How to Build Trust with a Feedback Program

feedback program

You’re probably familiar with the “Pandora’s box” fable. Because of it, “Opening up Pandora’s box” has become shorthand for opening up a door and letting in troubles. 

Occasionally we come across the concern that starting up a feedback program for your business can have a similar effect — opening up your trucking company for all sorts of negative feedback and repercussions. 

But the truth is: whether or not you open up the so-called “Pandora’s Box,” the driver feedback already exists. In other words, you can either ignore the feedback and give power to the rumor mill, or you can ask for the feedback directly and use it for good.

By utilizing a continuous feedback program like WorkHound, you’re much more likely to discover a pathway to solutions and a mechanism for building driver trust.

That’s because, ultimately, drivers are looking to know that they’re valued. 

“You hear a lot of conversations about whether drivers are loyal to carriers,” says Cindy Wincek, Sr. Customer Success Manager at WorkHound. “One reason the driver turnover and shortage is so critical, is that the industry isn’t being loyal to drivers.”

Establishing an ongoing process for communicating with drivers is an important step in both building loyalty and in proving your loyalty to your team of drivers. 

“Carriers that are showing loyalty to drivers are committed to giving drivers a voice, and those are the ones that are coming out ahead in the industry,” Wincek says.

Over time, as your drivers understand that you are listening to their voices and taking action on their feedback, trust builds and results in a stronger communication loop in the future. Drivers become more willing over time to share their feedback, and your feedback program becomes more constructive and meaningful.

The Proof Is in the Numbers

Consider the experience of USA Truck, which over time has collected the feedback of more than 1,400 of its drivers, sharing more than 4,000 total comments. 

“What we saw prior to engaging with WorkHound was that we did not have a good understanding of the driver experience,” says Nick Wakefield, Vice President of Human Resources, Driver Recruiting & Retention with USA Truck. “We didn’t know what was causing driver frustration, and our retention was out of control. Since we began working with WorkHound, we’ve gained valuable insight into the driver experience. We’ve truly been able to understand the triggers that were causing turnover, which has helped us lower that rate substantially.”

By working with their drivers to gather feedback and then taking action related to that feedback, USA Truck was able to get the most valuable buy-in — reduced turnover. 

Responding When You’re Not Ready to Take Action

A key part of building trust and buy-in from your employees is letting them know they’re heard. But what happens when you aren’t ready to take action yet? How can you respond to their feedback in a way that emphasizes it’s valued, but also acknowledges that the work in that area is ongoing?

“There are a couple of different ways to respond to feedback,” Wincek says. “Simply communicating is the most important part. You can respond with action — that’s the ultimate goal. But you also need to respond with empathy.”

We talked about empathy often, but it’s about truly listening and relating to the thoughts and emotions of the people who are sharing feedback. By providing clear, transparent responses to driver feedback, you can reassure them that their feedback is being taken under advisement, not ignored.

“You can let the drivers know that there’s a reason why you aren’t making a change yet or revise how a policy is communicated so that it’s more clear, or you can share plans for upcoming updates or amendments to policies,” Wincek says. “This tells them, ‘I do see this as a problem, your voice matters, and it will be a part of us eventually finding a solution.’”

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driver feedback, driver retention, driver turnover, feedback culture, simplified communication

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