feedback from drivers

You’ve Received Feedback From Drivers. Now What?

If you’ve read a few of our blogs or spent any time with a member of the WorkHound team, you know we’re big fans of gathering feedback (even giving it and asking for it, it’s a whole thing). Because it has helped us so much, we believe there’s tremendous value in offering professional drivers and other employees a meaningful way of submitting their concerns and comments.

But that leads to a natural question: Once you’ve set up a feedback tool, what do you do with the feedback you receive? Today, we’re sharing some best practices.

Ensuring Access & Accountability

A little preparation can help you set your company up for success before that first piece of feedback comes in. From our perspective, two of the most important parts of the puzzle are ensuring the right people have access to feedback, and that there’s an accountability structure in place for responding.

“We recommend making sure that the person who can take action has access to the feedback,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “If a driver has feedback about an experience he or she had in the shop, making sure whoever is in charge of the shop is able to see that feedback is vitally important because they’re the ones who can do something about the concerns or problems.”

If only those at the top of the leadership chain have access to feedback provided through WorkHound, there is a risk that the information never gets shared with those in a position to take meaningful action. And vice versa, if only those in the HR or operations team have access to the feedback, executive leadership might miss out on important insight. Drivers’ feedback needs to be parsed out to the appropriate departments in order for the issues to be properly resolved. 

Learn how Milan Case Study has integrated their company with driver feedback here.

The next step is making sure people are held accountable,” Love says. “That means ensuring that once the feedback is shared, the person who initially received it follows up with careful and thoughtful questions to make sure appropriate action is taken.”

The Nuts & Bolts of Responding to Feedback

Every company has a slightly different process for responding to feedback. With that said, though, there are a few methods for responding in WorkHound that let drivers know you’re taking their concerns into consideration: 

  • One-time notification enables companies to send an instant message to a driver who shares anonymous feedback. This is a good option when you feel confident that the information you can provide in the message will solve a driver’s problem, without asking the driver to reveal their identity.
  • Reveal requests are used when a driver’s concern warrants a one-on-one conversation. In some cases, a driver may not agree to reveal their identity. But in cases where drivers have agreed to reveal in order to discuss a concern with leadership, 90% or more are retained for at least 30 days post-reveal.

    “If a driver chooses to reveal, call them right away,” Love says. “The only time we’ve ever seen reveals go wrong is when the driver is willing to reveal and then the company sits on it. Within the first 24 hours after a driver reveals, it is important to follow up and get on the same page. Having that chance to talk allows drivers and other employees to clear the air and have a good mutual understanding.”
  • Broadcasts are a great way to communicate responses to common feedback topics, as well as updates being made to policy based on feedback. For instance, if numerous drivers shared that the furniture in the lounge has seen better days, you could share a broadcast to let them know you’re looking into ordering new furniture and when you expect to complete the upgrades.

    “The cool thing about broadcasts is that they can be used to give an example that empowers other drivers,” Love says. “Companies can call out specific feedback they’re receiving from drivers. We see often that drivers are very engaged with the broadcasts, even if they aren’t leaving feedback. By sharing actions taken in broadcasts, it can empower more drivers to share.”

The Overarching Sentiment?

If companies are not talking to their drivers, drivers assume they’re talking about them.

“Having the courage to speak up can be a challenge,” Love says. “Many drivers have had previous negative experiences, and it’s up to you to reset those expectations. As you ramp up a new feedback program, the most critical thing is just to simply make sure you’re taking action and sharing those plans with your team.”

When you partner with WorkHound to establish a feedback program, we’re here to guide you through every step of the process. Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!


customer isn't right

When the Customer Isn’t Right...

There’s an adage that “the customer is always right.” But that simply isn’t the case. What happens when your customers and your drivers are in opposite corners? What if the customer isn't right?

This happens more often than you might think. When drivers are encouraged to share their honest and unfiltered feedback through a tool like WorkHound, they sometimes provide insights about customers and shippers. 

That’s not a bad thing — much of the feedback, even the negative, can be turned into a positive and used to reshape the company/customer relationship moving forward.

Driver Feedback & Customer Relationships

What do drivers have to say about customers? It’s much like any other feedback topic; it varies quite a bit based on personal experience. 

In general, drivers point out instances where their time could be better utilized or where improvements need to be made in processes and procedures. In that way, feedback about external clients is very similar to feedback about internal ones.

“In our feedback data, we’ve seen that some of the most challenging situations to navigate are the comments drivers have about people,” says Katherine Vanderford, Director of Customer Success at WorkHound. “That feedback can be about internal people, or it can be about their customers. Providing feedback about customers can be tricky, because drivers may feel that shippers are more valued than they are — that speaking up about an issue can be a bad thing for them.”

It’s important to let your drivers know that their honest feedback is exactly what you’re looking for, regardless of the sensitivity of the topic. As your drivers see that you’re listening and relying on their insights to guide your decisions, you’ll build a level of mutual trust that encourages drivers to continue sharing. This can help you strengthen existing relationships with vendors and establish new ones.

“Trucking companies are going back to shippers about issues, sharing that their drivers are valuable and experiencing XYZ problems,” Vanderford says. “Sometimes the basic message has been: ‘Our drivers are invaluable, and if you aren’t going to treat them with respect, we’re going to have to find new customers to work with.’”

Companies are able to use driver feedback in two key ways when it comes to customer relationships: In many cases, they use feedback as leverage with customers and shippers. In addition, companies with high retention have a lot of power in negotiating better contracts with their customers. 

“Having a strong company culture and high retention as a company means they’ll always have the same drivers picking up freight, and they won’t have to constantly be training drivers on working with a particular customer,” Vanderford says. “Both put the company in the driver’s seat of negotiations.” 

What This Dynamic Means for Drivers & Customers

There’s tremendous value in using driver feedback to guide relationships with customers and shippers. In the long run, it benefits all three parties — the company, the customer, and the drivers.

“When a company makes changes to a customer relationship based on driver feedback, it tells drivers that they’re valued,” Vanderford says. “When it comes to the hierarchy at a company, drivers rank higher than they might think. They always feel like they’re being seen as a number. Anything that can allow drivers to be humanized boosts their confidence with a company and helps them know that the company will go to bat for them if they ever need it.”

Drivers aren’t the only ones who benefit, though. While sometimes being confronted with critique can be uncomfortable, in the end, the customers grow, too.

“When a company communicates with a customer about issues their drivers are having, it makes an impression on the customer,” Vanderford says. “It says that they’re working with a company that has really good values. It says to them that they’re working with a company that’s going to work hard to build sustainable relationships with customers, and it also says that the company is going to take their work for that customer very seriously.” 

How One Company Uses Driver Feedback in Customer Relationships

When Storey Trucking began working with WorkHound a few years ago, company leadership quickly saw that a good bit of feedback related to customer interactions. Over time, they began to use those insights as a valuable tool in their interactions with customers and shippers.

“We’ve opened up a dialogue where drivers can give us more constructive feedback on what their experiences are, on the road and with shippers and receivers,” says Beth Hamilton, Development at Storey Trucking. “For us to entertain business or to continue to do business, we have to know that our customers are fully aligned with us in providing our drivers the best possible experience.”

And while it might seem that sharing driver feedback with customers could potentially be a negative, it’s helped strengthen those relationships.

“We value our customers tremendously,” Hamilton says. “Without both the customers and the drivers, we wouldn’t have a business. What we’ve found for the most part is there’s always an opportunity. When we open up a space for our drivers to give us perspective, and then we have the opportunity to go and share that perspective with the customer. Bringing light to an issue is what offers a chance for improvement.”

Create a feedback program for your company that builds stronger relationships with your drivers and your customers. Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!


driver retention

Why Driver Retention Is The New Recruiting

There’s a massive problem with driver retention in the trucking industry, but most companies are hesitant to seek any outside help about it. This creates an “if you ignore it, it will go away” situation where companies heavily invest in recruitment but almost completely ignore retaining their drivers. 

But the problems are here to stay and they can only be changed if companies actively work on them. Before we jump into solutions for the driver retention problem, let’s look at the current state of the trucking industry data. 

Let’s look at the driver retention data

There are multiple problems when it comes to driver retention. The following data explains it the best: 

  • The industry-wide annual turnover rate has an average of over 90%. It’s not uncommon for trucking companies to experience even a 100% turnover rate on an annual basis which means that they go through their entire driver roster in a span of a year. 
  • There’s a massive shortage of truck drivers in general— According to the ATA (American Trucking Association), there’s a shortage of around 61,000 truckers. This creates a vacuum for many trucking companies who are having problems hiring (and retaining) truck drivers. 
  • The cost per trucker turnover varies, but the average is around $11,500. For a trucking company hiring 100 truck drivers and a turnover rate of 90%, the cost skyrockets to over $1 million a year. And that’s only the cost of driver turnover. 
  • A demanding lifestyle of a truck driver and a lack of perspective and empathy from the back office. Being a truck driver is one of the most demanding jobs in today’s economy. 

A demanding lifestyle of a truck driver is a major cause of the driver retention problem. But this is also the area where companies can most likely influence a solution. Companies can do a lot to improve workplace conditions and driver retention, from better salary structures to leveraging new technologies to improving culture. So let’s look in detail at the ways a company can improve its driver retention plan/strategy/vision. 

4 things companies need to do to retain truck drivers

Instead of investing only in recruiting new talent, the companies will need to start investing in retaining that talent. As we have seen from the numbers above, there’s a massive shortage of truck drivers and the company’s priority needs to become retention. Here are four ways a company can do that: 

Salary structure

Did you know that there are at least 11 types of truck driver pay? It’s no wonder that truck drivers get confused and don’t understand their salary structures. 

“What we know is that when drivers are clear in the understanding about pay and how it works and how much they can expect to be paid, they are more satisfied with their work and ultimately the company they work with.”Max Farrell, WorkHound CEO and co-founder.

Companies will need to simplify the way that they structure the wages for their truck drivers if they want to retain them. Drivers want to eliminate any unproductive or unpaid time and the clearer understanding they have about the salary incentives and structure, the less unproductive time they will have. 

Investing in job safety

Companies will need to invest in job safety to increase driver retention. Out of the 25 deadliest occupations in the US, being a truck driver ranks seventh. A couple of things companies can do to increase safety are: 

  • Elevate route safety
  • Increase vehicle safety through regimented and routine preventive maintenance
  • Coach drivers in defensive driving and avoiding distractions
  • Encourage rest and breaks
  • Reward good driving/behavior (hint: Driver Of The Month)

Improving culture

Companies will need to change the internal and external image that they have as trucking companies.

The internal image is about adopting a more professional outlook toward their truck drivers and investing time and education into them. This will help with driver retention. In addition, we at WorkHound, have given voice to thousands of truck drivers through our anonymous feedback platform. 

“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.” Casey Lehman, Director of Recruiting and Retention at Fort Transfer.

The external image is about branding and the public image about the job. Since there’s a big shortage of truck drivers, the companies will need to invest in communication channels with the public (like social media) to increase the number of quality applicants for the available jobs. 

Leveraging new technologies

Companies will need to leverage new technologies that help out in every facet of their business. Here are a couple of innovations that your company can leverage: 

  • Communication apps that improve feedback, create a two-way communication channel, and speed up the communication process between truck drivers and their managers 
  • Invest in new fleet management tools 
  • Applying Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance services to increase safety and lower costs
  • Use dispatch management services that help with weather updates and traffic maps
  • Invest in real-time GPS tracking
  • Offer electronic bill-of-lading tools to streamline drivers’ experiences at shippers

Conclusion

Most trucking companies invest heavily into recruiting new people for work. But as we have seen, there’s a massive truck driver shortage, with driver turnover above 95%. Companies who haven’t already will need to start re-allocating some of their recruitment funds into retaining their drivers because driver retention is the new recruiting. 

If you want more help with driver retention, you can have a quick chat with one of our driver retention experts.


Bay & Bay

Heroes of the Hound: Bay & Bay Transportation

WorkHound Customer Q&A

When Bay & Bay Transportation teamed up with WorkHound to provide its drivers with a feedback program, they had three strategic goals in mind: The company wanted to curb turnover, promote growth, and streamline operations.

It’s safe to say they’ve found success — even while navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated turmoil within the trucking industry, Bay & Bay has reduced turnover and grown its driver count by an astounding 30 percent.

How did they make that happen? Their retention process starts during the hiring process.

Justin Johnson, Senior Vice President of Sales & Operations for Bay & Bay, offers some insight into our latest Heroes of the Hound interview.  

WorkHound: For Bay & Bay, retention starts during the hiring process. What does that look like?

Johnson: Anyone who’s trying to hire drivers right now is not looking for reasons not to hire a driver — they’re looking for every reason to hire one. But what we have found, through feedback via WorkHound and other sources, is that taking some additional steps on the front end helps us with turnover.

Every quarter, we’re reviewing our hiring processes to make sure we’ve got great guidelines in place to fulfill our culture and what we’re trying to find in drivers. Our operations team is doing front-end interviews to make sure drivers know what they’re getting into and that we have a common understanding before they get here.

We’re also having regular meetings with our recruiting team so that they know what job availability we have. 

WorkHound: How has driver feedback helped sharpen your recruiting and retention strategy?

Johnson: It’s about really listening to what our drivers are sharing with us. We don’t have a silver bullet here. It takes an army to attract and retain drivers. One of the big things we’re looking at constantly is: What are drivers looking for?

We run a lot of independent contractors, so drivers are out there talking with other drivers about pay rates. That leads to a lot of comparison, so we are continually looking at driver pay. That doesn’t mean we’re changing pay packages all the time, but it’s definitely something we think is important to pay close attention to. We want our drivers to make a fair wage, be successful, and want to stay with Bay & Bay long-term. This isn’t the only reason why drivers stay, but definitely from an attracting-drivers standpoint, pay is a big issue.

Equipment is also a topic that’s mentioned a lot. Drivers want new and shiny equipment. They don’t want anything that has the potential to break down. We’ve made that a priority. In many cases, our drivers are getting new equipment right when they get out of training and orientation. We’ve seen some recruiting benefits in that area.

Drivers are also looking for a way to have their voices heard. We want to make communication easy. How do we make it easy for drivers to disperse their information or feedback? We work to provide the most direct, easiest way to contact us.

WorkHound: What are the key benefits for Bay & Bay of partnering with WorkHound? What’s been most valuable for you?

Johnson: The No. 1 thing is accountability. We have a weekly call where we review the previous week’s feedback at a high level. Then the WorkHound team takes that information and we go back to the drivers with a newsletter that lets them know the feedback they’re sharing is being addressed. We obviously can’t address every single thing, but this shows we are listening.

Having that weekly meeting is a departure from the norm with most programs — most times, you might have a monthly meeting, and that’s where things get lost.

There’s also the tracking component. We have everything in one central place where we can review comments and see what recieved follow up. It’s in a centralized format rather than in 50 billion different places where we can’t tell what’s been done.

WorkHound also allows us to work together as a team. While you don’t want everybody’s hand in the cookie jar, it needs to be a team effort. The leaders of our business segments are responsible for following up with their drivers to make sure their concerns are being handled appropriately. 

And finally, the program is so easy to use. The easier it is for drivers to operate a system, the more likely they’ll have to adapt and want to use it.  

Bay & Bay Transportation 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.


unusual feedback

Why Unusual Feedback Can Yield Wins for Trucking Companies

If you’ve ever read through one of our trends reports, you know that we are continuously diving deep into the feedback truck drivers provide across the industry. When we review these individual pieces of feedback provided to trucking companies, we often spot commonalities — general themes that recur often.

But while there are categories that crop up repeatedly, such as issues related to pay or questions about equipment maintenance, we also get a good deal of feedback that falls outside of those parameters. And really, it’s that “unusual” feedback that gets to the heart of why having a feedback mechanism in place is so important.

Making decisions based on reliable data is critical for running any business, let alone a trucking company. Relying on your gut instinct or a guess at what drivers need and want often results in missteps rather than a direct line to success.

“Giving drivers an opportunity to provide their honest, unfiltered feedback elicits more accurate insights about what’s truly important,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “Armed with those insights, you can then make decisions that truly benefit drivers, keeping turnover low.”

Wondering what that has to do with unusual feedback? Well, truly understanding what your drivers need and want requires you to remember that they’re individuals who have unique and distinct needs.

Those individual needs and wants often don’t fit “inside the box.” So today, we’re exploring some of the less-common feedback we’ve seen that still gives companies an opportunity to improve upon their business operations and better serve drivers.

Exploring Unique Topics
In a blog earlier this year, we referenced a request from one driver to help support their vegan diet. That’s one example of out-of-the-box feedback — the type that really gets to the point of what drivers actually need.

Here are some others we’ve seen:

  • A request for better vending machines so drivers can eat healthier meals and snacks, with options that are hot and appealing 
  • Feedback about the need for handicap and motorcycle parking at a carrier’s facility, along with other mobility-related concerns
  • The facts about poor shower conditions at a company’s truck depot 
  • Specifics about poor conditions at a company’s driver lounge, including the way it was cleaned/maintained
  • Unexpected praise for the actions of a coworker
  • Delight about meeting the CEO or another member of a company’s leadership team

While these pieces of feedback are all very unique and personalized, they have one thing in common: They’re a stepping stone to building trust between drivers and their employers.

“What you see in ‘unexpected’ or ‘unusual’ feedback is a lot of nuances,” Love says. “This type of truly honest and personalized feedback offers the opportunity for a company to respond and build trust.”

A feedback mechanism like WorkHound also allows drivers to provide unusual feedback of a different type — the kind they simply might not share otherwise.

“We often see drivers share vulnerable concerns about their health and well-being through WorkHound,” Love says. “These are things that they wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing in a conversation over the phone or in person. An established feedback program provides another opportunity for drivers to feel seen and heard, one that’s very important in those types of situations.”

A Partner in the Process

It’s important to note that at WorkHound, you can count on our team of account representatives to help out with feedback response — from the typical to the unusual.

“If you’re considering a feedback program but you’re afraid of opening Pandora’s box, don’t stress!” Love says. “Our team has helped carriers navigate and respond to countless pieces of feedback, and we’re here to support our customers, not just in celebrating the wins but also navigating challenges.”  

Get to the heart of your drivers’ needs and wants with a feedback program that meets them where they are. Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!


driver mental health

Trucking Companies Can Do Something about Driver Mental Health

There’s no doubt about it: Professional drivers face some challenging and stressful circumstances, both of which impact driver mental health. Most days, they’re on the road, battling traffic, handling complex safety issues, and, in many cases, going it alone. 

All of these factors can contribute to stress and burnout, but the last factor may be most significant. Time alone — and specifically, loneliness — can have a major impact on a driver’s overall health, impacting both physical health and mental health.

This is worth paying special attention to. Mental health issues are pervasive among those in the trucking industry, and when a driver’s mental health is in jeopardy, it can have dangerous effects, contributing to both unsafe driving and suicidal tendencies. Ultimately, these struggles not only put the driver at risk, but those around him or her as well.

As we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s take a few minutes to talk about the dangers of loneliness and how trucking carriers can help drivers develop habits that can positively impact mental health.

The Facts About Loneliness

When you think about risk factors for serious health conditions, factors such as smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, a lack of quality sleep, and a poor diet probably come to mind. But did you know that loneliness is also a significant risk factor?

In recent years, studies have shown that loneliness and social isolation can actually be as significant a health risk as smoking in some situations. A 2015 study, in fact, found that a lack of social connection increases health risk as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

While loneliness has an impact on your physical health, its effects on mental health are also potent.

Feeling alone and being socially isolated, particularly in those age 45 and older, can put a person at an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

It’s not an isolated issue either — in a 2018 study, more than half of the 20,000 American adults surveyed reported “sometimes or always feeling alone.” 

The issue is magnified when a person truly is alone, separated from loved ones and friends. That’s the situation faced by drivers, and why loneliness is such a danger in the role.

What Companies Can Do to Help

While the very nature of truck driving means that there will be stretches of time spent on the road and alone, loneliness and mental health issues do not have to be the result. Trucking carriers can take steps to support their drivers and provide them with resources to help them manage their feelings.

Promoting effective communication to and from drivers is an important first step. 

“Routine communication is a way for companies to keep a close eye on how drivers are doing mentally,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “But it has to be a habit, and it has to be consistent. You can’t expect drivers to open up and share their vulnerabilities right away. Trust is critical to knowing resources exist.”

Even more important than simply creating an open feedback channel, companies must also truly listen and engage with the raw and honest feedback drivers are providing.

“Being receptive to their communication is just as important,” Love says. “If drivers are willing to share feedback about what’s troubling them or even simply that they’re lonely, companies need to pay attention and do the work needed to find ways to alleviate the concerns they’re experiencing.”

How can companies take that step? It all boils down to helping drivers find ways to incorporate security, rest, and joy into their routines. That will look different for every company — and really, a little unique for every driver.

These ideas are a good place to begin:

  • Ensure insurance offerings provide appropriate coverage for driver mental health services, including access to remote therapy sessions, AND make it a priority to talk about these resources during orientation.
  • Work with drivers to plan out their schedules, allowing them to arrange for ample time spent with family and friends.
  • Offer the opportunity for drivers to bring companions on the road, whether those are human companions or furry friends.
  • Set up physical spaces in the office environment that allow for social interaction between drivers and other employees at your corporate sites.
  • Encourage drivers to take time off at regular intervals.
  • Allow drivers to take paid time off while traveling, letting them get out and explore the locations where they’re visiting.
  • Incorporate self-care components into your benefits package, such as gym memberships or spa offerings. There are gym networks across the country that allow for memberships at all locations.
  • Revisit schedules to allow drivers the time and ability to get out of the truck more often to decompress and move around.
  • Encourage a safe space for drivers to communicate. The unfortunate truth of driver mental health is that a stigma still prevents folks from speaking up, and so, we work with trucking companies across the country to provide a safe space for drivers to anonymously speak up. 

No matter what items you incorporate into your company’s policies surrounding driver mental health, the biggest takeaway we have for you is this: A little can really go a long way. When a person feels considered and valued, they’re much less likely to feel alone. And if they do begin to feel the negative effects of loneliness, they’re much more likely to express those feelings. So start the conversation. It’s as easy as that.

And while it feels good to do good, we also know that driver mental health services make a positive impact on business, too. 

For example, the CDC has reported that mental health disorders negatively affect employee job performance and productivity, focus on work, communication with coworkers, as well as, physical capability and daily functioning. With 71% of adults reporting at least one symptom of stress, it’s worth it for your people and your business to invest in mental health resources that allow for proactive care. 

Looking to offer a safe space for your drivers to communicate? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!


driver shortage

How to Address the Driver Shortage

For many years now, the alarm bell about the truck driver shortage has been ringing, but what are the practical steps to address this shortage that you can take?

As we concluded in a recent blog post, the best strategy for you as a trucking company is to focus on retention first, and recruiting second. In this post, we’ll show you how the drivers you currently have are the major key to the growth of your business, with 5 practical steps you can take to address the driver shortage.

1. Understand the power of your drivers

As the market’s demand to move over 10 billion tons of freight every year continues to increase and the truck driver shortage is estimated to reach about 175,000 by 2026, it is critical that you understand the value of drivers to your company. 

The cost to replace one driver is between $5000 - $8000, a fraction of which, if spent on retention programs, can generate great results. The drivers you currently have are very valuable and should be treated that way. 

2. Create working systems for communication and feedback

Establishing open communication channels is the best way to learn and understand your drivers’ needs. Companies are usually quick to implement all kinds of rewards and incentive-based packages that drivers may not really want. 

Our top-tier advice is to always listen to your drivers. Hear from them what their needs are, and plan your incentives and packages around their feedback. 

You can refer to our post on how to improve retention to learn practical steps you can take to establish open feedback and communication channels within your company. 

3. Address issues promptly

When you receive pressing issues from your drivers, do not delay in addressing them. A prompt resolution of issues will prevent small issues from becoming bigger over time.

This helps build loyalty and a sense of belonging as drivers begin to feel valued when they see that the issues they raised were addressed quickly.

4. Keep your promises to your drivers

Nothing destroys trust like broken promises especially in aspects concerning issues raised or feedback given. If you promise to “do something about it”, then ensure that you are able to do something about it. 

A better way to approach this would be to request suggestions from drivers on practical steps you can take to resolve an issue and implement their feedback. This will help create a sense of belonging among your drivers.

5. Empower your drivers by listening to them

Drivers know what needs to be done to make them happier on the job. They know what needs to change within your company to stimulate growth. Be sure to always listen to them and take their feedback into consideration when planning.

As market demand continues to grow every year and the number of truck drivers grows far slower, it is crucial that you understand the value of your drivers and empower them to positively impact their business and industry.

If you’d like to learn how continuous driver feedback has helped Bay & Bay Transportation not only retain but GROW their fleet, download this case study.


retention pay

Make Driver Retention Pay for Itself

Wondering if you should invest in a driver retention program? In this post, we’ll take a deep-dive into driver retention programs and how to get value for your money. 

In a recent blog post, we established that developing strong communication and feedback channels is the major key to improving driver retention. But did you know that investing in a retention program that will establish feedback channels for you can save you up to $8000 per driver? Ultimately that results in letting retention pay for itself.

What are driver retention programs?

Any system put in a place to improve driver turnover within a company. Some programs can be very effective but some could be a total waste of money, especially when they offer features that your drivers don’t need.

A good retention program should:

  • Prioritize drivers’ concerns
  • Provide actionable steps your company should take
  • Produce great results!

Feedback and communications technology is our most recommended type of driver retention program. Establishing open communication channels will help to deal with issues as they arise and improve your drivers’ satisfaction when those issues are addressed. 

If you’d like to learn more about how communication can be used as a major tool to improve retention, read more here

The costs of driver turnover

Driver turnover is very expensive. The cost to replace one driver is between $5000 - $8000, and this cost is potentially higher if the role requires any specialties. That’s a lot of extra thousands of dollars that you could have in your pocket each year. 

According to the trucker’s report, the cost of turnover per driver is 3x the average cost of turnover for US employees. Clearly, the best strategy for you as a trucking company would be to focus on retention first, and recruiting second. 

The benefits of letting retention pay for itself

Because the cost to recruit a new driver when a driver leaves is very high, retention programs help keep your drivers on the road. Invest in a retention program that focuses on drivers’ needs and concerns instead of your company, because when drivers provide feedback on issues like route planning and optimization, you can easily implement such advice openly and create a sense of belonging and ownership among drivers.

If you let retention pay for itself and successfully keep the same team of drivers over long periods, this builds trust and creates a company culture. New drivers would begin to feel as though they are joining a family and not merely becoming employees.

ROI

With savings of up to $8000 per driver, effective driver retention programs have a clear return on investment. If you simply retain one driver a month, the program more than pays for itself!

Although implementing rewards programs, higher pay, etc. are great retention strategies to adopt, establishing efficient feedback channels is the most results-oriented way to improve driver retention.

If you’re ready to understand how you can save time and money on your retention program, reach out to a WorkHound expert. We’d be glad to learn how you’re currently envisioning your retention strategy, and share how Bay & Bay Transportation has retained and GROWN their fleet.


driver shortage trucking

5 Ways to Address the Driver Shortage in the Trucking Industry 

High driver turnover, low wages, unfair fines, and unpaid work are just a few of the causes of the current driver shortage in the trucking industry. But what can be done to fix this? Here are 5 actionable steps you can take to address the trucking industry’s driver shortage:

1. Improve Driver Pay

This may be the most straightforward of all the points on this list. The lack of young drivers entering the industry is very likely attributed to low or simply confusing pay.

A few things you could do to increase driver’s overall compensation are:

      • Minimize errors in driver pay
      • Reconsider how drivers are compensated
      • Pay drivers for productive non-driving time
      • Pay drivers for time spent at the shipper’s location

2. Improve Work-Life Balance

The issue of work-life balance is increasingly becoming widespread among various industries, the trucking industry notwithstanding. 

To improve your drivers’ work-life balance, you can decrease the time spent on the road, increase time at home, host company events, and give other benefits. Doing this would help relieve the concern of always being away from home while encouraging new, interested individuals to enter the industry. 

3. End trucking company training contracts

While this one might be a little more dated, it still exists in the industry. Training contracts require drivers to work for a set amount of time while receiving very low pay, and this scars the company image. Ending training contracts and employing other means of training would be a great way to address the truck driver shortage.

For instance, instead of a full year of training, switch to an apprenticeship model where new hires learn from existing drivers, preventing them from completing a full year of training only to exit the industry after the first year. WorkHound customers like Dart Transit have found ways to innovate training programs while still conducting a thorough orientation. 

4. Provide accurate information to workers

Transparency as a company is one way to address the driver shortage. Clearly state all contractual agreements, for instance, clarify the independent contractor relationship with all drivers or identify and communicate grey areas in a driver’s experience. 

This will increase trust between your company and new or existing hires. Having contracts that favor drivers would also attract new hires. 

5. Use data analytics for hiring

A simple way to address the driver shortage is to use data analytics to transform all your company systems. 

It’s as simple as this: Collect data from your current workers, analyze it and gain insights into the areas you are performing well in, and underperforming, and use the results to inform your decisions. This can completely transform the hiring process, and give you valuable feedback on what benefits are valuable to drivers. 

At WorkHound, we help you through this entire process. It’s a partnership. We collect feedback from your workers, turn them into ready-to-use insights, and all you do is take action.

These are 5 steps you can take today to address the current driver shortage. Not only will they improve the company-driver relationship but will attract new hires into the industry.

If you’re ready to join us in addressing these industry-wide challenges, reach out today for a free consultation.


milan supply chain solutions

Heroes of the Hound: Milan Supply Chain Solutions

WorkHound Customer Q&A: Milan

There’s a famous quote from Admiral Grace Hopper that says, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’”

That’s an absolute truth — and one that helps guide the way that Milan Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., operates on a daily basis. You could call it their secret to success.

Heroes of the HoundIn an industry that is ever-changing, Milan takes intentional, continual steps to evolve. That’s helped keep the company going since its founding in 1969 as Milan Express.

Rachel Lovell, Vice President of People Operations at Milan, offers some insight about how the company finds success in recruiting and retention — and Lovell knows a thing or two about success. In 2019, she was named as the first woman to win Transport Topics’ Recruiting Professional of the Year.

WorkHound: What is Milan working on right now?

Lovell: We’re working on retaining our drivers — and how we’re going to crack the ever-growing question of driver recruiting. 

One of the things we pride ourselves on is that we are “outside-of-the-box” thinkers. We are challenging conventional thinking.

We hear every day that the driver shortage is real. We’ve known it was coming for a long time. But what are we going to do about it? How can we improve the driver experience at Milan?

WorkHound: What role does WorkHound play in helping you improve driver experience?

Lovell: That’s really where WorkHound has done a phenomenal job. WorkHound, being the platform that it is, provides us with unfiltered responses from our drivers — the good, the bad, the ugly. 

It’s what we need to hear. We need to know what our drivers are going through while they’re on the road. Their experience is stressful.

One of the greatest things that WorkHound has done is that it’s enabled us to see feedback in real-time and take action. That makes such a difference for our drivers and our company as a whole.

WorkHound: What do you find helpful in your interactions with your driving team?

Lovell: Empathy plays a big role in the work we do. Empathy, I think, is a lost art and a lost emotion. A lot of people just push it under the rug. In 2020 when COVID-19 hit, people began to recognize just how important truck drivers are.

Everything would come to a halt in three days if drivers stop trucking. That’s something that really resonated with everybody, not only at Milan but also outside of our company.

You’ve got to put yourself in their shoes. You’ve got to realize that they are struggling some days. They may have a bad day. How can we improve that? How can we help? How can we improve communication and let drivers know that they can always come to us and we will help?

WorkHound: How does Milan handle change within the industry?

Lovell: I have always said: “I am a ball of change.” I love change. Change is inevitable, and it’s all in how you embrace the change. 

There’s always room for improvement, even if we’re performing at our top-notch and firing on all cylinders. That’s one way we’re setting ourselves apart. We’re very self-aware, and we know we’re not perfect. What can we do to improve at every step of the process?

Transportation is ever-evolving. If I think back to the 1980s and 1990s, about the stories that I hear from our drivers who used to drive then — everything is different. Seeing that the industry does change and asking the question “How are we going to change along with it?” is really what sets us apart. 

WorkHound: How do you use WorkHound in your everyday operations?

Lovell: When I look at WorkHound feedback, I look at it from the recruiting position. I try to see it from all angles — which division is it affecting, are we taking the right steps, do we need to push a little harder?

It all starts for me from the recruiting aspect. I’ll give you one example. A driver said, “I’m really not happy right now because of my miles.”

The first thing that pops in my head is: “We didn’t do our job on the recruiting end of making sure that we over-communicated and ensured that this driver was 100% certain of the job he was being hired to do.”

We have to make sure we are communicating clearly about these things, and improving the recruiting message to drivers is one step in that process. It’s all tied back to improving the entire driver experience.

We’ve also had some drivers comment on the driver lounge at our Jackson, TN, location, so we’re looking at how we can improve that lounge area. 

Knowing what our drivers are needing shows us exactly where we’re going to take action.

WorkHound: If you could share a message about WorkHound with other companies, what would it be?

Lovell: If we didn’t have WorkHound, there’s a good chance that the drivers’ voices would not be heard because sometimes drivers won’t take that extra step of calling somebody. If they can take this simple step of texting in feedback, they know they’re going to be heard.

Our upper managers have made it clear that “we hear you” and “we’re going to make these adjustments.” No suggestion goes unheard. 

Our goal is to grow. We want to expand. Being in tune with what the driver base is seeing is essential. As you grow, you experience pains along the way. WorkHound is going to be a partner that is going to help us alleviate those growing pains.

WorkHound is not going to single-handedly change your company. But WorkHound is going to provide you with information and the tools you need to make those changes. That’s the honest truth.

Milan 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.