Negative Feedback Is the First Step Toward Positive Change

negative feedback

If your trucking company has never had a feedback program, the thought of implementing one might feel intimidating or maybe even a little anxiety-provoking. After all, no one wants to be the recipient of criticism or other negative feedback.

But when it comes to a feedback program like WorkHound, there are a lot more positives than negatives to dwell on.

That’s true for two reasons: For one, the trucking carriers we work with really do receive quite a bit of positive feedback. In particular, praise for the work another employee is doing or for the quick resolution of a problem is common.

The other positive aspect? Even the negative feedback typically yields positive results in the end. 

Evolving Is a Necessity
When businesses are resistant to feedback, there’s often an underlying cause: a resistance to change. 

“Many trucking companies get stuck in the status quo, but it goes even deeper than that,” says Max Farrell, CEO & Co-Founder at WorkHound. “The status quo leads us to believe that nothing is ever going to change in a positive way. And ultimately, companies that don’t commit to change end up going extinct, like Kodak and Blockbuster in other industries. Being resistant to change is at the heart of being afraid of negative feedback.”

It’s true that negative feedback often reveals a need for some level of change within an organization. Your drivers are your company’s most valuable asset, and when you’re asking for their insights, they’re providing you with unfiltered and honest feedback about what they need and want.

Those needs and wants may not always align with what your carrier is currently doing, which presents you with two options: Either you make changes to improve driver satisfaction or you potentially lose valuable employees.

Evolving your company’s processes and procedures to better match what drivers currently desire is an important part of finding success as a business. It costs much more in the long run to replace drivers who leave than to implement changes to fix hiccups in your current system.

Asking your drivers for their feedback, good and bad, and taking meaningful action based on that feedback can help your company “keep up with the Joneses” — or really, to stay ahead of them when it comes to hiring and retention.

Taking Off Your Blinders
When you’re operating a business, it’s definitely easier to follow the mantra that “no news is good news,” but that’s not usually the case. If your drivers aren’t sharing their thoughts with you, they’re likely sharing those thoughts somewhere else. 

“Companies are often afraid of exposing the skeletons in the closet,” Farrell says. “They think, ‘If we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist.’ But not talking about it doesn’t make it go away; it usually makes it worse. What happens in those cases is that negative feedback ends up on social media, on truckers’ websites, or in the truckers’ lounge. And it’s also important to remember that bad feedback doesn’t equal bad drivers.”

Giving your drivers a tool to share their thoughts with you easily and conveniently puts you in the driver’s seat. Instead of hearing their complaints through the grapevine, you’re hearing them directly from the drivers. This allows you to respond in real-time and potentially prevent turnover.

“Companies that embrace negative feedback as actionable or at least fixable benefit from not assuming,” Farrell says. “They’re not guessing about what their drivers need. They understand the need for change, and they recognize that the responsibility of opening that line of communication is on their shoulders.”

That mindset is powerful, and it’s helped trucking carriers across the country find success in reducing turnover and improving driver satisfaction.

“Sometimes feedback results in confirming suspicions, and sometimes it results in innovations and revelations,” Farrell says. “An attitude of curiosity and openness to feedback is what results in the most success for our customers.”

Think a feedback program could be a beneficial part of your driver retention strategy? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!

driver communication, driver culture, driver feedback, driver retention

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