burnout

Danger Ahead: A Look at Burnout in Healthcare

Burnout. We hear the word all the time these days, but do we have a good understanding of what it is — and how it can impact the work we do?

The reality is that most Americans have experienced work-related burnout at one time or another. In fact, a 2018 Gallup survey found that 23 percent of participants reported feeling burned out at work “very often or always,” while another 44 percent feel burned out sometimes.

In most work environments, burnout can lead to a dip in productivity or a negative impact on an employee’s quality of work. But in a healthcare environment, that can translate to a danger to the affected employee, other employees, and patients. 

What Burnout Looks & Feels Like

You may never have identified yourself as having burnout, but you’re likely familiar with what it feels like. Burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.”

Burnout isn’t always related to work — it can sometimes be the result of stress from parenting, taking care of an elderly or sick relative, or a romantic relationship. But work is the most common cause.

If a healthcare worker is experiencing burnout, it may show up in a variety of ways, including physical symptoms:

  • Expressing cynicism or becoming increasingly critical at work
  • Having difficulty motivating his or herself to complete tasks
  • Becoming irritable with coworkers or patients
  • Lacking the energy to be productive
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Not finding satisfaction in work, even if previously successful or enjoyable
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to help cope
  • Having sleep difficulties or changes in routine
  • Dealing with more frequent headaches
  • Having GI issues

Feeling burned out is often the result of stress from one of three major causes in the workplace — unclear or unrealistic expectations, a dysfunctional workplace, or a perceived or real lack of support. Having a diminished work/life balance is also often a factor when burnout develops.

How Burnout Can Impact Safety

Burnout in any job hurts. Burnout as a healthcare staffer can have disastrous consequences.

But it’s also incredibly common. The healthcare environment is filled with potential stressors, including a sometimes-overwhelming pace, intense demands, and a high sense of responsibility. 

All of those stressors add up to an increased risk for burnout, and there’s a demonstrated link between burnout and the risk of medical errors. When employees feel emotionally impacted by the stresses of their work, the number of healthcare-associated infections increases, while patient access to care diminishes.

Beyond having a negative association with patient care, burnout in healthcare workers also greatly increases the danger to the workers themselves, making them more likely to experience depression or suicidal tendencies.

“Burnout causes a compromise in an employee’s quality of work,” says Max Farrell, CEO & Co-Founder at WorkHound. “If healthcare workers are feeling burnout, they are potentially compromising patient safety. Healthcare workers have a responsibility to so many different stakeholders. In an environment of care and with responsibility for lives, there’s no room for compromised care — so it’s essential to ensure the workers themselves are cared for.”

If you believe an employee to be experiencing burnout, it’s important to take action to try and help. Even small gestures can make a big impact.

“Any gesture companies can implement that shows employees how much they’re appreciated and respected — that you have empathy for the work they’re doing — can go really far in helping them overcome burnout,” Farrell says.

A feedback tool like WorkHound can help you keep an eye out for signs of burnout in your healthcare team. Sign up for a free demo to learn how we can help.


safety

How to Improve Safety in Manufacturing

“See something, say something” is no longer an effective way to improve safety in manufacturing, 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 manufacturing? Did you know that employee-driven feedback is often the catalyst in the industry to push innovation and efficiency forward?

In many cases, those changes have their root in feedback from a worker’s vantage point. Maybe a worker on the line mentioned an inefficient way to track employee concerns, or another staff member 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 manufacturing, continual improvement is something we’re always striving for. Tweaks and improvements are especially important when it comes to employee safety within the manufacturing setting.

Employees can often provide insights into deficits within safety guidelines and suggestions on how to improve them. That’s where offering a continual feedback mechanism is so important.

The Dual Channels of Employee Feedback

It’s important to note that there are two overarching categories of feedback within a manufacturing 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 at work, 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 manufacturing settings, where seemingly small issues can turn into significant problems very quickly. 

“I think a lot of manufacturers 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 every industry. During the course of just a few months, the virus spread across the country and created chaos — and a significant burden on the supply chain.

By nature, frontline 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, manufacturers can work not only to improve 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. “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 manufacturing companies are working.

“HR teams are working from home in some cases,” Farrell says. “And even if they’re not, they’re separated from what employees are actually seeing on the floor, as well as the 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 manufacturing company? Sign up for a free consultation to learn how we can help.


technology

Prioritize the Mental Health of the Skilled Workforce

The risk of experiencing mental illness as a frontline 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. Customers, shippers, and equipment 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 frontline 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 your employees. 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 Mask

Many essential jobs take a unique toll on the psyche. Take, for example, a truck driver. 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 worker’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
  • Working against loneliness with policies like allowing companions for truckers
  • 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.

Skilled workers 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 raises the voice of skilled workers. 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.


Open-Door Policy Shuts Out Progress

Implementing an open-door policy sounds like such a good and positive shift in company culture. After all, the intent is that employees are free to share their concerns and needs whenever they want. 

But when it comes to the reality of open-door policies, we’ve found they tend to be better in theory than in practice. In fact, open-door policies for feedback can actually be a hindrance for both employees and their employers.

Let’s examine three main pitfalls of the open-door policy:

  1. It puts the responsibility on the employee.

When a company is touting itself as having an open-door policy, it’s meant to be positive, representing the fact that an employee always has access to a manager or HR representative to share feedback.

But an open-door policy can really be perceived as a negative, particularly by employees who have had negative experiences with similar policies at previous places of employment. That’s because the onus for sharing feedback is on the employee — he or she is required to make an effort to go to the manager and share.

“Saying you have an open-door policy is really lip service to imply your company is a transparent communicator,” says Dick Prall, a former HR Leader, and current Client Development at WorkHound. “But it creates a hierarchy between the worker and the HR person or manager he or she needs to talk to — sort of like being called into the principal’s office, but in reverse.”

In an ideal scenario, an employee could simply walk into an office at any time and meet with a manager. But in many cases, employees don’t feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and perspective in such an environment.

“If a company hasn’t established trust with each worker, an open-door policy just won’t be effective,” Prall says. “And in large companies, building the required level of trust is simply not possible. If you have a company with 1,000 workers and one HR person, you won’t be able to realistically collect the insights of every single worker.”

  1. It doesn’t work in a dispersed workplace.

Now let’s consider what happens to an open-door policy when there are no doors in sight. 

Many workplaces in today’s world are remote or involve workers being on the road. Workforces are often spread out into multiple locations, maybe even in multiple cities. That’s been magnified even further in the last few months as more employees work from home due to COVID-19.

The open-door policy simply doesn’t translate when the “door” is virtual.

“For those in a dispersed environment, like truckers and healthcare workers, an open-door policy is really intangible, because they might not even know where the door is,” Prall says. “During this time, with many workers operating outside of a central location, it’s not even a possibility.” 

  1. It leaves companies waiting on feedback.

Both of the items listed above relate to employees and their needs, but an open-door policy really isn’t a positive for businesses either. Unlike a continuous feedback mechanism that gathers everyday insights from employees, an open-door policy leaves companies without consistent input. That’s a negative for companies and a negative for employees.

“The concept of an open-door policy is a company in waiting — it’s a company that’s not actively seeking what’s important or on the minds of their workers,” Prall says. 

During that waiting period, all sorts of barriers can emerge.

“In theory, an HR director/retention leader is waiting in his or her office for someone to come to the office and talk about problems,” Prall adds. “But realistically, what’s going to happen is that someone will show up and have an issue to discuss, and the HR person may not be equipped or ready to talk through the issue, or the door may be closed. If any of those barriers prevent the worker from sharing, that breaks trust.”

The Better Option
Instead of operating on an open-door policy, use a continuous feedback tool like WorkHound to remove the door altogether.

“A feedback mechanism lets the employees know that a business is seeking feedback and actively looking for ways to improve,” Prall says. “Workers can feel secure in knowing that their feedback can be shared at any time — and that they don’t have to worry about showing up to a door that’s actually closed.”

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


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.


empathy in manufacturing

Empathy is Key in Manufacturing

We’re living in uncertain times right now, and everything can feel unsteady, both in our personal lives and in our work, but when leaders show empathy at work it can make a world of difference. 

For skilled workers in the age of COVID-19 dealing with fear, worry, and uncertainty, the added stress can wreak havoc on their health and well-being. How can your business help alleviate their concerns and remind them they are valued members of your team? Displaying a little empathy is a good place to start.

From analyzing feedback related to COVID-19, we know that workers have questions and concerns related to many aspects of their work and daily lives. Finding real and tangible ways to answer their questions and provide reassurance is crucial  — and how you communicate messages in this time of crisis maybe even more important. The goal here is to make sure that the underlying tone of all your messaging is empathetic and calming. 

But what exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down.

Defining Empathy

First things first: What is empathy? Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

While this seems similar to being “sympathetic,” it’s actually a little different. Having sympathy means that you are able to understand and support someone else with compassion. Empathy takes that one step further — you are actually experiencing and relating to the thoughts and emotions of another person.

The ability to be empathetic is important because it allows you to be more sensitive and understanding about the unique and specific needs of others. This can guide your decisions, as well as inform the ways you work with and talk with other people.

Empathy in the Workplace

Research has shown that the ability to have and display empathy is an important part of effective leadership. Being empathetic with employees often leads to a higher level of satisfaction and improved retention, since it creates a sense of appreciation and trust.

How does that translate to manufacturing companies — and the current times?

When you’re being empathetic, you are truly taking time to consider what your skilled workers are experiencing and using that knowledge to drive your business decisions and interactions. Because the very act of displaying empathy shows workers they are valued, it can help them navigate challenging times and frustrations.

What Empathy Might Look Like in Action

So, you know that empathy is important, but how can you put it into action? Letting empathy guide your actions and messaging doesn’t require grand gestures. Consider these examples:

  • Explain the “why.” Workers are wondering why they’re being required to have their temperature checked when entering new sections of your facility or simply showing up at the beginning of a shift. Empathy is taking time to explain the why behind these and other precautions, relating it to the greater impact it could make, which helps workers understand the necessity of such actions and why they matter.
  • Take time to educate. Workers may be concerned about their retirement accounts as the economy experiences fluctuations and uncertainty. Empathy is emphasizing that you understand these worries while sharing resources where they can obtain more information.
  • Share details about shifts. Workers are concerned that they will arrive at work only to experience a delay or shutdown due to an infection. Empathy is taking these fears and concerns into consideration and enacting processes that help workers feel reassured that their jobs are secure and that they’ll be safe on-the-job.
  • Communicate openly about health and sick leave policies, and be open to adapting. Workers are worried about their own health, some may be in a higher-risk population with chronic health conditions. Empathy is formulating policies about protective measures, health insurance, and sick leave and sharing those resources with workers.

The bottom line is that during this unique time, it’s important to always consider the needs and concerns of workers — whether you’re implementing a change, running the day-to-day operations of your business, or simply communicating with your team. A little empathy can go a long way. 

Wondering about the specific concerns and questions your drivers have? Talk with an expert to learn how we can help.


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.