When the Going Gets Tough: How to Navigate Challenging Conversations

Sometimes, conversations can be just plain hard. We often consider tough conversations as the ones employees have with managers, but the conversations managers have with higher-ups to advocate for their team members can be just as stressful.

That’s definitely the case when you’re in the position of needing to address feedback that necessitates change. Change is never the easiest topic to discuss — and change accompanied by a required investment of time and/or money can be especially challenging.

But just because the conversation might not be the easiest doesn’t mean it’s not an essential one to have. Whether you’re working in human resources or a management role, occasionally issues crop up that require problem-solving and the insights of multiple levels of your organizational leadership.

Learning how to approach those conversations is a key part of maintaining a cohesive team, hiring and retaining effective employees, and getting stuff done. Read on as we offer some tips on how to smooth out those conversations and make them more successful.

When Tough Conversations Are Needed
Let’s start by considering why these challenging conversations come up in the first place. In many cases, discussions about big changes are the result of feedback from frontline workers.

Consider this: When an employee provides feedback of some small change that would make life easier (think a simple process improvement that will streamline your department’s workflow), that change is likely fairly easy to implement. It might require sign-off from leadership, but probably not a ton of conversation about why the change is needed.

But in many cases, team members have feedback about desired changes that are bigger picture and require a major investment or change in processes or protocols. When you’re the person receiving that feedback, how do you make that happen?

It starts with having the right mindset.

“The most important thing to think about is why your company is asking for feedback in the first place,” says Max Farrell, WorkHound CEO and Co-Founder. “You’re not looking to validate how things already are...you’re looking to discover ways to improve the way you work. So you need to be ready when that feedback comes.”

Now You Have the Feedback, So What’s Next?
Once you’ve received challenging feedback, your next step as an advocate for your team is to determine how to broach the topic with your directors. Consider the following tips to make your meeting a success:

  • Go into the meeting with confidence. Your job, after all, is to listen to the feedback of your company’s employees and take a stand for their well-being and needs. If you are confident in the legitimacy of what they’re requesting and how it will positively impact the business, this should help you deliver your message with composure.
  • Arm yourself with information. Before you address the topic of making significant change within your company, first make sure you can show the proof to the person or people you’re speaking with. Part of that is having a record of what your employees are saying — that’s one area where tools like WorkHound are essential, providing you a feedback mechanism that allows you to clearly document requests.
  • Know what change needs to be made. It’s important to be clear about the required level of investment, and it never hurts to offer up multiple options. Go into your conversation prepared with more than one idea, including smaller, yet impactful changes that could also result in change for your team. But be certain that any changes you’re proposing would have a real and meaningful impact.
  • Anticipate the reaction and prepare for it. It never hurts to think through every reaction that a person could have to an idea you’re presenting. Once you’ve laid out the possibilities, decide how you will respond to those reactions. In other words, know your next steps.

“You’re asking your team members for their feedback for an important reason, so remember that when it’s time to have a tough conversation,” Farrell says. “When you take feedback and use it to affect positive change, you show your team members that their voices are heard and that their feedback — even regarding challenging topics — is taken seriously.”

WorkHound provides you with the feedback mechanism you need to truly hear and understand your team members’ concerns. Ready to put that into action for your business? Contact us today for a demo!

What to Know About Pet Policies in Trucking

“Happiness is coming home and knowing your dog is there to greet you.”

We aren’t sure who coined that quote, but for many of us, coming home at the end of the day to a pet is one of our greatest joys.

So, imagine if for many days of the year “home” was in a truck. Wouldn’t you want your pet along for the ride?

That’s the case for many truck drivers these days, who are looking for trucking companies that allow pets onboard their vehicles. It might seem fluffy, but it’s become a much sought-after benefit — and it’s one that may lead to increased driver loyalty in a high-turnover industry.

If your company has been considering a pet policy, we’re weighing the pros and cons, as well as sharing some of what we’ve seen with WorkHound clients.

What Drivers Are Looking For
The very nature of truck driving often leads to drivers adopting a pet, and they logically want to take their pets with them on the road.

“Part of it is loneliness,” says Katie Love, Customer Success Manager at WorkHound. “Drivers are out for several days at a time, and it’s nice to have a companion. In some situations, a driver is able to take his or her partner on the road as well, so if they have a pet, it’s just easier to also take the animal on the road with them.”

There’s also a growing prevalence of support animals trained to assist people with managing medical conditions, both physically and mentally. In some instances, drivers need to take an animal on the road for those reasons.

“It’s all about keeping up with the trends,” Love says. “Lots of companies already have pet policies, so drivers are using that as leverage to advocate for similar policies when they begin working at a new company.”

Is a Pet Policy Right for Your Company?
While a pet policy is something many drivers are looking for, having one is not always an option for some companies. That’s often due the logistics and legalities of what’s being carried on the trucks.

“Some companies simply can’t have pets because of the type of freight they’re carrying — any type of food products or animals — due to the risk of cross-contamination or disease,” Love says. “In other situations, drivers may be in and out of their trucks regularly, presenting a situation where they could be potentially exposing an animal to excess heat. That simply wouldn’t be a safe space to keep a pet.”

Your insurance provider will also need to weigh in on the potential for allowing pets on board since in many cases they are considered a potential distraction or liability.

“Insurance companies may think that a pet is a distraction on the road, or they may think that some types of animals are overly aggressive or potentially dangerous,” Love says. “Some insurance providers will allow animals under a certain weight or of certain breeds.”

Beyond these considerations, listen to the feedback you’re receiving from your current and potential drivers. Do your best to carefully balance the requests of drivers with the logistics of whether a pet policy is a possibility for your business and what it should entail.

“We have a handful of companies that have pet policies,” Love says. “One, in particular, implemented their policy because of driver feedback, and we have several others who are weighing the options. It’s top-of-mind for drivers these days.”

Wish you could gather feedback more easily from your team of drivers? Let WorkHound go to work for you. Contact us today for a demo!

Sustainability: More Than Just an Environmental Catchphrase

These days the word “sustainability” is thrown around a good bit. You hear it most often in reference to the environment and things like recycling and green living. But there’s something to be said for sustainability in the workforce, too.

“Sustainability can be viewed as a triangle. There are three sides and they support one another — environmental, social, and economic,” says Katie Love, Customer Success Manager at WorkHound. “Where social and economic stability meet is the idea that when workers feel secure in their jobs, they’re going to make better and longer-term decisions about other things in their lives, like saving to buy a house or simply eating healthy.”

A sustainable workforce is one that’s secure and sticking around — in other words, a team that’s committed to the business and a business that’s committed to the team.

In the grand scheme, this equals economic sustainability for your company, and with the recent string of closing trucking companies, now more than ever it’s crucial to evaluate your company’s sustainability.

If a business is committed to the team, then this is the key to creating and promoting a sustainable workforce.

Economic Stability in the Trucking Industry
Drivers in the trucking industry face unique challenges when it comes to big-picture goals relying on finances. One key challenge is a fluctuating income. What a driver earns one month may not be the same as the next month.

That may just be the nature of truck driving, but it also makes a negative impact on a drivers’ time horizon. A time horizon is the future time period for which people are making decisions. Often times, salaried workers can look ahead weeks, maybe even years, to plan for achieving life goals.

For workers on a fluctuating income, that time horizon could be limited to days, even hours. We all know at least one worker that was happy on Monday, something made them mad on Tuesday and then they’re at a new company by Friday, right? Expanding the time horizon also slows down the rate at which employees turnover.

When it comes to making a large-scale, economic impact, expanding the time horizon alleviates financial pressure from workers and allows them to plan farther ahead for larger-scale goals.

While this may be a familiar challenge, it is also an opportunity for trucking companies to step in and make a difference for their drivers. While drivers are accustomed to a different lifestyle and a fluctuating income, they still desire stability and certainty.

That’s where companies can make an impact — one that both supports drivers and sustains the workforce.

“Many drivers are in a career situation where they’re unable to make life decisions that will impact others,” Love says. “If companies are able to offer benefits that help drivers expand their time horizon, this shows that they are more valuable to the company than just what they provide immediately for the bottom line.”

What Drivers Are Looking For
In a recent blog, we shared the benefit of providing truck drivers with retirement planning help, whether that’s in the form of matching contributions to retirement funds or financial education.

But when it comes to benefits, retirement planning assistance isn’t the only need. Drivers are looking for help and security in other aspects of life, as well.

Health insurance, for both drivers and their dependents, is one key benefit that drivers are looking for. Offering opportunities for upward mobility or new positions, along with assistance in maintaining good health, are other ways companies can show drivers they are valued.

“It can be tough for drivers to maintain healthy lifestyles — they’re eating meals on the road, sitting for long periods of time, and scheduling routine check-ups is even more challenging with an inconsistent schedule,” Love says. “Some of the companies we work with have offered resources like wellness programs, which help drivers maintain wellness check-ups to prevent illness later on down the road.”

A wellness program may seem small, but this can really make a positive impact on driver morale as well as reduced downtime as a result of neglected health.

Above all, no matter what benefits are being provided, ease of accessing them can make a huge difference. It’s especially important to take extra steps to ensure a smooth onboarding experience for drivers that’s inclusive by helping them obtain health insurance and other resources they need to feel secure.

Case in point, Consider this scenario:

“We had a new driver share via WorkHound that he was unable to get his partner onto the company’s insurance, so he was moving on to another company,” Love says. “If that company had offered insurance for dependents upfront or some help with premiums, that company might have been able to save a valuable member of the team.”

Bottom line: Sustainable choices make employees happy. Happy employees stick around. They help increase workforce productivity. They advocate for your company. And they help build a competitive differentiator for your company to stand out above the rest.

Drivers are most likely to leave your business within the first 30 to 90 days of their employment. Are you hearing their feedback and offering solutions, or could you use a tool that would help you do just that? Reach out to us today for a free demo.

Is Retirement Planning the Key to Job Security?

For most American workers, retirement planning is a part of the conversation from early on in their careers. You enter the workforce with your first “real” job and shortly thereafter, ideally, you begin to put money away in a retirement fund, usually supported by your employer.

And while that’s a reality for many people, it’s often different for those in the trucking industry. But that doesn’t make it any less important.

Consider that retirement planning, through outlets like 401(k)s, stock options, or other retirement funds, does much more than allow a person to plan for retirement.

In fact, there's more to “retirement” planning than just retirement. When you’re able to set up an account and begin socking away money for your future, it opens up a world of possibilities for your present, too.

When you know that you’re setting yourself up for comfort down the road, you begin to plan a little differently — allowing you and your family to make decisions about your work, plan vacations, and even invest in big-ticket items such as a home or a car.

That’s why it’s essential for businesses, including trucking companies, to take steps to help their employees through the retirement planning process. It creates a sense of peace about the future, one that is truly invaluable for workers.

The Positive Impact of Retirement Planning for Truckers
The financial variables at play in the trucking industry are unique. Companies deal with a high rate of turnover, which can be detrimental for both employers and drivers.

“You can make a lot of money while you’re driving,” says Justin Jolls, Director of Operations at WorkHound. “But those opportunities are often few and far between. When drivers churn and move to a new company, it’s expensive for them and the company. During the transition between companies, a driver’s timeframe for earning is shortened, meaning potential income for a given month may be reduced.”

Beyond the financial considerations unique to trucking, drivers are also thinking through a different set of daily scenarios than most people. Offering them retirement planning benefits can allow them to broaden their horizons and find stability, making them less likely to leave a company.

“For drivers, they’re thinking through things like ‘where am I going to sleep tonight’ or ‘where can I eat,’” Jolls says. “Having a retirement fund or support in planning for retirement expands their time horizons so that they can make better predictions for the future. If they know that in 20 or 30 years, they’re going to be able to retire, they’re going to be able to make decisions with their lives that will better affect their future.”

How Offering Retirement Planning Benefits Businesses
There are many benefits for drivers when it comes to retirement planning, but offering support and services related to retirement planning also directly benefits companies.

Retirement programs don’t have to look the same for every business, either. One company may be able to offer a retirement plan with matching contributions, while another might provide education about financial planning and assistance opening a retirement fund.

Regardless of what shape your company’s retirement program takes, it’s truly the thought and investment that counts.

“Offering a retirement program of some sort shares with drivers that the work they’re doing now is important enough to you to invest in their future,” Jolls says. “That level of confidence and stability makes a real difference for drivers.”

This is especially important in that first 30 to 90 days drivers are working with a company when they’re most likely to leave if they’re unsatisfied.

“We know that the highest rate of turnover occurs within the first 90 days,” Jolls says. “If something doesn’t sit well with them, they’re going to begin looking for new opportunities. Having a retirement plan in place and explaining the benefits drivers can expect shows them they are valued and offers them an incentive to stick with your company for the long haul.”

Want to gain true insight into what your drivers need and want from your company? That’s what we’re here for. If you’d like to learn how using our tool could gain your organization the feedback you need, set up a free demo today.

The Top Perks to Boost Your 2020 Employee Benefits Package

Benefits. You want the best for your team, but studies show that the benefit packages offered often don’t match up to the perks employees actually need. The good news is that feedback can be the key to unlocking the needs of your employee benefits package.

What do employees really want?

As we explored this topic, we noticed several trends surfacing in a variety of the studies we reviewed:

Telecommuting and flexibility in scheduling: It’s no secret that we’re becoming more and more connected. As technology improves, we’re enabled now more than ever before to complete our duties remotely — and workers are noticing. Two of the top three most valuable work perks are more flexible schedules and the ability to telecommute, according to a recent Robert Half survey.

“Not every industry is going to be able to offer telecommuting as a benefit, but what we’re seeing is that even industries that historically could not operate remotely are using technology to achieve this goal,” said Cindy Wincek, Sr. Customer Success Manager at WorkHound. “Take telehealth, for instance. A quick search on a job board will uncover the growing demand for remote telehealth nurses, and many job listings highlight the ability to work from home. This also goes for telehealth as a service for a dispersed workforce. Make sure your employees can remotely connect with a healthcare provider.”

Transparency: Back in 2016, Glassdoor predicted that overall company transparency would give employers an advantage over companies that held their cards close to their chest. Why? From Glassdoor’s perspective, employees are searching for jobs much in the same way as consumers purchase goods. Consumers and job seekers alike search for reviews and additional information online — and if they come up short, they may feel there is something to hide.

“Requesting regular, ongoing feedback from your teams is one way to stay ahead of the game on this touchy subject,” said Wincek. “If you’re aware of issues as they’re happening, you have the opportunity to address them. When issues go unheard or aren’t handled properly, employees may turn to social media, company reviews, or other outlets that could dissuade a quality candidate from pursuing employment at your business.”

On the flip side, a company that has a positive presence feeds into this growing trend toward openness and mutual respect in the workplace.

Feedback as a benefit (for your employees and for you)

The common thread we noticed in all of these concepts is that requesting feedback from your employees can be a benefit to them, as well as to your business.

“If you’re using an anonymous feedback tool like WorkHound to solicit your employees’ thoughts and wishes, you’re no longer guessing about what they want or creating a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to your company benefits package,” said Wincek. “Instead, you’re opening the line of communication to allow your employees to provide regular feedback about what they like, what they don’t like, and what could be changed to improve your benefits.”

And through this exercise, you’re boosting your overall company culture, retaining talent, and attracting great new hires.

Talk about a work perk we can all support.

If you’re interested in seeing how WorkHound can be a benefit to your team and your business, request a demo today!

WorkHound Secures $1.5 Million Seed Round Funding

The fundraising round gives the feedback platform that reduces avoidable employee turnover the capital it needs to dive deeper into the supply chain realm, while expanding into new industries.

WorkHound announced today that the company has successfully completed a fundraising seed round of $1.5 million. The capital will, in large part, be used to add to the company’s technology team headcount and support its growth deeper into the logistics space and additional industries.

“To date, we’ve been fortunate to fuel WorkHound growth primarily with our revenues,” said Co-Founder and CEO, Max Farrell. “But as we eye an aggressive expansion into new industries, as well as building out our transportation and supply chain presence, raising a substantial seed round became imperative for us. This capital will enable us to hire more top-notch talent who will power us into the next phase of our company.”

WorkHound was launched in 2015 by Max Farrell and Andrew Kirpalani in Des Moines, Iowa. Today, WorkHound is a dual-office company with anchors in Des Moines, Iowa, and Chattanooga, Tenn.

How it works: The WorkHound platform enables employers to receive instant and anonymous workforce feedback so management can address those matters as part of their employee retention efforts. Initially, the company focused on the trucking space since driver turnover is a pain point experienced across that industry. However, as WorkHound grows, leadership is eyeing a rollout into additional sectors, such as non-hospital healthcare, that feature large distributed workforces.

"Among other positions, this funding will allow us to aggressively grow our engineering team. We have strong core talent and are excited to add several experienced developers,” said Co-Founder and CTO, Andrew Kirpalani. “We need more people on our team who consider the word 'average' to be substandard. This capital will allow us to attract and compensate those people appropriately. We have developed a roadmap of features to be implemented with cutting edge technologies like machine learning and we're eager to bring on the people that will help us deliver that value to our customers."

The fundraising round was led by San Francisco-based Right Side Capital Management, and included other notable funds such as SaaS Ventures, Stout Street Capital, Acceleprise, SpringTime Ventures, and Comeback Capital.

“We’re very excited about WorkHound because employee retention is such a pertinent issue in today’s work environment. Their customers are seeing dramatic reductions in employee turnover, which of course goes straight to their bottom lines,” said David Lambert, Managing Director of Right Side Capital Management. “We believe the WorkHound product is relevant to any industry that has high-skilled employees in high turnover positions. Their growth has been exceptional to date, and we see that continuing for a long time.”

For​ ​additional​ WorkHound ​information,​ ​please​ ​visit:​ https://workhound.com/
For any media-related questions or needs, contact:​ david@heedpr.com

Why WorkHound is telematics for drivers

The addition of computers into vehicles is still relatively new, dating back only a few decades. Over time, computing and data have steadily taken on a larger role in how vehicles perform, particularly in the trucking industry where vehicles can run over 100,000 miles per year.

That data, known as telematics, can seemingly do it all these days — helping us know how to drive more carefully and what’s happening under the hood. And that’s great because it helps us know and better understand how to optimize the performance of a truck.

But what if you could tap into telematics that would help you better understand how to optimize the performance of your drivers while also improving their job satisfaction?

Well, you can. Enter WorkHound.

Keeping a Finger on the Pulse of Employees

One of the biggest problems faced in hiring and retaining truck drivers is not truly understanding what drivers are facing at any given time. Couple that with a reluctance for employees to share their insight, a belief that leaving feedback is too difficult to explain, or it's possible they’re not even asked to share.

No matter the reason, the end result is the same. Without feedback, you can be completely unaware of why drivers are dissatisfied with some aspect of their work.

That’s why a tool like WorkHound is important.

“This is about maintaining a finger on the pulse of your personnel and keeping a general idea of what is going on with your workers at all times,” says Katie Love, Customer Success Manager at Workhound. “This tool becomes a part of your operations, checking in with employees to see what is going on, especially when you’ve brought on new drivers.”

But it goes beyond simply providing a method of keeping tabs on new hires. WorkHound also provides an ongoing and easy mechanism for drivers to share their feedback at any time, especially when they’re facing challenges.

“In general, the nature of the job of a professional driver is very hard,” Love says. “It is strenuous on the body and mental health — and ultimately, if a company isn’t working hard to nurture their people and make them feel they have a place and support, the drivers probably won’t be in it for the long haul. If a driver isn’t given the opportunity to vent, the driver will look for it in other places and could use social media or interactions with another company to damage your brand.

“On the other hand, if you give them opportunities for feedback and the driver has a more positive perception of being supported and heard, your company can reach out about that concern and have an honest, human conversation. It may even provide the opportunity to intervene.”

To date, when WorkHound customers have been able to have conversations with drivers who have revealed their identities, at least 90% of these drivers have been retained for an additional 30 days.

Regular Feedback, Not Just Occasional

While many companies survey their drivers every so often, it’s much more effective to have continual insight into how drivers are feeling and doing. When given the opportunity to share their feedback at all times, drivers are more likely to share when there’s an issue.

“We know that a driver can be happy on Monday, something ticks him off on Tuesday and there are so many available opportunities for drivers that they can have a completely new job by Friday,” Love says. “Real-time feedback is important because satisfaction can change so quickly.”

After all, you keep a careful eye on how your trucks are performing, so why shouldn’t you also know how your drivers are doing?

Ready to see how WorkHound can help keep your drivers satisfied with your company? Let us go to work for you. Talk with an expert today!

Negative Feedback: How to Tame Your Knee-Jerk Reactions

Let’s face it. Taking criticism is never easy, especially at work. But when you’re a manager, it’s your job to make good use of feedback — even when it involves you, your peers, or other areas of the business.

Having a leadership role doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but it does mean you’re called to a higher standard. And for good reason. When internal divisions persist at a company, the effect can be destabilizing.

“Negativity has a knack for spreading, particularly at companies that don’t take it seriously,” said Katherine Vanderford, Director of Customer Success for WorkHound. “When their workforce thins out and they start losing customers, the damage can be tough to reverse.”

Wherever your employee dynamics currently stand, it’s wise to consider your approach to feedback — both in how you request it from your workers and in how you react to it — long before an issue arises. The way you handle negativity sets the tone for everyone around you. And if being better in conflict feels overwhelming, don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to check your perspective.

The next time you catch yourself having a knee-jerk reaction, here are some practices to avoid and embrace:

Try to Avoid...

Letting emotions flare

Alright, it’s easier said than done. But think about it: How many times have you let your feelings jump ahead of the actual situation at hand? Whether it’s about you or a team member, oftentimes the best way to process negative feedback is to take a step back.

“If a worker leaves critical feedback about you or a cohort on your team, try tapping into your emotional intelligence before getting too carried away,” said Vanderford. “One piece of criticism is never the whole picture, so do your best not to take it out of context.”

Bottom line: When reviewing feedback, don’t put the focus on yourself. Your priority is to identify what the worker is saying, why it matters, and what you can do about it.

Rushing to point fingers

When uncomfortable feedback rolls in, never try to guess who’s behind it. If you spend your time trying to determine who said what, you’ll miss the point of the entire process. On WorkHound, communications are anonymous for a reason. That's why we leave it up to the worker to reveal their identity.

“People who ask for changes or clarifications are typically those who want to stay at the company,” said Vanderford. “If they don’t feel comfortable voicing their concerns, your company loses out on valid perspectives.”

And in many cases, an opinion expressed by one employee is actually the opinion of many.

“The goal is to build worker trust,” said Vanderford. “That means honoring the expectation of anonymity. Even if one of your reviewers is able to link identifying details to a specific piece of feedback, it doesn’t mean their assessment is correct.”

Try to Embrace...

Boiling down the message

If you find yourself getting defensive about a negative review, remember to try and strip away negativity to unveil important details. When you look closely, you may be surprised at what you find. A review fueled with negative emotions may have some valuable information inside.

“Don’t let negative language distract from the issues hiding beneath it,” said Vanderford. “Oftentimes when a worker has been harboring discomfort for a while, they’ll wait to speak up until they have reached a breaking point.”

For instance, an employee may have an issue with a time off policy, while also dealing with medical expenses they’ve incurred as a result of an ongoing health problem. This may lead them to leaving an emotionally charged message about their manager’s inflexibility with the sick time policy, when what they’re actually trying to suggest is more leniency or medical leave in times of need.

When you provide a solution to a long-standing issue, that negative becomes a positive and a great opportunity to not only keep a worker but to also grow your workforce.

Seeing feedback as an opportunity to improve your company culture

At the end of the day, taking criticism can be tough — but when you start to view it as a necessary and critical component to the forward momentum and success of your business, you and your team will only benefit.

“Feedback should be reviewed strategically in the work environment,” said Vanderford. “It’s a tool for tracking trends, understanding your workers, and adjusting your path forward. And not all adjustments require massive change. In some cases, simply acknowledging issues and taking small steps toward updating policies can make all the difference.”

Some changes are bigger than others. And sure, maybe you can’t always control how some of your workers feel. But understanding your influence over some of the underlying issues is a great place to begin building or enhancing your company’s feedback culture.

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

How worker feedback is the key to recruiting

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

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

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

How Does Feedback Help with Recruitment?

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

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

And What About Referrals?

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

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

A Strategic Partnership

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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

If you’re ready to take an eyes-wide-open approach to employee retention, talk with an expert today!

WorkHound’s Guide to Taboo Feedback from Professional Drivers

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

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

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

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

Speed Limits vs. Drivers’ Limits

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

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

Event Recorders: Good for Who?

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

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

Pay Grievances: Kick Uncertainty to the Curb

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

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

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

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

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

To Move Ahead, Talk to Your Workers

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

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