Earlier this year, we unveiled a report about driver feedback trends from professional drivers across the board during 2019. It provided an insightful look at what drivers need and want.
But 2020, of course, has brought many changes. The COVID-19 pandemic, an unsteady economy, and shortages of many essential items have had a significant impact on everyday life and work for truck drivers. In many cases, that’s changed their focus — and their feedback now is a bit more targeted and specific to the unique challenges they’re facing.
What hasn’t changed, though, is that equipment continues to be a topic of frequent feedback. In 2019, equipment ranked as the second-most common source of feedback, and as the pandemic unfolded, we still received plenty of comments about equipment — and we even noticed that what is to be considered “equipment” has evolved.
Feedback related to equipment encompasses anything related to the tools drivers need to do their job. This can include the truck specifically and its condition, the truck’s electronic equipment, and any troubles drivers are facing with maintenance and repair needs.
Comments and concerns in the equipment category are often urgent because when they aren’t solved promptly, drivers find themselves with unwanted downtime.
“Time is money, and long delays in the shop are more than just an inconvenience,” says Max Farrell, CEO of WorkHound. “Drivers view this as a potential threat to their livelihood. We received hundreds of comments about trucks being in the shop for weeks or even months, and this can be a stressful time for drivers who are anxious to get back to work and anticipating steep bills.”
Beyond the immediate need for repair work to get their trucks back up and running, many drivers consider their equipment a source of pride. Taking actionable steps to help ensure their equipment is working well and in good condition is one way that trucking companies can build trust and gain respect from their drivers.
“Good, well-functioning, clean equipment is important to many drivers and a big factor in their job satisfaction,” Farrell says. “Companies that understand this and respond accordingly earn the respect of drivers and give them greater reason to stick around.”
We mentioned above that equipment feedback relates to any tools that drivers need to perform their job. Interestingly enough, the definition of equipment has evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While equipment feedback previously revolved primarily around the truck itself, equipment needs now also encompass personal protective equipment or PPE. Drivers need PPE to help protect themselves when on the road — and they also need help navigating protective equipment requirements in the locations where they deliver.
“Drivers are still giving us feedback about their equipment,” Farrell says. “But now that feedback is also related to personal protective equipment. PPE is now a part of performing their job, so they’re expecting employers to stay on top of things and ensure they have what they need. They need PPE that’s effective, well-maintained, and easy to access.”
Companies are meeting this need in a variety of ways, but regardless of how you provide PPE, what’s important is that you prioritize the safety and well-being of your employees.
“The CEO of one company we’re working with asked his mom to make face masks for all of the drivers,” Farrell says. “Together, they made about 500 face masks. He said, ‘It’s a family-first business, and we got our family involved.’”
In all the trends data we share, one of the most common threads is that drivers are people who need to be considered and heard. We’ve encouraged empathetic leadership during this time of crisis, and we love this example of empathy at work to solve real-life problems.
Stay tuned for more news about what’s trending in feedback — a new 2020 feedback update is coming soon! Ready to put our feedback tool to work for you? Sign up to talk with an expert to learn how we can help.