The saying is that “the only thing constant is change.” That’s entirely true, and change of any variety can be one of the most challenging aspects of operating a business.
Whether a company is facing change internally, like a leadership change, or changes beyond its control, like pandemic- or disaster-related issues or protocols, two-way communication is essential. Companies need to be able to communicate with employees, and they also need to be able to hear concerns and needs from employees. WorkHound offers the capacity for both.
Why is it so important to have an employee feedback platform in place while navigating change? Read on as we offer some perspective!
Most people have worked for an organization during a time of instant, significant change. Maybe you were employed by a business when layoffs were made, or when financial difficulties forced changes to the company’s benefits packages.
Regardless of the specific circumstances, change can be scary, especially when you don’t have leadership-level transparency into what exactly is happening. In most cases, employees are left feeling uncertain, without a place to turn for definitive answers.
If your company is walking through significant changes, you need to be able to offer your employees insight into what’s happening and you need to be able to field their questions and concerns. Knowing how your employees are feeling can help you determine next steps, too.
“Having a feedback tool helps you keep a pulse check on employee perceptions during a change,” says Katie Love, Director of Marketing at WorkHound. “In any business, when there’s a lot of change happening at once, assumptions will be made by employees. They may be wrong, but those employees will make decisions to stay or leave based on those assumptions.”
You may be familiar with the way WorkHound allows drivers and other employees to share comments, concerns, and questions with their employers. But did you know that WorkHound also offers methods for companies to communicate back to their employees?
Being able to carefully craft messages to deploy out to the entire team can be an incredibly helpful resource when change happens, whether internally or externally.
“A lot of companies use broadcasts as a proactive measure to alert workers about major business changes, like leadership shakeups, changes in cost of fuel rates, or market shifts,” Love says. “They use those messages to keep drivers apprised in those moments so they aren’t taken by surprise. The biggest problems occur when news is a surprise.”
In addition to having the option to send regular broadcasts, companies can also engage individual employees using an anonymous messaging tool after they’ve shared feedback. Both tools can be helpful in avoiding surprises and providing transparency, which ultimately builds trust.
“Communication isn’t going to change company culture overnight, but it has to be implemented incrementally so that when change comes, it’s part of the habits of employees,” Love adds.
We firmly believe that having a meaningful feedback mechanism is important at all times, but it’s especially important during times of change. The ability to give and receive feedback can be the difference between a company sinking or swimming during a sea change.
“For employees, being able to ask questions and share concerns helps build confidence in the work their employers are doing for them,” Love says. “The reality is that drivers don’t want to change jobs. This can help them clarify some of their concerns and understand that their assumptions aren’t correct, or it can help them shed light on issues that perhaps their company simply isn’t aware of.”
On the flip side, receiving feedback from employees helps employers know what needs to be changed or clarified.
“Leadership might not know the part of the leaky bucket that needs to be patched,” Love says. “Receiving feedback can help a company gain loyalty from employees as the company and the drivers work in tandem, rather than in opposition.
“While we get tons of positive feedback at WorkHound, we also know that a feedback program offers people the space to air grievances. Especially during times of change, we’re more prone to stay to ourselves, because we don’t know who to trust. You don’t know where the safe space is. This keeps employees from holding it all inside.”
When companies are facing financial difficulties, whether due to rising costs or due to decreased revenue, it’s natural to look for the “low-hanging fruit” of expenses to trim. But it’s important that tools that promote employee satisfaction remain in the budget, even when times are tough.
There’s good reason for that. Faced with the dual situation of the ongoing driver shortage and the “Great Resignation,” the costs associated with hiring and training a new employee to replace one who leaves are especially high.
Take, for example, companies faced with rising fuel costs. It can be tempting to put aside driver experience programs, like feedback tools or incentives. But in the long run, that’s not a winning strategy.
“Companies may think that because they are experiencing fuel cost increases, a feedback tool is an expendable part of the budget,” Love says. “But in reality, they benefit from tools that help retain drivers. Even if fuel rates are $8,000 one way on a trip, it still costs $8,000 to $9,000 to replace a single driver. Driver turnover costs haven’t changed, and there’s still a dire need to retain workers.”
Keeping a feedback tool in place can pay off in multiple ways during a time of economic fluctuation — you gain actionable insight into the fears your drivers have, you can communicate information with your drivers, and you demonstrate that your company is dependable and prioritizes drivers.
“Trucking companies can’t control fuel rates, but they can control what’s happening in-house,” Love says. “Control what you can control, and that’s what is happening in your environment. What companies can do in this case is keep their drivers happy. Freight still has to run, and you have to have drivers to accomplish that — no matter how expensive fuel is.”