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.


company culture

Driver Culture is Defined by Communication

Have you ever thought about the role of a feedback program for your trucking company's driver culture? For trucking companies, gathering feedback and taking action on it can fall pretty low on your large list of priorities.

But did you know that a feedback program can be the engine that keeps your trucking company on the road?

Using a feedback tool as the foundation of your overall human resource efforts can help you achieve your goals in a meaningful and efficient way. (Read: Cut that to-do list in half!) 

Let’s talk about why.

What Trucking Companies Are Looking For

When companies want driver feedback, what’s the reason? What we’ve learned is that regardless of the answer, what they get is even more important than simply feedback.

“Companies are looking for access,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “By nature of the business, leadership teams are miles away from their drivers — and from the inner workings of what drivers want and need. Gaining access to drivers and what they’re looking for in a driver culture and their daily work helps business leaders stabilize that environment and improve the overall culture while overcoming the rumor mill.”

As a continuous feedback mechanism, WorkHound provides trucking carriers with essential access. Knowing what drivers truly need and want helps remove assumptions, which are often expensive time-wasters.

“The best way to start any decision-making process is just to ask for insight from those who will be most impacted,” Love says. “If the decision is going to change the way things work, it’s all the more critical to ask drivers for their thoughts.”

There’s an added benefit to a tool like WorkHound, which offers drivers a chance to share their concerns anonymously. Because feedback collected through WorkHound is anonymous, drivers provide more unfiltered, honest input than they’d share in other formats.

Building Your Driver Culture Around Feedback

So, back to our overarching question: How does a feedback program fit within the overall culture of a business? 

“A feedback program is a point of entry,” Love says. “It can be a part of a company’s story. If you’re branding your company as an inclusive or family-oriented environment, you need to have a feedback mechanism in place that enables your team to help you truly communicate and include all stakeholders in your decisions, especially drivers.”

Basing your company’s decisions on what drivers actually need can help you trim costs, both in dollars and in time. And there’s another benefit, too: Drivers who are involved in the decision-making process will feel more valued, which in turn improves retention.

“Assumptions are typically made in a silo,” Love says. “You make them based on what you feel, based on your own opinions and biases without evidence. Offering an outlet for feedback allows you to collect information from all the drivers across your organization. You won’t need to make assumptions, which can help you skip a lot of steps because you know what drivers actually need.”

A Problem-Solver That Fits Within Your Programs

In many cases, when you’re implementing new programs or tools for your business, it involves some restructuring to accommodate. That’s perhaps what makes WorkHound most unique — there’s no need for an overhaul to add WorkHound as a service.

“We don’t work like consultants, who tend to come in and overhaul the way your team works,” Love says. “We simply aggregate information that already exists because it’s provided by your drivers. Companies can move at their own pace, setting expectations with drivers, and our team is present for support. Our tool helps companies amplify a driver culture that might already exist.”

That means that you can incorporate WorkHound into your existing program, whether it’s currently a success or needs improvement.

“It can be difficult to admit that things are broken, especially if you’ve put a great deal of time and effort into a system that isn’t working well,” Love says. “I think that’s why our customers are so happy with Workhound — we’re not here to poke holes in your driver retention plan; we’re here to inform it.”

Build your company’s culture around a meaningful feedback program. Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!


2021 trends

Trucking Trends for 2021: What We’re Expecting

What will 2021 bring? Well, if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that predicting even the immediate future in trucking trends can be difficult! 

But even though we know that everything can change suddenly, our team at WorkHound has seen some emerging trends in the trucking industry this year that we think will stick around. 

One of those is based on a bigger trend outside the industry: It’s that e-commerce is on the rise. In fact, an October study found that e-commerce spending was expected to reach $794.5 billion by year-end, an increase of more than 30% over 2019.

All of that shopping online leads to an increased need for shipping, which, in turn, directly impacts the trucking industry. It’s a shift that isn’t expected to go away any time soon, either: A recent article published by FreightWaves discusses the fact that up to 90% of people are likely to continue making purchases online and having them shipped to their home even after the pandemic resolves.

With this sharp increase in shipping traffic come some distinct driver needs. Read on to learn what we expect to see in 2021 trucking trends.

Innovations Around Pay

"Pay" is a common trend in driver feedback, but when the economy fluctuates as it did in 2020, the topic is amplified.

Drivers have many questions and concerns around pay, including hazard pay and a lack of driving time. Other common concerns include issues related to benefits and to detention, layover, or other versions of penalty pay.

How companies solve those issues — and allay driver fears and concerns — is important.

“Based on what we saw with drivers in 2020 and the essential needs of drivers, pay will still be a hot topic,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “But it will remain a hot topic in the same way as usual, ‘pay’ is really confusing. In 2021, I predict we’ll continue to see companies come up with more innovative solutions regarding how pay is handled and ways to address driver confusion.”

Enhanced Communication

Effective communication is an important piece of the puzzle for any working relationship. And when seemingly everything is changing, communication becomes even more important than normal.

Establishing meaningful tools, like WorkHound, that help establish two-way communication between drivers and trucking companies is essential. 

“The carriers that came out ahead in 2020 are the ones who are finding every possible way to quickly and frequently communicate with drivers,” Love says. “I think we will continue to see companies looking for new and innovative ways to communicate and gather feedback.”

An Emphasis on Home Time

As drivers will likely spend more time on the road to handle increased shipping traffic, it’s vitally important for trucking companies to keep a careful eye on their well-being. Ensuring drivers are able to enjoy home time is an essential part of that.

“Carriers are going to be finding better and more consistent ways to get drivers home time, which was the most urgent topic of feedback in 2020,” Love says. “There are a lot of reasons for that. But we know that too little home time leads to exhaustion, and is one of the biggest causes of burnout in drivers.”

Read the Driver Burnout eBook here.

Not prioritizing ample time off can lead to serious issues related to safety and retention — and may even trigger a reduction in the overall talent pool.

“If drivers don’t feel like they’re getting appropriate home time or that they’re missing important family moments, they may look to find a job outside of the industry altogether,” Love adds.  

Making Drivers a Priority

No matter what’s ahead in 2021 trucking trends, we’ll take one thing with us from 2020: a renewed appreciation for the incredible work that drivers do each day.

“Regardless of the circumstances, drivers remember how they’re treated in trying times,” Love says. “It’s important now more than ever to be highly intentional about how we treat our workers. Empathy is critically important, now more than ever.”

Looking for tools to improve your communication with drivers in 2021? Sign up for a free demo to learn how we can help.


driver loyalty

3 Ways to Improve Driver Loyalty in 2021

If there’s truly been a silver lining in 2020, it’s that essential workers in the United States and beyond are getting the spotlight they deserve. That’s definitely been the case for truck drivers, who have long been an underappreciated asset in keeping our daily lives functioning. So if essential workers are the most valuable employees, how can carriers improve driver loyalty in 2021? 

Retention is always a priority — and 2020 was no different. In fact, the American Transportation Research Institute’s survey of critical issues in the trucking industry found that driver turnover and driver shortage were the top two issues this year.

“Because there’s such a significant need for more drivers, drivers are working to their limit and beyond, and often become frustrated one day and have a new job the next,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “The good news is that companies are really taking ownership of this problem. We’re seeing a renewed focus on valuing drivers as the top asset for the companies we work with.”

To keep drivers, companies have to focus on building trust. Today, we’d like to share some ideas about how you can enhance your company culture and increase driver loyalty and retention in 2021.

1. Build Trust By Following Through with Commitments

This probably seems logical, but communicating a commitment and following through is an often-overlooked aspect of building and maintaining driver loyalty. Whether it’s while setting expectations during their initial hiring process or while they’re current members of your team, it’s essential to “mean what you say,” so to speak. 

“Making commitments to drivers and following through with them supports better communication and builds a better relationship,” Love says. “We’ve seen what happens when companies make promises to drivers and don’t follow through, and on the flipside, we’ve seen drivers who were very satisfied when companies were keeping them in the loop and communicating effectively.”

2. Be Conscious of Company Culture

You might think of company culture as only encompassing employees who are within the walls of an office space. But that’s simply not true. Company culture ultimately permeates every aspect of the work your employees do — and a negative company culture can ultimately lead to driver turnover. And, despite the distance, drivers feel the effects of a toxic office environment. 

“It’s really important to be aware of your company culture,” Love says. “One bit of feedback that we received in Q3 and are still seeing in Q4 is that drivers are becoming more conscious of how members of the team interact with others in the office, even if they themselves don’t go to the office. They can sense interdepartmental conflict, and it really minimizes their confidence in their company’s credibility.”

Keeping a careful eye on how all members of your team are interacting with each other can make a significant impact on a driver’s perception of your company culture. 

“If you’re conscious of how your company is working together, that will trickle down and positively impact every member of your team,” Love adds.

3. Prioritize Driver Needs

The core of our work and beliefs focuses on gathering feedback and acting on it. Having a meaningful feedback mechanism in place can help ensure you’re really listening to your drivers and have a handle on their true needs.

Our research shows that drivers have one overarching need as we close out 2020: They’re looking for more time at home and with family, in some cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In others, drivers may just be experiencing burnout after a particularly difficult year. 

Programs such as self-dispatch, where drivers have some autonomy over when they’re going to be on the road and their pay, can help ensure your drivers are getting what they need to stay healthy and satisfied.

“Effective communication improves driver loyalty,” Love says. “Drivers are the eyes and ears of the company, so it’s crucial that you start the process of improving loyalty by asking for their input.” 

Ready to put WorkHound to work for your business? Sign up for a free demo to learn how we can help.


show drivers you're thankful

How to Show Drivers You're Thankful

Thanksgiving may mark the start of the holiday season, but it also serves as an important reminder — gratitude is a key component of a strong company culture. How can you show drivers you're thankful for their work this year?

You may have had an idea about what your drivers need and want when you reach the holiday season in a “normal” year. But 2020 is far from normal; needs and wants have shifted greatly throughout the year and continue to evolve.

That reinforces something that we firmly believe at WorkHound: Asking your drivers what they need and want will always provide better information than relying on your assumptions.

“We believe listening to their voices and allowing their voices to have authority about the work environment they want grants ownership to drivers and other workers,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “In doing so, you can really learn about what their greatest needs are. We can spend all our time and budget on things like gift cards and T-shirts, but sometimes all drivers want is to work with people they care about — and who care about them.”

What Research Shows Drivers Want

Listening to driver feedback provides an opportunity to get a good feel for how their needs are changing over time. That’s been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, and data in our Q3 trends report emphasized that.

“One of the most urgent topics that drivers discussed in Q3 was about home time,” Love says. “This is related to family and urgent needs, sometimes even related to COVID-19. They’re looking for companies to be diligent about making sure they have — and take — time off.”

This desire for increased home time sometimes reflects promises that were made to drivers before they were hired for a given company.

“We see a lot of times that companies will make a promise to a new hire, then break that promise, and this breaks trust,” Love adds. “When time off is used as a lure during the hiring process, it becomes especially important to ensure that home time is available on a consistent basis.”

Gather Feedback About What Your Drivers Want

If you’re looking to take action to express your gratitude to drivers this holiday season, your first step is collecting information about their true needs. You can do that in a couple of key ways using WorkHound.

“The first step is asking drivers to share their specific, honest needs, and doing this anonymously lets them know they’re not going to face repercussions,” Love says. “On the flip side of that, companies can also use their weekly broadcast to say something like ‘Here are some ways we’re considering honoring drivers this holiday season, share with us what you think would be most helpful.’”

Gathering insights can help you make meaningful gestures to show drivers you're thankful this holiday season and beyond.

“The main thing is: Every year, drivers need to be shown gratitude,” Love says. “But this year, of all years, carriers have to get it right. Be extremely thoughtful and intentional. Drivers will remember how they were acknowledged for their work during this trying time.”

Ready to raise the voice of your drivers? Sign up for a free demo to learn how we can help.


upt

UPT: Anonymous Feedback Reveals Honest Concerns

United Petroleum Transports (UPT) had retention problems at five of its customer service centers.

UPT manages a complex distribution network for fuel, oil, and chemicals with 16 facilities stationed throughout the South and Southwest. More than 500 trucks deliver product throughout the region, and it employs 800 people, 630 of whom are drivers.

The Oklahoma-based company operates under stricter regulations than other transportation companies due to the volatile nature of its cargos. Drivers at UPT must hold specialized certifications to haul these materials. Because of this, retention of its drivers, along with recruitment, are an ongoing concern.

Management conducted a tour of its customer service centers to assess issues identified by driver feedback using WorkHound, an anonymous mobile platform that helps companies elicit honest feedback from employees. UPT started using the service several years ago to learn from drivers across the fleet.

"One of the biggest challenges is communication. If not communicated correctly, the implementation of most plans can be misinterpreted and sometimes have the opposite effect of what you are trying to accomplish," said Holly Forsyth, Manager of Training and Recruiting.

She and other managers review feedback from WorkHound each week and formulate plans of action. Some issues might deal with small communications about benefits, while others may involve pay increases for certain areas, she said.

The retention tour of customer service centers allowed her team to better understand the issues affecting each facility. This strategy allowed them to proactively address problems that affect retention or could affect it in the future.

"The tour has led to many changes throughout the company as a whole," said Forsyth.

WorkHound isn't the only employee feedback tool UPT uses, but it may generate the most honest responses. The company uses in-house surveys and recruiter phone calls to drivers, and leadership has noticed that responses from those methods tend to deliver "more positive" responses from employees and don't always reflect what management suspects might be occurring at different locations.

Honest feedback has important ramifications for policy decisions that have to work at each level of the organization, especially for drivers who are at the heart of the business.

"Without the feedback from the people who are impacted daily by the decisions made by leadership, we will never know how truly effective the changes have been," Forsyth said.

She said driver retention and recruitment is a "messy catch-22," but efforts to improve the former have made the latter easier and more sustainable. Insights from WorkHound have helped UPT identify problems much faster, and drivers like to know their voices are being heard, whether it relates to positive feedback from a pay increase or concerns about a policy change.

While negative feedback is crucial to identifying problems, positive anonymous responses also help reinforce management decisions when they're the right ones."Leadership is able to use this feedback to truly understand the needs, concerns, and, what we sometimes forget — the things we are actually doing right," she said.

Currently, WorkHound is only used by drivers at UPT, but the tour reinforced the value of giving all employees a real-time voice in decision-making, and continues to help management get a better understanding of their organization from the bottom up.