Respect: The Secret to Empowering Driver Success

Respect: everyone needs it, yet it can be hard to give. Many employers try to show respect exclusively through a paycheck. As if payment alone is enough to show that your people are worthy.

News flash—a paycheck isn’t respect. It’s just compensation.

To really get more from your people and boost turnover, it’s time to double-down on showing respect for your people. Here’s why and how to do it.

Why Showing Respect Is So Important (Yet Tricky)

As Jennifer Deal explains in a Wall Street Journal article, one of the big mistakes leaders make is believing that they know exactly what respect looks like.

The problem is, while people know what respect looks like to them, they don’t necessarily know what it looks like to others, because not everyone sees respect the same way.

As the owner of a trucking company, your drivers show they respect you by showing up to work, doing their job and pitching in where needed.

But how can you show respect to your drivers? Why is it even necessary?

Respect is necessary because your drivers have a choice to work where they want to, and they’ve chosen you. It’s up to you to keep up that end of the bargain by proving to your drivers that you respect them in the most meaningful way.

According to research from executive advisory firm CEB, the top three things employees look for when seeking a new job are stability, compensation, and respect. Your drivers value respect even more than health benefits or work-life balance.

So, when you fail to show respect, companies can create massive issues.

What Happens When You Fail to Show Respect

While respect might look different for one person than another, there’s a clear thread that connects everyone’s different concepts: having their voice heard.

Everyone wants to be listened to. And when their voice isn’t heard—or that bond of respect fails to happen—people leave. Respect and appreciation are what staffs have consistently stated as the number one item they lack but desire in their work, and is a major reason for turnover.

By the American Trucking Associations’ estimation, annual driver turnover hovers at nearly 100% at larger carriers. It  costs $5,000 to $8,000 to recruit and hire one driver. At this rate, driver turnover can easily cost a 200-driver operation more than a million dollars.

Even if just a few of those departed drivers leave due to lack of respect, that’s money out the door for your company.

But how can carriers build a culture of respect? And how can they demonstrate respect on a day-to-day basis?

Feedback: A Key Way of Showing Respect

According to a Harvard Business Review article, no other leadership behavior has a bigger effect on employees than demonstrating respect.

How should trucking leaders show that they respect their people? Give them an opportunity to make their minds heard—and close the feedback loop by following up on what they have to say.

When you use a powerful driver feedback platform that lets your drivers share crucial information—what troubles them, what helps them do their job and more—you get feedback that can then be used to optimize your business and retain your people.

And that’s a perk that deserves serious respect, and it’s one everyone can agree on.

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