In the past year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trucking industry has seen tremendous challenges — and shown incredible resiliency as the world has learned that drivers are essential.
And communicating effectively with them is even more essential. For TransLand, a premier transportation company based in Strafford, Missouri, this is a lesson the company has long known but that became even more important in 2020.
David McCormack, Director of Operations at TransLand, recently sat down virtually with our WorkHound team to provide some perspective about the importance of meaningful feedback.
WorkHound: What’s the role of WorkHound in your organization? How did you find your way to working with WorkHound?
McCormack: We’ve been at this for a little bit. We had some folks of ours at a convention and ran into the WorkHound rep. When we debriefed after the conference, WorkHound came up.
We were looking for ways to reach out to our drivers, and we wanted to be able to gather feedback. The role of WorkHound is to give our drivers another way of giving us feedback.
Sometimes they want to share about a specific issue, sometimes it’s just more about how we’re doing.
The fact that WorkHound is anonymous is a big factor for many drivers. They can put their voice out there and not have it known who they are, which keeps the threat level low.
WorkHound: During the COVID-19 pandemic, how has driver feedback helped you maintain a positive company culture
McCormack: Having driver feedback really allowed us to know what drivers needed and what they were experiencing.
Last year when all this started, we got together as a company and said we didn’t want to have 40 or 50 trucks empty out here. So we decided that in the second quarter, we’d gather up information about drivers who had been here for a year, average out their pay over that time period, and pay them no less than that average amount, even if they were driving less. There was also an amount they were incentivized for anything above that.
It really was nice to say a) we want you to keep driving because you’re essential and b) you don’t have to worry about pay, because this is the amount you’re going to get during this quarter.
WorkHound: What would you say has been the biggest benefit of partnering with WorkHound to gather employee feedback
McCormack: There’s a couple things. When we get our weekly report, I’m eager to see what negatives we get. I want to attack those first. It gives us an opportunity to see those things.
We can also get a good gauge on the metrics — on what our satisfaction level is. It’s nice to see us up there in the high 7’s. During the pandemic, a lot of times, we were in the 8’s. It’s pretty cool, and once you get into the 7’s, you don’t want to get out of there. We’ve found that the more we reach out, the better.
Our goal is to see 9’s in that satisfaction score. It tells me that there’s something out there that’s right. Without WorkHound, we wouldn’t really ever have weekly metrics like we’re able to look at.
We have to follow up with drivers. As we follow up, drivers find that we really do care. They know that we are taking action and paying attention to them. It keeps us communicating with our drivers and helps us know the good, the bad, and the ugly.
WorkHound: Are there specific actions or improvements TransLand has taken as a result of driver feedback?
McCormack: There’s a particular model of truck that we have that was really struggling to achieve the miles-per-gallon incentive, which is one of our quarterly incentives. At the end of the fourth quarter, if you were at 7.78 mpg, you were at the first tier — your incentive — and that would pay out. At 8.3, you were at the second tier, which would pay out even more.
We were hearing feedback from drivers, “Hey, my driving habits haven’t changed. I’m in this truck, and I don’t know what it is, but I can’t hit the mpg and I’m not going to get the incentive.”
Based on that feedback, we got the manufacturer involved and asked them to take a look at it. Then we went back and added a couple of new rules for that model truck and that year, adjusting the mpg goal from 7.78 to 7.50.
If driver behavior didn’t change based on our look at their cruise control and history, we went back and awarded our drivers the incentive.
This is the right thing to do, and this is the fair thing to do.
TransLand is part of a community of carriers that utilize continuous and anonymous driver feedback to help understand areas of priority and praise for their essential workforce. Are you a Director of Operations who also wants to put this into action for your company? Reach out to WorkHound today to talk with an expert.