United Petroleum Transports: 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.


Truck Driver Retention Strategies

The Top 5 Truck Driver Retention Best Practices for 2020

According to industry data, truck driver retention is the most pivotal key to trucking company success in 2020.

While technology focused on collecting data on truck drivers has been all the rage, drivers themselves are revolting against Big Brother-esque technology (think dash-cams and ELDs) that provide scarce - if any - value to the drivers themselves while providing a ton of data to their employers.

In 2020, trucking companies looking to gain an edge must zig where everyone else is zagging by placing a profound emphasis on truck driver retention. The best way to do so? We are about to show you.

The Top 5 Truck Driver Retention Best Practices for 2020

The following is a list of truck driver retention best practices curated from years of research by the Workhound team and our established recruiting and HR partners like HireRight and DriverReach.

You can access deep dives on each of these subjects via our Resources page. But at a high-level, the main driver retention best practices you need for 2020 are below.

Truck Driver Retention Best Practice #1. Solicit Driver Feedback

Asking for truck driver feedback may not seem like a radical advance forward for truck driver retention, but in fact, it’s the critical first step.

 

themes by sentiment

Truck drivers may or may not be full-time traditional employees for your business, but they must be treated as such. Where most transportation companies fail is in taking for granted the need for their drivers to be heard - just like any other employee.

Your truck drivers are no different from your sales reps, your management team, your accounting team, and so forth. They move your business forward. Give them a forum to submit their thoughts and insights on how the business and running, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly the feedback will impact driver retention.

Truck Driver Retention Best Practice #2. Act on Driver Feedback

Once you’ve solicited driver feedback, the next step is to act on it. Don’t let driver requests, complaints, concerns, or suggestions sit idle in the truck bay. If their feedback is actionable and valid, act upon it.

If it is lacking understanding, let them know why. Enlist the help of your operations, recruiting, and human resources talent to formulate a strategy for responding to driver feedback. This is where WorkHound comes in.

Truck Driver Retention Best Practice #3. Build Dialogue, Rapport, and Trust

The goal of all driver feedback-based communication should be to create a dialogue and rapport with your drivers. Dialogue and rapport is a means to an end - the ultimate goal is to build trust with your drivers.

Honest, open, and authentic communication is key here, so is consistency and forum. Give your drivers a vehicle for clearing the air and expressing themselves to your management team. Collect insights from these conversations, so they can be used to influence future company practices and strategies.

Truck Driver Retention Best Practice #4. Provide Better Routes

Where possible, give drivers better routes that let them stay home more and avoid putting them on cross-country routes that lack consistency and proximity to their family.

Drivers have families, hobbies, holidays, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and the like to attend, too. Give them more opportunities to be present for those special events. Give them more opportunities to keep semi-regular hours and spend time with their loved ones. This move will engender loyalty for all kinds of obvious reasons.

Truck Driver Retention Best Practice #5. Pay Them Better

Before you invest in some expensive logistics data solution. Before you give your office employees a raise. Remember this:

Reinvesting that money into truck driver compensation is going to generate major returns for your business in the form of happier, better-incentivized drivers who are more likely to stay loyal to your company. It’s the best place you can invest your money in 2020.

truck driver recruiting

An important final point on pay: make sure your compensation plan is clear. Truck drivers value that as much as anything, according to our First-Half of 2020 survey.

More Resources on Truck Driver Retention

Looking for more insights? Check out the following resources on the Workhound Resources page.

Ready to make driver feedback and communication a massive competitive advantage for your transportation company?

Contact us to see how Workhound's driver feedback solution can make your truck drivers happier, more productive, and more loyal to your company. 


hr employee feedback

What Should HR Do with Worker Feedback?

Implementing a successful worker feedback program is about more than simply soliciting employee commentary. It's also about instilling confidence in workers that you truly want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. Afterall, only 13% of workers actually feel like their company values their opinion.

Feedback is a cycle — you take the first step by offering your employees the opportunity to share their wants and needs with your business. But what do you do with the feedback once you have it? There a few ways to answer this in order to build an effective feedback program, but you can think of it like this: Asking for worker feedback is good. Acting on it is great. And letting workers know they're responsible for the impact is the cherry on top!

The good news is, managing and responding to feedback isn’t an insurmountable task. Today, we’re sharing our thoughts about how your company can appropriately manage and respond to worker feedback.

What Happens When You Don’t Respond

Let’s first think about what it looks like to employees when a business doesn’t respond to worker feedback. Put simply — it’s a bad look.

“Lack of communication allows team members to create their own narrative about how you feel,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “They may imagine their employer is reading the feedback and laughing or rolling their eyes. Psychologically, everyone has an imaginary audience, and that allows them to misinterpret how their feedback is being received. That’s especially the case when no one responds.”

We all know that especially in situations of high stress, the imagination can run wild — and if you’re imagining that your employer isn’t taking your feedback seriously, you are much less likely to share your thoughts in the future. 

Another scenario also makes future feedback less likely: Employees may wonder whether their feedback was even received.

“Another assumption a team member may have if they don’t receive a response to their feedback is that it just wasn’t received in the first place — or that the company isn’t reading them at all,” Love says. “Not closing the loop results in assumptions.”

How to Respond Effectively to Employee Feedback

So, what does an effective response look like? Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all response and this will vary tremendously based on the individual circumstances and the company. 

But there are some basic components to effectively responding to employee needs and concerns. The way you respond will depend on whether the feedback is related specifically to the individual who gave it or if it’s broader in scope.

“The companies we work with manage response in a couple of different ways,” Love says. “Most commonly, companies will rank feedback by volume to determine priorities. When we see lots of feedback on a certain topic, that particular topic often becomes a priority since it’s related to widespread concern.”

When feedback drives change, it's also important to communicate with employees that changes are being made. 

“If it’s a high-priority topic that has become widespread, our Customer Success Managers work with companies to form a response that either the company ‘has received the feedback and this is how they’re going to take action’ or ‘they’ve received your feedback and here’s some more information about why things work this way,’ in order to communicate empathy and build transparency,” Love adds. 

When a concern is specific to the person providing feedback, the response can be more individualized.

“Feedback is often unique to the commenting employee — for instance, someone who has had a bad interaction with another employee or has a question that’s specific to their individual needs,” Love says. “If the company wants to communicate with that person, our service offers a resourceful message called a "One-Time Notification" that allows complete communications with the worker without requiring the employee to reveal his or her identity.”

The Quality All Effective Responses Share

While the way in which you respond to feedback will vary some, there’s a common and consistent characteristic of effective response: Transparency and Empathy.

“Companies should communicate that they’ve received the feedback, acknowledge that there’s a reason behind the feedback, and then communicate a plan to take action,” Love says. “If everything goes smoothly, then they can communicate again with confirmation of the action and its results. The key here is to communicate clearly, understand where the worker is coming from, and follow up as needed.”

Ready to begin gathering feedback from your employees? Sign up for a free demo to learn how we can help your business.


Why Building the Right Team Matters

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 Cindy Wincek, Sr. 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 Wincek. “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 Wincek.

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 Wincek. “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 Wincek. “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, talk with an expert today.


feedback increases retention rates

Fleetowner: Fleet takes driver feedback to heart

Roadrunner Freight, an Illinois-based less-than-truckload fleet, began asking its drivers for anonymous feedback back in April 2019. Since then, the fleet has adopted a “Ship it like you own it” mentality for its independent contractors and overall operations.

“The way we look at it is everybody has a part to hold as we move our customers’ goods across the country,” said Brad Sowa, Director of Driver Recruiting at Roadrunner Freight, during a July 1 WorkHound webinar on driver retention. “Everybody needs to ship it like you bought it. Every single shipment we touch, every customer we interact with, every contract we deal with, we have to feel like we own every single one of those transactions to lead to a better-quality experience for our customers.”

Over the last year, Roadrunner Freight has been undergoing a cultural overhaul, and, in an effort to eliminate driver turnover and increase retention, the fleet brought in the WorkHound team to help develop a feedback culture within the company.

Max Farrell, co-founder and CEO of WorkHound, explained that every week, Roadrunner Freight’s independent contractors are sent an open-ended text message asking how things are going. Drivers share how they feel about work and why they feel that way. Once that feedback is submitted, it is sent directly to Roadrunner on a dashboard so they can see driver priorities. Drivers also have the choice to reveal their identity through the platform.

“We have a pretty high rate where people want to reveal themselves, but it’s their choice, and it makes the communication even that much more impactful when we work with them as opposed to being on a defensive front right from the start,” Sowa said. “The unfiltered portion [of the platform] is probably the most important part because it’s great on the positive side when drivers are willing to say their names, times, dates and things like that. It’s also good on the other end where they give us some pretty blunt feedback. We can say well this person is passionate about it and they want us to fix it. That’s what we want, we want passionate people in our business.

“The biggest thing is you want to take it personal, but just personal enough that you can understand it and make a change,” Sowa continued. “You don’t want to take it too personal because that’s when you start to move down that path of taking it too far.”

“When it comes to measuring driver feedback, we know what gets measured gets managed, and we all know that when it comes to driver issues, a straw can break the camel’s back,” Farrell added. “When a driver does decide to reveal their identity, a timer starts. If a driver stays an additional 30 days after that issue is addressed, we count that as a success. At Roadrunner, there have been 328 retention opportunities so far, where nearly 95% of drivers have stayed at least 30 days after their issue was addressed.”

Retaining drivers

Over the past year, Roadrunner has been collecting feedback and tackling issues head on to retain its high-quality drivers. In order to do that, the company had to put in place processes to handle feedback.

Roadrunner began by separating driver feedback into three buckets: immediate, short- and long-term issues. From there, the fleet worked to resolve the problem by determining what needed to be done and recapping weekly.

“By doing that, we keep it fresh, especially for the long-term, because it doesn’t fall of our radar until it’s resolved,” Sowa explained.

Roadrunner has also made several cultural changes companywide over the last year. The fleet has increased its direct communication with its independent contractor fleet by starting a monthly independent contractor newsletter. Roadrunner also improved settlement timing for independent contractors and matched independent contractor fuel purchases to specific trips. The fleet has also improved the cleanliness and organization at its facilities as a result of direct feedback.

Roadrunner has also achieved 93% service in its top 100 lanes over the past six months. Furthermore, the fleet has added more than 100 independent contractors year to date and decreased its rolling one-month turnover rate to 75% from roughly 140% this time last year.

When asked how becoming a feedback culture has impacted Roadrunner’s routine, Sowa said: “We’re quick to act.”

“If we have information from an independent contractor, from an employee, from a vendor or a customer, there are direct channels now for them to follow,” Sowa said. “When you talk about adding 100 independent contractors, that’s actually the net number, so that’s after turnover. We’ve drastically increased our fleet size.

“For us, to recognize where we want to go culturally, we have to understand where we are coming from, and we are not afraid to show it,” he continued. “No matter how unflattering that [turnover] statistic may be, it shows the progression. You can’t get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been, and we clearly know where we have been, and we refuse to go back there. That’s what I think this commitment shows.”

For more information about the communication strategy helping Roadrunner Freight execute a companywide culture overhaul, talk with a WorkHound expert.


TCA in Orlando

Visit WorkHound at TCA Annual Convention in Kissimmee

Visit WorkHound at TCA. Get a firsthand look at how WorkHound will improve your retention strategy at this year’s Annual TCA Convention from March 1-3, 2020 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center.

WorkHound is a real-time feedback platform that retains drivers before they call it quits. Learn about how it works and how it will positively impact your bottom line by visiting Booth #411 at TCA’s Annual Convention.

Want to jump to the front of the line? Schedule a free consultation with WorkHound at TCA by clicking the link below.

REQUEST A CONSULTATION

Additionally, don't miss the workshop hosted by Max Farrell, WorkHound CEO, about managing your carrier's online identity. For full details, check out TCA 2020.


spooky truck

A Truly Spooky Story About Feedback

The temperatures are cooling down and the leaves are falling… Halloween is upon us — the perfect time of year for a truly spooky story around the campfire, right?

Well, we’d like to tell you the scariest story — one about what happens when employee engagement isn’t a normal part of your business operations.

Though we have plenty of great examples of how companies are using employee feedback to drive meaningful change.

But we’ve also seen what happens when companies either don’t nurture a feedback culture or when they don’t use the feedback they’re given. Gather ‘round the campfire, friends...

Tales of Feedback Gone Wrong
You’ve probably heard the phrase “toxic work culture.” It’s been a spooky story all over the headlines in the last few years, shining a light on everything from poor hiring procedures to harassment in the workplace. It’s often cited as a key component of increasing levels of employee burnout.

Have you ever considered what makes a work environment 'toxic'? In many cases, issues within the workplace could be prevented — or at least quickly mitigated — if businesses were asking for, receiving, and using feedback from their employees.

If you ask employees what they need and want, they will tell you. But we know sometimes that can seem scary in and of itself.

“If you’re concerned about negative feedback and having to deal with it, consider that your employees could be leaving that feedback anywhere — online, on social media, on recruiting pages,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “Asking employees internally what can be changed helps make sure that feedback is coming to you, rather than going everywhere else.”

It’s vitally important to regularly ask your team for feedback about ways their experience can be improved, but it’s equally as important to make sure you’re actually listening to that feedback and taking action. Otherwise, you run the risk of your employees feeling like they’re not being heard.

“I’ve been an employee in an environment where I shared feedback that was just ignored,” Love says. “Asking for feedback in that case was just lip service — they wanted it to appear that they were listening, but then the feedback wasn’t acted upon. It felt like the leadership didn’t think my voice was important, and we've all been there. For me, I ultimately moved on to a place that valued my voice, and I wasn't the only one.”

Giving your team members the perception that their voice isn’t valued can have scary consequences for both retention and hiring. You need to show that you’re thoughtfully considering and using feedback to build trust.

“We find that employees put a lot of thought into their feedback, and if they don’t see action taken, they will lose faith and feel like they’re not being heard,” Love says. “On the other hand, when companies ask for feedback and then they take action on it, they’re building trust with their team.”

Making Feedback Less Scary
Partnering with WorkHound takes some of the heavy lifting out of asking for feedback and putting it to good use. Using our feedback mechanism can help your company organize comments and concerns and determine where to prioritize.

“We use the question ‘Is it a signal or is it noise?’ in our work,” Love says. “Something like ‘Today is bad’ can be noise, because it doesn’t give us a guide to take action. On the other hand, something like ‘Today is bad because I don’t understand my benefits package’ is a signal, since it allows companies to take action.”

WorkHound helps you determine what is noise and what is a signal — and to respond accordingly.

“We help companies sift through signals vs. noise, seeing the top comments and which ones really require action to make quick changes,” Love says. “This can help you prioritize when the sheer amount of feedback seems overwhelming — and it allows your employees to see that you are listening.”

Want to avoid a spooky story when it comes to your company’s culture? Feedback plays a key role — and we can help. Contact us today to learn more!


Turning Feedback Into Meaningful Action: 3 Key Examples

At WorkHound, we’re in the business of soliciting feedback and helping our clients act on it. And while feedback and action taken can look different from customer to customer, we wanted to share a few examples of successful programs that were created in response to feedback from drivers.

1. Pay structure. This one’s a big one since the trucking industry represents a significant departure from how pay works in nearly every other industry. Drivers often express concerns about the way pay is calculated or whether they’re set up for financial success. Companies then have an opportunity to make changes to allow drivers to feel more financially stable and solid.

“When drivers have expressed concerns about pay structure, some companies have taken that as an opportunity to reassess pay and consider new options, like a guaranteed compensation plan,” says Katherine Vanderford, Director of Customer Success at WorkHound. “In other words, if you’re available to do the runs but aren’t scheduled, you’ll still get paid at least a certain predetermined amount.”

2. Programs to promote mental health. Because drivers are often on the road for long periods of time, loneliness can creep in and often impacts driver performance. Another factor when spending lots of time driving is burnout, which can affect a person’s physical and mental health.

Companies can take action to combat both of these issues — for example, many companies have enacted ridealong guest policies or pet policies to counteract loneliness on the road. As far as burnout, several different approaches have been effective.

“Drivers who are over the road for a long time are much more likely to experience burnout,” Vanderford says. “If they’re burnt out, they’ll look for new jobs, and the company’s retention rate will suffer. Some companies have enacted specific days on/days off policies, while others have given drivers floating holidays, promoting time off to rest. It takes a little extra attention from companies to determine the best solution for this problem, but it can be as simple as encouraging drivers to take time off.”

3. Uniforms. The clothing drivers are required to wear is also a big topic of feedback, and you get feedback on both sides of the spectrum. Some drivers want a more casual look, while others are looking for a more professional appearance.

“Sometimes drivers will say ‘I want to be able to represent my company better and I don’t know how to put my best foot forward in my appearance,’” Vanderford says. “That has led to companies providing new uniforms — sometimes as simple as a T-shirt or a collared shirt — or we’ve even seen some companies decide they’re no longer going to force drivers to wear long pants since it’s so hot in the summer months.”

Ready to Implement a Feedback Plan?
Now that you’ve heard some feedback successes, you may be interested in beginning a feedback program at your business. The good news is that obtaining feedback from your drivers and other employees can be fairly straight-forward. Getting the feedback you need is usually as simple as asking.

“If you ask drivers what they need, they’ll tell you,” Vanderford says. “By starting the conversation and letting drivers know that the company is truly interested in what they want, it helps get good feedback. It encourages drivers to be very direct and specific in their feedback so that it’s actionable.”

Companies partnering with WorkHound have an additional tool that helps solicit this feedback in a way that helps drivers feel comfortable — and gets companies the feedback they need.

“Our questions open-ended to avoid introducing bias,” Vanderford says. “This helps make sure drivers don’t hone in and feel constricted to answer only about one topic.”

Once you’ve started asking drivers what they need to perform their jobs optimally and maintain quality of life, you’ll receive important information that can help you enact change. This might take shape in new policies and programs that can help retain existing drivers and entice new ones to join the team.

If you’re looking to boost your hiring and retention of drivers based on driver feedback, WorkHound is a great place to begin. Contact us today to learn about how your company could benefit from employee engagement!


Freight Recession? What You Should Know:

If you stay up-to-date with the latest in the trucking industry, you may have heard some hubbub over a potential freight recession. But is it something that you should really be worried about, as either a driver or a trucking company?

Well, the first thing to note is that there’s really no clear answer on whether there actually is a freight recession.

“There’s lots of argument about whether there’s actually a recession, whether we’re headed into one, or whether we’ve worked our way out of it already,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “What we do know is that there are between 10 and 15 trucking companies that have recently closed their doors unexpectedly. As you can imagine, this causes a bit of concern and uncertainty for both drivers and employers.”

With that in mind, what can companies do to keep an even keel and help drivers maintain a sense of confidence about their employment? That’s what we’re considering in today’s blog.

It’s All About Perception
With any large issue where there’s no consensus about what’s happening — as is the case with the freight recession — whether a problem develops for your company is largely based on how your drivers perceive the situation and how they’re treated.

That means that if your drivers believe there is a recession — even if there’s no recession actually occurring — they are likely to fear for their jobs and livelihood.

For your business, that means it’s even more important to create a sense of stability for your employees.

“In the short-term, drivers are looking for companies with the best opportunities as far as pay and benefits, because they equate these markers with security,” Love says. “If they simply think a company is about to go under, they might jump ship for another one.”

In this scenario, perfectly stable companies may lose team members simply because they haven’t been intentional in their interactions with drivers.

“It’s all based on perception,” Love says. “If a company isn’t communicating effectively with its drivers about what’s going on, drivers may become afraid and look for another company that seems secure.”

What Successful Companies Can Do
Now that we’ve established that there’s a natural fear and trepidation among drivers, we want to help you navigate your next steps. As a company, it’s important to assess the situation for your individual business and work to reassure your drivers and other employees.

Start by getting an accurate measure of what your company’s retention costs are and how much it costs to replace a driver. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, the Driver Shortage and Driver Retention are two of 2019’s top issues.

“If a company doesn’t have a strong knowledge of that information, they’re less likely to retain employees,” Love says. “We encourage trucking companies to always have a true understanding of those numbers. Once you familiarize yourself with those stats, talk with drivers to find out what they like about your company — and what they don’t.”

From there, demonstrate a will to change. You can take some basic steps to improve working conditions for your drivers, which can make a quick impact on retention and instill confidence in your team. For example, things like enhancing the driver’s lounge, restructuring pay, and upgrading equipment can all work to improve your drivers’ overall happiness with their jobs.

But what’s most important is to ensure that the steps you’re taking are the right ones — in other words, that they actually solve the problems your drivers are experiencing. The only way you can make these changes with confidence is to engage your team.

“We have a saying that ‘Communication breeds confidence; silence breeds fear,’” Love says. “Regardless of the state of the recession, it’s important to stay in constant communication with your entire workforce. From a company’s standpoint, communicating with employees, encouraging their workers, and instilling confidence are the biggest things they can do in the face of a potential recession.”

Communication is a two-way street, and WorkHound can help you stay in the know about your employees want and relay company messaging to your employees. Contact us today for a demo!


Making Sense of the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

When new regulations and guidelines are introduced into your work, like the new CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, it can feel overwhelming and full of uncertainty.

That’s why we’re taking a few minutes today to break down the answers to some commonly asked questions about the Clearinghouse and what it means for drivers and trucking companies.

Q: How is the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse different than what’s already in place?
A: Let’s answer this in two parts. First, the actual rule establishing the Clearinghouse does not change anything from what’s already in place requirement-wise in the U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines on drug and alcohol testing.

That said — what does change is where information related to testing and a driver’s records will live. Once in effect in January 2020, the Clearinghouse will be an easily accessed, secure database online for employers, state law enforcement personnel, state driver licensing agencies, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Those logging in to the database will be able to pull up information in real-time related to CDL and commercial learner’s permit holders’ drug and alcohol program violations. This will include both records of positive drug or alcohol results, as well as any refusals to take tests.

Also included in the Clearinghouse will be records related to the completion of a return-to-duty process and required testing plan, signifying a driver’s safety to return to the available workforce.

Q: What will the Clearinghouse mean for drivers?
A: As mentioned above, the guidelines for drug and alcohol testing aren’t changing. What’s changing is where those records will be stored and how they’ll be accessed.

There are a few key things for drivers to know:

  1. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has taken steps to ensure the protection of your private information located within the Clearinghouse. The information contained within the database can be accessed only by authorized users, and the FMCSA will be continually reviewing and updating security standards, as needed.
  2. The information contained within the database will be used only by the approved agencies and employers as needed to enforce current drug and alcohol testing standards.
  3. The Clearinghouse will notify you via email or phone anytime information related to your record is added, revised, or removed. There’s a petition process if any incorrect information is reported.
  4. To ensure you have access to your records and receive the notifications mentioned above, you’ll want to register with the Clearinghouse. You can currently sign up to receive a notification when registration opens.

Q: What will the Clearinghouse mean for trucking companies as far as hiring and retention?
A: The database provides employers a way to easily check that current and prospective drivers have no violations that prohibit them from driving. Through the Clearinghouse, you’ll also be able to easily report drug and alcohol program violations, including a driver’s refusal to complete the return-to-duty process.

There are a few key things for companies to know:

  1. In order to stay in compliance, companies must query a driver’s record during the pre-employment driver investigation and again at least once per year during his or her employment.
  2. It’s important to note that the Clearinghouse does not eliminate the need for employers to conduct drug and alcohol three-year pre-employment investigations. At this point, trucking companies still need to perform this investigation with a potential driver’s past employers.
  3. However, on Jan. 6, 2023, after three full years of information are stored in the Clearinghouse, it will no longer be necessary to do outside investigation. A query of the Clearinghouse database will then satisfy the requirement.
  4. Just as with drivers, businesses must also register for the Clearinghouse sometime this fall. You can currently sign up to receive a notification when registration opens.

When you work with WorkHound, you gain a partner dedicated to remaining in the know about the latest regulations and helping your team navigate them. Contact us today to learn more!