This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this. In fact, several truck drivers we have spoke with have shared this sentiment. They have no idea what the company’s culture, customs or goals are. They could care less about their fellow employees. Most importantly, they feel no connection to the company they are driving for. This is a major issue when it comes to driver retention.
Think about the motorcycle industry, who is the first company that jumps to mind? we’re going to guess Harley Davidson immediately pops up (and not just because it’s on the title of this blog). Harley has become more than just a company selling motorcycles, they’ve become a way of life for their customers. They have a cult-like following of people who feel so passionate about the brand that they regularly wear Harley gear, join Harley groups, get Harley tattoos and of course ride Harley bikes.
Now think about your trucking company. What if you could create this type of brand loyalty? This type of culture? What if you could have a group of drivers who would never think of driving for another company because they have so much pride in your company?
This isn’t something that can happen over night but it should be something your company is always striving for. This will help with retaining drivers, keeping trucks running, saving money and creating an all around better culture within your company.
To build a brand that your employees will be proud of, start with these simple tips:
Emphasize pride early: From the very first interview, highlight how much pride you feel for your company. An easy way to do this is to tell a meaningful story about your experience with the company. If pride is engrained in new hire’s head from the beginning, it will be more likely to stick with them. It is a lot easier to train employees with the culture you want and have them grow with it, rather than try to force it on them later.
Have high expectations: Don’t just hire anyone! Because of the driver shortage happening in the industry right now, it’s easy to start hiring whoever applies. You must be thoughtful about who you are hiring. You don’t want to hire an employee that isn’t motivated, doesn’t have similar values to the company, or has been hopping around to different carriers. This employee will not be loyal. Harleys aren’t for every biker, the same way that your company isn’t for every driver. During the interview process share that you have very high expectations for drivers. This will show new hires that they were chosen for a cultural fit and not just because your company needs more drivers.
Use top employees as advocates: You most likely have drivers who really enjoy driving for your company. Use these drivers to advocate for you to other drivers and, especially, new hires. If employees feel the pride coming from their fellow employees they will start to pick up on that vibe. The more it spreads throughout employees, the easier job you’ll have.
Hold occasional company gatherings: Getting large groups of the company together to partake in something fun and relaxing can go a long way in having loyal employees. This may sound like an expensive idea, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as easy as cooking some burgers and hot dogs at the terminal on occasion. Some carriers even pull out lawn games to compliment the fun. Plus, if this keeps your employees happy, it will save you money in the long run.
Focus on retaining, rather than recruiting: This technique is something that Harley Davidson does with their customers. Instead of focusing all their efforts on gaining new customers they give a significant amount of attention to existing customers. If you start to shift your focus more on existing drivers, the need for recruitment will start to slow down. Drivers want to be recognized, respected, and heard; show drivers that your company is focused on these three things and they’ll start to feel a sense of pride driving for you.