How worker feedback is the key to recruiting

Companies that start using WorkHound initially expect to only see negative anonymous feedback from workers — and while our data shows that more than 70 percent of employee feedback is negative (and negative feedback is the road map to help make big changes – check out our 2018 trends), that statistic alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

When handled appropriately, even negative feedback can be used to create positive outcomes.

We’ve found that positive feedback comes in small, frequent doses and that the comments are fairly general and less specific than negative comments. “I’m happy here at my company” or “Love my job” are typical of the positive responses we see when employees are prompted by WorkHound to tell us about their workweek. It might be tempting to write these comments off, but they actually provide a useful opportunity for recruitment.

How Does Feedback Help with Recruitment?

Recruitment is one of the biggest issues facing the trucking industry. Drivers often work as contractors, and one bad experience can lead drivers to find a job at another company. Drivers often spend their downtime scanning online job boards, looking for new opportunities or a path away from their current employer.

When a driver leaves a positive comment on WorkHound, companies can use our reach-out tool to thank him or her for that feedback. Management can ask for more specific details to drill down into why employees are happy right now, and even offer them incentives to help spread the word about their positive experiences.

And What About Referrals?

Referrals, another feature of the WorkHound platform, asks drivers to share hiring information with other qualified, experienced professional drivers in their networks — whether it’s a former coworker, family member, or friend. Referrals are sometimes paired with financial incentives for both the person who refers a driver and the person who accepts the opportunity.

The referral process gives companies the chance to replicate a driver’s positive experiences. It helps happy drivers use word-of-mouth reviews to recruit others and grow the company’s fleet — and we’ve found that word gets around between drivers. When their positive experiences become known, recruitment efforts are significantly enhanced. WorkHound customers like Cold Carriers even share referral incentives in their weekly broadcasts. As we say at WorkHound, “a happy driver is the best recruiter.”

A Strategic Partnership

WorkHound meets with companies every week to track feedback, get insight into how they’re taking action in response to negative feedback, and craft broadcast communications to be sent out to the whole workforce. Positive feedback often appears in these communications, as well as in social media content and other promotional materials.

The Bottom Line

Positive feedback shows a company what it’s doing right, but negative comments shouldn’t be seen as a nuisance. Negative feedback shows management what issues it needs to know about: Perhaps the conditions at a terminal aren’t up to a driver’s expectations. Maybe a pay policy is unclear or needs attention. These are issues that should be dealt with promptly.

Conversely, positive feedback can provide a perspective about the conditions, policies, and benefits employees are excited about. This feedback often comes when a company fixes a situation that previously caused stress in the driver’s professional life.

We’ve seen this numerous times in our conversations with companies. When they start using WorkHound, employees quickly tell them what they’re unhappy about. But once companies begin to remedy those issues, drivers intuitively understand that their voices are being heard. A negative situation last month, solved through company or policy changes, can lead to a positive experience the next.

If you’re ready to take an eyes-wide-open approach to employee retention, request a demo today!

WorkHound’s Guide to Taboo Feedback from Professional Drivers

High tensions, divisive opinions, charged sensitives — every company has them. But when conflicts pit employees against leadership, especially on topics like company policy, that’s a bigger issue. When you’re a manager and you’re busy, wading into a problem with no clear alternative can seem risky, especially when it's easier to say "that's just the way it is" without a clear response.

But in a competitive industry like trucking where workers are in short supply, the biggest risk is to ignore the problem, even when their feedback is about something as taboo as pay, speed, or in-cab recording devices.

The better move is to make a big change where it counts.

At WorkHound, we’ve built our business around soliciting driver feedback and taking action on it in real-time. We wanted to share some of the most common concerns our customers hear from their teams, along with recommendations for successful solutions.

Speed Limits vs. Drivers’ Limits

Capping driving speeds below the legal limit is standard practice for companies in the trucking industry. And for many drivers, it’s a standard headache — especially for those who are paid by the mile. Slowdowns on the road inevitably find their way to the driver’s wallet. Add federal drive-time restrictions to the mix, and the frustrations compound. To complicate the problem further, speed caps vary from company to company and some are more lenient than others. Drivers know that, but they don’t always know why.

How to Shift Course: At its core, the speed limit issue is about pay. The fact that speed caps vary from company to company can leave workers skeptical about who the speed caps actually serve. While limits on drive time and other federal regulations are outside your control, your compensation structure isn’t. Consider implementing a system that offsets losses drivers incur due to traffic jams and reduced speed limits, and remember to work with your employees to ensure the changes fairly honor their concerns.

Event Recorders: Good for Who?

Vocations like trucking have long been an oasis for workers who value independence on the job. So it’s not surprising then, that new technologies like event recorders are a common source of resentment among drivers. Thanks to these devices, companies can now monitor everything from truck speed to mechanical error, while also protecting their drivers, all in real time. For employers, electronic recorders are great safeguards against liability. But for drivers, they can feel invasive and adversarial. Allowing discontent over this issue to go unattended can endanger workers’ morale, which is why it’s important to engage drivers’ opinions early and often.

How to Shift Course: Start by rooting out your drivers’ perceptions and misperceptions about event recorders. Workers should know these devices are ultimately meant to protect their safety. They can help discourage practices that put drivers at risk, such as texting and driving or standing up to back in and out of loading zones, rather than trusting the rearview mirror. Electronic recorders can also shed light on common challenges drivers are encountering on the job. These insights inform training priorities and curriculum so workers are safer and better equipped to handle obstacles as they arise. And when accidents do occur, data collected on truck speeds and other variables can help shield drivers from blame and liability.

Pay Grievances: Kick Uncertainty to the Curb

This is a big one. In an industry where worker retention is an ongoing difficulty, the payment system your company employs is consequential. Here’s how chinks in some of the most common systems play out for your workers:

Practical Mileage or Hub Mileage: In practical mileage, drivers are dispatched to drive the most efficient distance between the origin and the destination, thus drivers are paid the dispatched distance rather than the actual distance. For hub mileage, drivers are paid the actual mileage on the truck, including all hours of service miles accrued including stops and reroutes. In either scenario, when a driver is dispatched for only one load a day and the distance is short, so is the pay. If these types of assignments become a pattern, financial planning can become pretty difficult for drivers.

Household Goods Mileage (HHG): HHG miles are calculated and paid out using the shortest distance between two zip codes. Restricting compensation to the distance between departure and destination zones does not account for the mileage traveled within them. And when those ZIP codes encompass large areas, the work-to-earnings ratio can be pretty unfavorable. Adding to that frustration are impractical policies that require workers to take the shortest route possible — even if it includes roads unsuitable for trucks or jammed with traffic.

Percentage Pay: Generally, the system of paying drivers a percentage of profits on individual load deliveries is considered fair and often favorable. But in certain scenarios, it has its drawbacks. When the value of loads drops or fluctuates too frequently, drivers can end up in a financial bind and persistent state of stress.

How to Shift Course: Try implementing the guaranteed compensation system. Each pay period, this model provides qualified drivers with a minimum baseline pay to offset any potential income irregularities that could jeopardize their financial stability. Companies can offer this option as an incentive to workers and potential hires who agree to meet eligibility requirements, such as availability.

To Move Ahead, Talk to Your Workers

Your workforce is the lifeblood of your company. If you want to keep your drivers committed, make them and their concerns a priority. The best way to start is by asking for their feedback.

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

So your company won't change? Here's how to fix it:

Change is hard. No matter how young or old your business is, change can be difficult to accept. Even leaders with the best of intentions learn that a policy change could have a drastically different impact on workers than what was intended during the planning phase.

But at the end of the day, change is an inevitable part of running a successful business. That’s why we wanted to share some of the most common reasons leaders may be reluctant to change, along with tips for seeking out and encouraging change within your organization.

Myth #1: “Old habits die hard.”

The truth: “Old habits die hard, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…” As a culture, we’ve come up with kitschy sayings that excuse our inability to adapt. The reality is that old habits are difficult to break, and new ones can be difficult to learn and implement. But if you’re made aware of an issue that’s affecting your employees’ productivity or workplace satisfaction, you really can’t afford not to address those issues head-on.

Our tip: Successfully implementing new policy is complex. But one way we encourage our clients to think through change is to truly consider how a particular change is going to impact the individuals who will be carrying out the new policy — and then ask them for their input.

“When workers feel they have a voice in new policy decisions, they are far more likely to comply with and have a positive attitude about the changes,” said Katherine Vanderford, Director of Customer Success at WorkHound. “Additionally, if a particular change is the result of feedback you’ve received from your team, let them know that. They’ll feel heard and valued and know that their thoughts and ideas are taken seriously — all of which contribute to a healthier, happier workforce.”

Myth #2: “Change is expensive.”

The truth: As with Myth #1, this reason for avoiding change can be true. But if you think change is expensive, let’s talk about worker turnover.

According to the NSI National Health Care Retention and RN Staffing Report, it costs an average of $52,100 to replace a bedside nurse. Consider a scenario in which a festering issue goes unresolved, and four nurses leave within a month of one another. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses — not to mention the loss of experience and organizational knowledge.

Our tip: If you’re considering the human capital cost of putting time into reworking outdated policy or the sticker price of an internal review or feedback system that could enhance transparency and communication within your organization, we challenge you to compare those costs to employee turnover. (We have a hunch that the cost of change won’t seem quite so exorbitant when considered in this light.)

Myth #3: “Our workers never complain, so they must be happy.”

The truth: If your workers aren’t presenting problems to leadership, there’s a good chance they don’t feel their feedback would be well received. In many cases, workers withhold valuable insights because they fear they will be treated differently for sharing candid feedback or because they simply feel it’s a waste of time and energy. This is just one of the reasons why an "open-door policy" might not be enough to earn worker trust.

Our tip: Prompt your employees to offer feedback — and then do something with it.

“Helping employees see that feedback is welcomed and championed takes time,” said Vanderford. “It’s really a trust-building process where people begin to see that you listen, you don’t retaliate if they have negative experiences to share, and you implement changes that support their needs.”

And once you've made the change based on worker feedback, be sure to celebrate it by giving your worker feedback the credit it deserves.

Ready to Change?

WorkHound is a great option for employers hoping to understand where to prioritize change while also building a confident feedback culture. Not only does our tool help you collect invaluable anonymous feedback, but our team can help you develop a plan of action for responding to it.

Click here to learn more about our platform, or request a demo. We’d be happy to help you learn more about what feedback can do for your organization.

How to build the right team to review worker feedback

When you’re operating in an industry where jobs are more abundant than workers, losing talent to a competitor is an ongoing risk. It can be hard to know when an employee is planning to jump ship, and it can be even more challenging to bounce back when several of them choose to leave at once.

But even in competitive labor markets, high employee turnover doesn’t have to be a given. For companies that want to keep talent, few resources are more valuable than honest feedback from workers, even beyond an open door policy.

Those insights, coupled with the right response from leadership, can have a powerful impact on both employee retention and the company’s long-term stability.

Before that can happen, though, the feedback must first fall into the right hands. And if it doesn’t, that’s where the positive opportunities break down.

Encouraging Quick Action

“For many employees, the idea of speaking openly with management about their work experiences can feel intimidating or even futile,” said Katie Love, Customer Success Manager at WorkHound. “That’s why it’s essential that the managers who are tasked with reviewing it are properly empowered to respond. They need to have the authority to make changes, the training to handle sensitive issues in the workplace, and the capacity to respond in a timely manner.”

At many companies, worker feedback review teams include one or more members of the HR Department and other managers or company leaders responsible for employee retention. Regardless of job titles, qualified reviewers typically have the authority to make broad internal changes or decisions that arise from the feedback process.

“If the people on your review team have to run proposed responses through a long chain of command before taking action, it puts the feedback process at risk,” said Love. “When employees feel their questions and concerns are being ignored or are not being taken seriously, trust and morale can take a hit.”

Companies that are truly serious about strengthening their employee retention efforts will already have buy-in at the highest levels of leadership, said Love.

In practice, that might mean higher-level managers will sit on the review team, or it may mean that others with similarly relevant decision-making capabilities will assume the responsibility as a core function of their job.

Equipping Teams for Difficult Interactions

The ability to implement change is not the only critical qualification for sitting on a feedback review team, however. Tough feedback can be hard to swallow, especially if it comes off as personal. This is why it's important to know if and when you're ready.

Knowing how to maintain an open mind and remain professional while bearing the brunt of criticism is an essential part of the process. Ideal reviewers have already been trained to handle sensitive workplace issues or have a track record of success in this area.

“Overly defensive attitudes can subvert the employee feedback process entirely,” said Love. “The idea is to build trust between employees and employers. It is never wise to try to find out who left negative feedback or to retaliate in any way. There’s always a productive alternative. That’s why having the right reviewers in the room is so critical. These are the people who can see the big picture and are best equipped to help identify it.”

And when the right people are in place, she explained, that’s when the breakthroughs happen.

“We’ve seen time and time again that when companies engage the interests and concerns of their workers, they feel valued and choose to stay,” said Love. “Even in industries where workers are in high demand, people will often commit to companies they feel are committed to them. So when you equip your leadership to create that environment, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

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

Exit Interviews: An Autopsy

The notice is in, the papers have been signed, and now you’re down an employee. Though it’s too late to reverse course, you still want to know why this individual opted to leave the company. That’s where the exit interview comes in. It’s your last shot to find out what went wrong, and you want to make it count.

Feedback about an employee’s experience on the job is critical for refining your company’s retention efforts. But how much meaningful information can you gather when that individual already has one foot out the door?

To departing employees, being candid about the choice to leave your company can sometimes feel like a lost cause. Oftentimes, there’s little incentive to engage in an uncomfortable conversation when a new job is already waiting in the wings.

And then there’s the matter of whether or not these individuals felt their feedback was valued to begin with. Did they express their concerns while still employed? If they did, were those issues ever addressed? And if they didn’t, what was the hesitation?

In an exit interview, these insights are key. You may learn the decision had nothing to do with working conditions and everything to do with more a more compelling offer from one of your competitors. Or perhaps it was another reason entirely. Maybe this person felt disconnected from management and simply wanted a change.

Whatever the reason, it’s up to you to incorporate these insights into your employee retention strategy. Your ability to prevent further departures often depends on it.

Don’t Wait to Ask

However, you don’t have to wait until a worker leaves to find out what went wrong. In many scenarios, engaging in honest dialogue with current employees can prevent them from leaving to begin with. You just have to listen and make the most of what you learn.

“An employee retention strategy that relies too heavily on exit interviews is bound to fall short on its potential,” said Max Farrell, WorkHound CEO. “If you engage in regular conversations with your workers about their experiences on the job, you get an opportunity to address their concerns before they decide to leave.”

When you have a distributed workforce and employees start feeling isolated, Farrell explained, being a proactive communicator can make the difference between keeping and losing your talent. But initiating the conversation is just the first step.

“Dialogue without trust is a dead end when it comes to keeping employees happy,” he said. “It’s important to show your workers that their feedback matters in tangible, actionable ways.”

Take this scenario, for example: Say an employee is having trouble enrolling his wife on the company insurance policy and feels he’s getting the runaround from those responsible for helping. Feeling frustrated, he articulates the problem through your company’s employee feedback platform.

This is your opportunity to step in and make him feel heard. Whether the issue is due to an administrative error or simply unclear communications about the policy itself, it’s important to be responsive and admit fault so the worker feels his concern is valid.

And if resolving the issue entirely on the employee’s terms is not a possibility, use this challenge as an opportunity to meet in the middle. A meaningful compromise, even if not ideal, can go a long way in making workers feel valued.

In a competitive labor market, reciprocity is everything. Engaging in open dialogue with your employees is an investment in the future. Successful companies are built on strong teams, and finding the smartest ways to keep them starts now, not later.

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

Top 3 retention strategies at MATS

The WorkHound team attends the Mid-America Truck Show (MATS), the largest trucking show in North America, every year to meet one-on-one with industry experts.

While much of the focus of the convention is on recruiting, we do things a bit differently and saw this as an opportunity to dig into the proactive approach and understand how experts are shifting focus to retention.

Experts from 35+ trucking companies shared innovative driver retention ideas with the WorkHound team, and interestingly enough, the full spectrum of strategies in 2019 boiled down to only three key themes.

1. Set Realistic Expectations

We all know the feeling of being courted by a salesman who goes dark once the sale is closed. Imagine that feeling while taking on a new career. No matter your role in the driver recruiting process set the driver up for success by properly setting expectations and communicating ever more once they sign on the dotted line.

Expectation setting is a two-way street. The carrier will have the opportunity to communicate thoroughly about the work they’re offering, and the driver can come clean with the experience they’ve been sold. Time and time again, driver feedback via WorkHound cracks open a misalignment between overpromising and underdelivering on experience.

Read about our 2018 driver feedback trends here.

Show respect to drivers by getting on the same page from the get-go and continuing to course correct as necessary with regular, consistent communication.

2. Culture & Communication

When a driver signs on at your company, they’re not only lending their skills, they’re sharing a large portion of their life. Culture is important and industry leaders are working harder than ever to understand how to offer a better culture.

For many, culture has started with work-life balance. Companies are finding ways to offer more time at home while also taking the time to get to know drivers’ families once they’ve committed to a carrier. This can also open doors for family members to find professional opportunities within the company.

Carriers are also offering cross-functional roles to drivers. Opportunities like this mean that drivers split their time between driving and taking on work of other disciplines to prevent burnout. This also helps drivers get face time with other representatives of the company, whether drivers or office workers so that they can feel the camaraderie of their company’s entire driving force. Getting to know workers of other departments also develops empathy across the company.

This effort to develop empathy can also be tackled with an outreach cadence by contacting drivers for personal touchpoints at 30, 60, 90 days and six months. This can be used for tracking how the drivers’ experience is going and having transparent conversations about their expectations.

Additionally, set the precedent that carriers want honest and open feedback. Weekly, WorkHound sends out text messages to drivers to ask for their anonymous feedback for their carrier. What we’ve found is that carriers that offer the opportunity to leave feedback in this way without the fear of repercussions are able to grow trust with their workers, tackle the hard issues, and intervene when a driver waves the red flag that it’s time to move on.

3. Reward Hard Work

While we’re big fans of proactive efforts in retaining workers (especially because we all know the cost to replace a driver is upwards $5000), we’re excited to see when the reactive efforts are meant for rewarding hard workers.

A referral program is becoming a popular way to grow a professional driver force but in an effort to avoid “bonus-hopping,” companies are spreading out reward funds over the course of several months or even a year.

When drivers leave positive feedback via WorkHound, carriers are encouraged to reach out to that driver to thank them for their feedback, and ask if they’d like share their experience with fellow drivers. While we know all recruiters are working hard, a happy driver truly is the best recruiter.

One company at MATS shared that they are offering a $12,000 signing bonus, but drivers must stay a full year to qualify with the thought being that once a driver makes it to certain milestone days, the likelihood they’ll remain on the team continues to increase.

Beyond the recruiting process, carriers are also beginning to take a stand for drivers on pay. Outside of traditional driver pay policies, drivers are being offered guaranteed compensation pay to account for the times when freight isn’t running on time or situations outside of a driver’s control that prevent them from receiving the mileage pay they’re hoping to earn.

Carriers are also holding shippers and receivers accountable by billing for wait times to keep drivers running and happy, rather than at the mercy of a shipment that’s running behind schedule.

Last, but not least, make sure drivers receive pay adjustments to raise with the cost of living. A pay raise can go a long way and with recruiting costs skyrocketing to $5000 or more per driver, a raise could be the grand solution to fewer empty seats in the long run.

For ideas and takeaways from 2018 MATS, read our take here.

Special thanks to these companies for sharing actionable wisdom:

Vascor Transport, U.S. Bulk, Old Dominion, Valley Transportation Service, Inc., Diamond Transportation System, Usher Transport, Inc., Beacon Roof, Red Classic, Rush Trucking, Unimark, Anderson Transportation Systems, Leggett & Platt, Super T Transport

Reachouts Done Right

Nervous about the idea of soliciting anonymous feedback from your employees? You certainly aren’t alone. Many of our customers start off their relationship with WorkHound expressing similar anxieties. What they find, however, is that even when feedback is negative, it can be used to cultivate trust and build stronger relationships within their workforce.

Seeing the Positive Side of the Negative

Positive feedback tells us what we’re doing well — and it feels good to receive it. As managers in the workforce, we use positive feedback to help us understand what we’re doing well and what our teams and employees value most. The thing we often overlook is that negative feedback tells us as much or more about the climate of our workplaces. The key here is to see negative feedback as an opportunity, rather than to see it as a nuisance.

“There is room for improvement in any organization, and many of our customers are surprised to realize that their workers have lots of good ideas about how to solve certain issues,” said Max Farrell, WorkHound CEO. “If companies don’t prompt their employees to share these thoughts, they may be missing out on valuable insight.”

When You Need to Know More

While employees sometimes offer suggestions to help with the issues they present at the same time they’re sharing negative feedback through our tool, others may simply share a specific frustration. In these cases, WorkHound allows managers to send a “reachout” to the employee who has shared that feedback.

The employee will receive a notification stating that someone in leadership would like to discuss their concerns in more depth, and the employee is able to accept or deny the request to reveal their identity to talk further.

In our experience, about 40 percent of workers accept the request. And while it could be easy to be frustrated with the 60 percent who don’t, it’s important to realize that even if an employee is not comfortable revealing their identity and discussing the issues they’ve shared, there is still a great deal that can be done with their anonymous information.

“Each WorkHound customer works with their account manager to develop broadcast messages that are sent out to the entire workforce,” said Farrell. “If you have received several pieces of negative feedback about similar topics but haven’t been able to connect personally with individuals, you can still use broadcasts as an opportunity to show employees that their messages are read, considered, valued, and acted upon.”

Requesting Feedback Isn’t a Silver Bullet

Requesting and using feedback isn’t just a quick fix. It’s a workplace culture shift — and it’s important to understand that a culture shift takes place over time. The more your company works to respond to employee feedback, whether individually or companywide, the more your workforce will trust that their voices and opinions matter.

Just as soliciting anonymous feedback may be stressful for managers adopting a new feedback policy, sharing candid thoughts can be stressful for the employees who are hoping to affect positive change in their organizations.

“Remember that every small win is another vote of confidence for everyone involved — and don’t get too hung up on the fact that not every employee will be comfortable having one-on-one conversations about every issue,” said Farrell. “It’s all about fostering trust and building upon it.”

If you’re ready to build feedback into your workplace culture, give WorkHound a try. Request a demo today!

Get Specific: Broadcast Messages That Work

In jobs that keep workers constantly on the move, trying to discuss high-stakes topics with long-distance managers can be intimidating. Feedback about benefits, pay, and even unclear company policies carry a great deal of weight — especially when employees worry their interests will be dismissed.

But for managers, effectively responding to these types of concerns is another challenge entirely. Do you tackle controversial topics head-on at the risk of inflaming the sensitivities of your workers? Or do you craft a broad statement that acknowledges the issue but glosses over the awkward specifics?

If you lean toward the latter approach, you’re not alone. But for companies that opt for a more direct response, the results are clear — specific messaging solves more controversies than it creates. And employees feel respected in the process.

“Overly-general broadcast messages don’t fool anyone,” said Katherine Vanderford, Customer Success Director at WorkHound. “They’re designed not to rock the boat, but they end up doing the opposite because the responses are so watered down that they lose their meaning.”

Share the Full Picture

Let’s look at the issue of varying truck speed policies for transportation companies. To keep drivers from exceeding speed limits, many companies keep electronic “governors” on their trucks. Due to federal regulations, drivers are only allowed to stay on the road for a set number of hours. So the employer-mandated rules for driving speeds often become a burden for drivers who want to make up for lost time on the road.

While many trucking companies will attribute the speed regulations to safety concerns, drivers in the field know speed reductions in high-traffic areas address some threats while simultaneously creating new ones. It’s a catch-22. So drivers know the issue can’t be about safety alone.

In reality, speed limits are also about fuel efficiency and cost savings. When employees want clarity on the reasoning behind policies like this (or even take issue with them), it’s important to respect their experience in the field and provide a full picture of how decisions are made — as well as what other options are available.

“The purpose of the broadcast messaging system is to build trust between the worker and the company by acknowledging their feedback, taking action, and building confidence that their concerns are being heard,” said Vanderford. “This isn’t just an opportunity to share a message with employees — this is a conversation. You have to listen to understand. It’s important to dissect what workers are saying before planning your response.”

Getting It Right

So how do you make sure your broadcast messages are hitting the mark? For starters, you want to know what differentiates an ineffective general message from an effective specific one.

General broadcasts typically communicate something along the lines of “This is why we’ve done things this way and will continue to do things this way.”

Feedback-specific messages, on the other hand, will say something more like “We’ve done things this way for a while, and based on your feedback, it’s not working. Here’s how we’re working to understand your concerns and address them.”

Messages that work well are filled with responses to employee feedback. Typically, we know a response is effective when workers either communicate appreciation to your company for honoring their concerns or move on from the issue entirely.

So next time your employees voice a sensitive topic, look at it as an opportunity to create a meaningful exchange with the people who keep your company moving.

Via Startup Nation - 5 Reasons Why It’s Imperative to Immerse Yourself Into Your Target Industry

WorkHound CEO, Max Farrell, shared the reasons why an immersive experience was important for WorkHound to tackle target industries.

For Farrell that meant going where the rubber meets the road and for research, he joined truck drivers by sleeping in truck cabs, eating road food, and showering at truck stops.

Max on the road with Turntable Trucker

When it came time to pitch WorkHound to key decision makers, Farrell and his team not only brought a bold vision for tackling critical nationwide turnover, but also concrete evidence from the front lines of the industry.

Immersion was an important launch pad for WorkHound's expertise in the trucking industry and Farrell shared five reasons why with Startup Nation.

Here's a brief excerpt from the blog:

"Reason #1: Provable credibility

A ground-level understanding of front-line transactions provides tremendous value and color to the data generated by those transactions. It is one thing to see a dip in revenue on a computer screen, and quite another to see a frustrated driver trying to correct an error on a shipping manifest.

Arming yourself with real stories from the real people at work signals that you are committed to a deep understanding of their business and won’t settle for generalizations."

For more on why immersive learning continues to work for WorkHound, check out Farrell's complete blog on

Beyond the open-door policy

An open-door communication policy can help encourage an open and collaborative work environment.

The underlying idea is sound: It signals to employees that you are serious about breaking down communication barriers and want to hear about the issues affecting their productivity or overall comfort in the workplace.

However, there are some issues to consider.

Issue #1: Fear and Vulnerability

An open-door policy assumes that employees are willing to talk with you about an issue that may put them in a vulnerable position professionally. Even if there is good communication between management and staff, an open-door policy leaves management waiting on a subordinate to come to them and voice a concern. Employees have to already trust they will be listened to and that meaningful action will be taken to help rectify a situation.

Inconvenience and fear of vulnerability might prohibit employees from not taking advantage of your open-door policy. They might worry that they won't be able to articulate their thoughts in a fluid conversation. They might also fear retaliation for their honesty. Favoritism and office politics are a dicey game. Employees can spot the pitfalls and often decide the most prudent course of action is to do nothing and play it safe.

Issue #2: Proximity and Delivery

The second problem with an open-door policy is it assumes employees are in close proximity and can walk through the door to initiate a conversation. According to Gallup, 43 percent of Americans worked remotely in 2016 and in frontline industries, that number could be even higher. Dispersed workforces have steadily risen in the past 10 years. Communication around sensitive issues is already complicated, but it's hard to see eye-to-eye on a challenge when you can’t speak to a manager face-to-face.

Issue #3: Passing Time

The longer an issue goes unaddressed, the more frustrated a team member may become. Company management may be unaware that an issue even exists — but each passing day the problem goes unnoticed is a day a team member may think their managers condone the problem or simply don’t care.

Consider the trucking industry as an example. Drivers are often far away from home and the office for weeks on end. Even if a driver feels comfortable talking with their manager, a month could pass from the time a situation arises and when a driver has the chance to voice it in person. Critical feedback might fester in that time, robbing you of a chance to address it. Meanwhile, a professional driver might decide to move on to another company.

How We’re Different

Offering multiple communications channels often mitigates the challenges mentioned above. When employees have multiple opportunities to express themselves professionally, they can choose the one that fits their own personality, comfort level, and the issue at hand.

WorkHound is designed and engineered to remove barriers remote employees might encounter with a more traditional open-door policy. Employees are asked to share their concerns anonymously by text message, and the prompt for feedback gives employees time to collect and share their thoughts about a situation in a constructive, safe environment.

The platform empowers employees to freely speak their minds without fear of retaliation. They don't have to worry that feedback will hurt their reputation, future opportunities, or professional standing.

WorkHound also encourages real-time feedback. It allows employees an outlet for their frustrations and gives management the chance to rectify a situation before it spirals out of control.

The Bottom Line

Open-door policies are a good jumping-off point to improve workplace communication in any industry. But developing true transparency and trust in a top-down, management-to-employee structure is difficult.

WorkHound helps level the playing field.

Ready to see how WorkHound can open lines of communication with your team? Request a demo today!