When Gantt Trucking, Interide Transport, and Sunco Trucking joined forces to form “Cold Carriers” in January 2017, an emphasis was placed on preserving the driver-focused culture at each company.
“There are two kinds of people that work in trucking: There are drivers and then there’s the rest of us that support them,” said Dave Wiebush, General Manager at Cold Carriers. “Drivers are the center of what we do and it takes a bit of drive to connect, but WorkHound helps us get there.”
Each acquired company operates separately in three separate locations with separate pay structures and benefits, but they share 258 drivers located across the U.S. This means during changes in the Cold Carriers transition, communication has been more important (and challenging) than ever. What is meant to be a distributed company could very easily feel like a splintered workforce.
For starters, drivers wondered: “Who do we work for now?” And with locations in Utah, South Carolina, and Florida: “Where is our home terminal?”
Due to a number of factors (be it pride, proximity, or communication barriers), drivers often didn’t feel comfortable asking these questions until they had the chance to do it anonymously.
In distributed workforces, workers can struggle to share challenges that are easier to discuss in daily face-to-face interactions. Without a clear strategy for learning about these issues, little annoyances can grow into big problems for employees and a company’s bottom line.
“I can’t think of a better system to draw out these honest communications,” said Wiebusch. “We all need feedback. It’s a gift and one of the most important tools we have and use at Cold Carriers. We talk about the feedback constantly. It’s helped us learn and gives drivers the chance to be heard.”
In addition to a platform to present feedback, Cold Carriers can also ask permission for a one-on-one conversation if a driver chooses to reveal his or her identity. Of 139 drivers that have agreed to discuss the feedback they have provided in the last six months, 131 have been retained.
“Cold Carriers is on an upward trend right now company-wide, and that speaks for itself,” said Wiebusch. “WorkHound is a big part of our retention efforts. It helps the company solidify relationships with drivers by taking their feedback to heart, reacting to it, and turning it into action.”
With a nationwide driver shortage and turnover skyrocketing to 95 percent across the industry, it’s even more important for companies to understand what matters to drivers and what can make them stay.
“The most critical thing is the speed at which we react to what drivers provide us,” said Randy Savoy, Chief Operations Officer at Cold Carriers. “It’s important we’re reaching out as soon as we see it. The worst thing you can do is to receive feedback and be slow to respond. For any employee, it can feel like you’ve been ignored.”
Ultimately, Cold Carriers uses WorkHound to intercept driver moves by quickly tackling specific feedback with action. Most recently this effort has led the company to enjoy a quicker training phase, more efficient maintenance, and additional operations personnel, but Savoy says a drive to be better communicators has been the biggest win.
“It pulls us together in terms of communication and it sparks drivers the confidence to know that they can comfortably communicate with office members,” said Savoy.
In addition to initiating one-on-one conversations with drivers when they reveal their identities, Cold Carriers respond weekly to all driver comments with a broadcast to announce feedback-inspired changes, debunk rumors, or clarify otherwise confusing processes.
Anonymous feedback has also yielded positive comments, and Cold Carriers uses this feedback to maximize recruiting efforts while sharing referral incentives in weekly broadcasts.
WorkHound bridges a critical communication gap, especially for companies like Cold Carriers experiencing ongoing changes. Companies are using the data from honest, anonymous driver feedback to better listen to and learn from their employees while mending and building upon already strong internal relationships.
“I’ve always had a picture in my mind that there’s a wall between drivers and dispatchers, and drivers have to climb up a ladder to peek over the wall. WorkHound gives me the tools to chip that wall away between driver and dispatcher,” said Savoy.