.”

What Trucking Carriers Can Do

It’s no secret that the trucking industry is facing a driver shortage, and in good part, that’s due to older drivers aging out of the industry. We also saw a number of drivers who previously planned to stay in the industry reconsidering their options in 2020, and many of them have chosen to leave the workforce.

A pre-pandemic report from the American Trucking Associations found that the trucking industry will need to hire 1.1 million new drivers in the next 10 years, with 54 percent of that number being tied to retirements. That means that not only are trucking companies looking to hire — they’re looking to attract the attention of a new generation of drivers, who have different needs and wants.

“The trucking industry is having to rapidly change because of market demands and because work is evolving,” Love says. “The status quo is a death sentence. If companies don’t look for new ways to innovate, new ways to capture a younger generation of drivers, they’ll fall behind.”

So — how do you capture that younger audience? As your company looks to hire and retain truck drivers, one key way to entice new drivers is to put them in the driver’s seat of their careers.

“Some of how companies sell truck-driving to potential employees is aesthetics,” Love says. “You can say ‘you’re getting paid to travel, you have autonomy over your career,’ etc. But these messages have to be honest. Drivers are also looking for flexibility. Home time is one thing, but what drivers are typically communicating is a desire for general flexibility for life outside of the truck, which can look different for each individual.”

Strike the right note with potential hires by offering up benefits related to home time, paid time off, companions while on the road, and other specifics that give younger drivers the work/life balance they’re looking for.

There’s also a bigger-picture way of reaching the younger generation of employees: offering up honest insight about the potential impact they can have on the lives of others.

“We’ve seen a lot more companies, particularly in the last year, that are empowering drivers to know that they’re a part of something bigger than themselves,” Love says. “They want drivers to know they’re doing something really valuable for themselves, their communities, and ultimately, our country. Knowing you have the ability to make an impact can make a big difference in a person’s job satisfaction.”

Lastly, we know that drivers want to be retained. Starting a new job is a tough personal transition, so if your company has an excellent retention reputation and you intend to keep a new recruit for the long haul, let it be known. If your retention reputation could use some work, we know where to start.

Ready to put a feedback tool to work for your company? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!

fort transfer truck

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.

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.

instant driver feedback

When Instant Driver Feedback Saves the Day — and What Would Happen Without It

When we talk about instant driver feedback, we most often talk about the benefits of gathering feedback from professional drivers, both for trucking carriers and for the drivers themselves. But have you ever stopped to consider the reverse — what would happen if some pieces of critical feedback weren’t shared?

Today, we’re discussing a few of our most common topics of feedback — along with what might happen if you weren’t made aware of problems as drivers are experiencing them.

Urgent Driver Feedback: Pay Confusion 

It probably goes without saying that issues related to pay are common concerns brought up through WorkHound. In particular, we often hear comments essentially saying, “I didn’t get paid what I was supposed to.”

This type of feedback may be the result of any number of factors, from sheer confusion about how pay is structured to a lack of communication about pay, or even problems that disrupt a driver’s schedule.

What Would Happen if You Didn't Find Out? 

If you never heard from drivers about their frustrations and concerns related to pay, what would happen? Turnover and retention would become significant problems.

“When it comes to pay, drivers equate being paid appropriately and as they expected with respect,” says Max Farrell, CEO & Co-Founder at WorkHound. “If drivers feel disrespected or overlooked when it comes to their pay, it’s much easier for a recruiter from another company to poach them.”

How Do Carriers Who Use WorkHound Respond? 

When a driver uses WorkHound to share frustration about pay, it can be considered a cry for help. That driver is giving the company an opportunity to fix the situation — to make the pay structure clearer or to ensure the driver is getting the pay he or she is expecting.

When companies using WorkHound receive this type of feedback, they typically respond in multiple ways: The first is to reach out individually to a driver and ask the driver to reveal his or her identity so that they can discuss specific concerns. Beyond that, many companies also take instant driver feedback related to pay into a “bigger picture” consideration. This may involve making expectations and processes related to pay clearer during the hiring process and during onboarding and training.

Urgent Driver Feedback: Equipment Maintenance Needs 

Equipment is another common area of frustration for drivers, but perhaps not for the reason you might think. While drivers want to have safe equipment, their primary focus is surrounding what it takes to stay on the road.

Drivers also share concerns related to equipment that’s old or in need of repair, as well as having the tools and resources they need, such as PPE when necessary during the pandemic.

What Would Happen if You Didn't Find Out?

This depends on the nature of the feedback. If drivers are sharing concerns that their equipment is in need of repair, that’s a potential safety hazard. But when drivers are sharing frustrations that they’ll be forced off the road, the real pain point circles back to pay.

“We often see this type of feedback come in when drivers are experiencing downtime during vehicle maintenance or repair work,” Farrell says. “These situations make it much easier for recruiters from other carriers to take advantage of drivers, and in some extreme cases, drivers may even abandon their truck on the side of the road to go drive for another carrier.”

How Do Carriers Who Use WorkHound Respond? 

When drivers share feedback related to equipment, companies have to respond fast. The action that carriers take has to encompass two distinct concerns: First, vehicle maintenance or repair and, second, compensation for time spent off the road.

Companies approach these concerns in different ways, but it’s always a good idea to implement tools and programs that make scheduling maintenance seamless for drivers. From a compensation perspective, it’s also worth considering benefits that allow for pay when downtime is required.

Urgent Driver Feedback: Problems With People

People problems aren’t specific to trucking, but they are pervasive within the industry. Many drivers have past experience with carriers where their expertise and professional skills weren’t valued. Even when they are respected at their current company, they may be dealing with residual effects from the past.

“We get a good deal of feedback from drivers about negative interactions they’ve had with office personnel, such as dispatchers or accounting,” Farrell says. “Specifically, the subtext is that a company might perceive the office workers as being ‘higher-ranking,’ which devalues the role that drivers play.”

What Would Happen if You Didn't Find Out? 

There’s a saying that “people don’t quit companies, they quit people.” That’s absolutely true, and frustrations related to fellow employees push many drivers to seek alternative employment. 

“When drivers don’t feel like they can sit down and have an honest conversation or don’t feel supported by their current company, they can buddy up pretty easily with a nice recruiter,” Farrell says. “If they don’t share this feedback with your company, it’s likely they will share it with their peers or other companies.”

How Do Carriers Who Use WorkHound Respond? 

When it comes to “people problems,” companies implement a variety of strategies. The most effective strategies implement efforts that begin during onboarding — demonstrating and building a mutual level of respect and trust between drivers and others within the organization.

It’s also important to build a company culture where feedback is welcomed and acted upon. In individual situations that arise, drivers may be asked to reveal their identity to share more details about problems. This allows carriers to develop specific strategies and practices to help overcome a problem internally.

What All This Feedback Has in Common

If you’ve read this far, one thing is probably clear: When you don’t give drivers a way to share feedback, driver turnover is often the ultimate result.

While it may seem like soliciting feedback from drivers opens a company up to negatives, the opposite is actually true. Not asking for or receiving feedback is when the truly negative situations begin to unfold.

Ready to let feedback save the day for your company? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!

How the Driver Shortage

How the Driver Shortage Affects Consumers & How Companies Can Limit the Impact

If you’ve turned on the news recently or picked up a newspaper, you’ve probably heard about the shortage of truck drivers. Why is it big news these days?

Well, most specifically, you probably heard about the truck driver shortage in conjunction with the recent ransomware attack on and shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. Most of us only had a peripheral knowledge of this pipeline prior to the shutdown, but it’s responsible for carrying 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel per day to locations across the East Coast. By some estimates, that’s almost 50 percent of the fuel used on this side of the country.

When it shut down, its disruption drew a lot of attention. Consumers worried about when and how to get the gas they needed for their cars, and airlines worried about getting jet fuel to fly their planes across the country and around the world. 

Gas stations were left wondering how to get the gasoline they needed to keep the pumps going until the pipeline was turned back on — and that’s where truck drivers entered the conversation. 

Instead of having convenient access points where gas could be obtained and transported from, truck drivers now needed to travel further to get to the gas in the first place. And on top of that, there simply aren’t enough drivers to go around.

That left gas stations without gasoline and frustrated consumers dealing with empty tanks and higher gas prices. 

Now consider this: That’s only one example of how a truck driver shortage compounds problems with supply and affects consumers. Today, we’re exploring the impact of the shortage in even more depth.

The Consumer Impact of a Driver Shortage

It’s a harsh truth, but most people have little understanding or concern about a big-picture concept like a driver shortage until it impacts their lives in some way.

Many Americans simply don’t consider the role truck drivers play in keeping America running. While that changed some during the pandemic, as the light was shined on the essential role truck drivers play, there’s still not a great understanding of just how important drivers are.

So: Just how important are they? Without truck drivers, this scenario would unfold:

  • Within 24 hours, mail and package delivery would come to a halt.
  • Within two to three days, fresh food would begin to disappear from grocery stores and restaurants. Banks would begin to run out of cash. Toilet paper and other dry goods would be nowhere to be found.
  • Within a week, a lack of fuel would keep cars off the road, including first responders.

Whew! That’s a lot to think about, right?! Nearly 70 percent of all freight moved across the United States is done by truck, so when there aren’t enough drivers, things stop moving — and everyone is impacted. 

To drive this even closer to home: How many times in the last year have you experienced shipping challenges with an item you ordered to be delivered to your home? 

How Trucking Carriers Can Help

The trucking industry has long been known as an industry plagued by rapid turnover. That trend accelerated during the pandemic, as hard conditions and overall stress led many drivers to reconsider their work and whether they wanted to pursue a different career.

With that said, though, trucking companies can improve retention and lessen the potential impact of a shortage on consumers. And with the high cost of turnover, it benefits carriers to focus in these areas.

First and foremost, treat your drivers as truly essential, and give them an outlet to share feedback and concerns. Partnering with WorkHound to offer a continuous feedback mechanism is a great way to accomplish this goal. By allowing your drivers the opportunity to quickly provide insights and ask questions, you’re giving them an easily accessible outlet to gain much-needed assistance, even from afar.

The next step? Turn that feedback into action. This translates into mutual trust and respect. In the long run, that’s how turnover is minimized and it’s why drivers stick around. Simple, right?

Drivers are vitally important — not only to your company, but to our country and our world as a whole. They merit respect from every level of your organization, at every point during their employment.

At WorkHound, helping carriers keep high-quality drivers happy is our specialty. We’d love the chance to see how we might help your company minimize turnover and contribute toward improving the industry-wide driver shortage. 

Looking to gain insights into what your drivers need and want? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!

Make your Driver's day

How to Make your Driver's Day: Things We Know Drivers Love

When leaders at many businesses think about feedback from their employees, their minds naturally leap to the negative. But the reality is, when you open a continuous feedback loop and empower your employees to share their thoughts and needs, you’re also going to hear a lot of positive feedback about how to make your driver's day.

Over the years, we’ve seen thousands of pieces of feedback, and we regularly analyze what drivers are saying from a “big picture” perspective, allowing us to get a good gauge of drivers across the industry and their needs.

And if we’re honest, there’s a lot to love! We see some very positive feedback from drivers, particularly as they engage with WorkHound as a tool and learn to trust their companies.

So, how can you make your driver's day? Read on as we offer you some perspective!

The Positive Side of Things

If you’ve looked at our trends reports at any time, you’ve probably seen that we talk a good bit about whether feedback in a certain category skews positively. From the data we gather, we know that drivers have a lot of good things to say about topics in certain categories.

“We receive great positive feedback about people,” says Katherine Vanderford, Director of Customer Success at WorkHound. “When a member of the company really saves the day or makes something really easy for a driver, they are really quick to call that out. Shoutouts to anyone who helps a driver out are really common.”

In addition to receiving positive feedback related to people, there’s also a good bit of positivity shared when a company itself steps up

“Adjacent to people doing good things, we also get positive feedback when expectations are met for your drivers,” Vanderford says. “When drivers are promised something and that expectation was met or the company went above and beyond to make your driver's day, they are always willing to give the company credit.”

Exceeded expectations are a common theme for feedback right now, actually. The busy spring season has drivers asking for — and receiving — home time with family.

“We’re hearing a lot of feedback lately about drivers who want to get home for graduations or open houses to end the school year,” Vanderford says. “When a driver asks for that time and then the company makes sure that they get it, it means a lot to the driver. That’s because in the industry as a whole, drivers historically haven’t often been able to make it to those types of life events. The companies who make good on their promises really stand out to drivers.”

What Drivers Love

Beyond these overarching categories that tend to elicit positive feedback, there are also some specific programs or benefits that enhance driver happiness. Compensatory pay programs, for one.

“Pay programs that compensate drivers for non-driving time really improve driver loyalty,” Vanderford says. “When drivers are stuck with a customer, held up for truck maintenance, or if they have to do training, a lot of companies don’t compensate drivers for that time, despite being required parts of the job. Paying drivers for that time and understanding that their time is valuable is important.”

Additionally, drivers shine (and offer up praise) when they’re treated with respect.

“The things that drivers appreciate are very foundational,” Vanderford says. “It’s about having healthcare coverage that’s consistent and reliable that also allows them to take care of their loved ones. It’s about having reliable and consistent work. It’s about having access to retirement benefits, which are relatively uncommon in trucking.” 

Ultimately, every driver has unique and distinct needs — different things that make him or her happy. But being treated as essential is an important step in the right direction.

“At the end of the day, drivers like being treated as the professionals they are,” Vanderford says. “It’s not about their job title or uniform; it’s about how your company culture behaves toward them. It’s about supporting and embracing drivers and their professional careers.”

Ready to find out what your drivers love? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!

Where things stand with truck drivers

Where Things Stand With Truck Drivers & the COVID-19 Vaccine

About two months ago, we wrote a blog that talked about how the COVID-19 pandemic drove change within the trucking industry and how it impacted feedback. Tucked in the bottom of that blog, we mentioned that one topic of feedback that had begun to emerge was how/when/where things stand with truck drivers & the COVID-19 vaccine.

Needless to say, two months later, that’s still a hot topic. As more Americans gain access to the vaccine, drivers and companies alike wonder how to handle vaccination. 

Let’s take a dive into where vaccination stands in the United States, as well as how trucking companies can handle the hows and whys of getting drivers vaccinated.

The State of COVID-19 Vaccinations

Since we last talked about this topic in mid-March, the vaccination process quickly accelerated. At that time, different areas of the country were prioritizing different groups of people for vaccination access. Some states were already vaccinating most adults, while others were still only offering access to those who were age 65 and older.

On the day our blog was published in March, the White House announced that all states, tribes, and territories should make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1. Within a couple of weeks, that timeline had been pushed up, encouraging all states to reach that marker by April 19.

At this point, everyone in the United States age 16 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of where they’re based within the country. As of the beginning of May, nearly 30 percent of American adults have been vaccinated. 

What Truck Drivers Say About the COVID-19 Vaccine

While a large part of the American population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, there are many people still confused or uncertain about how to get the vaccine.

Even though there are many organizations offering vaccination, there are also many different systems for locating a vaccine distribution site and obtaining an appointment. The issue of obtaining the vaccine is even more complex for truck drivers, who are in the unique scenario of being on the road for the majority of the time.

Because of that, truck driver feedback related to the vaccine generally expresses uncertainty around how to take off time to be vaccinated, as well as how to get a vaccine appointment or otherwise access the vaccine in the first place.

Trucking companies can play a role in helping drivers overcome those barriers.

“As far as the vaccine goes, there’s lots of confusion and concern from drivers about how to gain access to it or simply gain the permission to take the time to get it,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “Even though more vaccine centers are opening up and appointments are open, drivers don’t know when and how they’ll be able to gain access — and they want carriers to help.”

In some cases, trucking companies have solved that issue by facilitating vaccination clinics on-site at their facilities. But even if your company doesn’t take that step, you can still help drivers get the information and guidance they need.

That may be as simple as pointing drivers toward tools that help locate available vaccine or vaccine appointments. It’s also important to ensure your drivers understand how to get time off to obtain their vaccine.

“We have seen carriers create a policy that helps drivers know exactly where they stand,” Love says. “Being explicit about a vaccine policy works well with helping the drivers know and understand what is needed. Be very firm and clear and confident about what the company is doing, rather than leaving it to drivers to ask the questions.”

Because post-vaccination side effects are fairly common, particularly after the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, it’s also important that your policy outline what to do if time off is needed after a vaccine dose.

“Companies can plan ahead with drivers in case they do have a reaction following their vaccination,” Love says. “Most of us have the ability to take the day off from an office job, but drivers really do not. Trucking companies can also find a way to make taking the day off accessible to drivers, in case they aren’t feeling well after their vaccine.”

While that may seem fairly inconsequential, it isn’t. 

“Whether you call industry-wide driver turnover or a driver shortage, its impact is significant right now,” Love says.Any measure that companies can implement to remind drivers how valuable they are will matter in the long run. One extra day to recover from the vaccine could be all the difference in a long-term partnership.” 

Ready to see how WorkHound works for your business? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!

improve retention

How to Improve Retention

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to improving retention. While driver pay is very important, communication is the key to developing a company-specific strategy to retain your drivers. Here are some ways you can use effective communication to improve retention. 

Create open feedback channels

Not all drivers may be keen to talk to managers on important issues. Creating and maintaining open feedback channels is the first step to improving communication within your company. 

Some simple ways to do this are to set up systems like regular feedback technology, performance reviews, employee newsletters, check-in meetings, calls, social media groups. Remember that the objectives of creating feedback channels are to listen and learn. 

Besides reviews, regularly administering an open-ended survey is important to improve retention. Be sure to inform drivers about the reason for the communication and the possible impact their responses could have. This will encourage honest and detailed feedback, especially when you take quick action and give credit to your drivers for their insights. 

This level of open communication can make drivers feel like actual partners and not just employees. Putting these systems in place would deal with issues as they arise and improve employee satisfaction when such issues are addressed. 

Prioritizing peer input 

By now, it is clear that creating open communication channels will help build a sense of belonging for drivers. A step further in this would be to prioritize peer input. Drivers know what will improve their experience while working with your company, so prioritizing peer input is an important factor to improving driver retention.

Take clear actions based on feedback

It is crucial to incorporate driver feedback into your planning processes and systems. Requesting feedback from drivers through surveys and reviews but making no changes is one way to lose trust and incite disloyalty. 

Once you’ve received insights, turn them into actionable steps and openly communicate on the changes that the feedback received will result in. 

Celebrate driver performance

Drivers who feel appreciated and respected are more likely to stay. Setting milestones and providing rewards when they are met is important to improving retention. Programs like ‘driver of the month’ and social media features will build a sense of belonging which will increase loyalty. 

Also, whenever positive customer reviews are given, be sure these reviews reach your drivers. Building a good company culture of driver appreciation is an important step to improving retention. 

Finally, just listen!

If you are having difficulty retaining your drivers, then it might be that you’re not listening. Improving driver intention is as simple as putting open feedback channels in place and taking action based on the feedback you receive. WorkHound can help you turn driver feedback into actionable insights to move your company forward.

If you're ready to learn about what your drivers aren't communicating with you, give us a call. We're ready to dig into the feedback drivers want to share in order for you to improve retention.