When you think about Valentine’s Day, love and spending time with those you love probably comes to mind. But what about sharing the love with your company’s professional drivers?
It’s not the same kind of love, and we get that, but showing your drivers that they’re appreciated is a significant part of any effective retention strategy. While a strong pay structure and competitive benefits can help entice drivers to your carrier in the first place, in the long run, drivers are looking to feel that they’re truly essential and valued.
How can you show your drivers that level of appreciation? It starts and ends with your people. To demonstrate to your drivers that they’re valued, you need buy-in from employees at every level, from the management suite to the frontline workers who interact with those drivers on a daily basis.
How do we know that people can make or break a company’s retention strategy? Well, drivers have told us so! When we parse through the thousands of comments received through the WorkHound platform, we get a lot of driver love about the people they work with.
“Most praise comments we receive are about how companies show drivers love,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “And most of that positive feedback relates to interactions with other employees and how those interactions make drivers feel.”
Check out these examples of driver feedback — and notice how they revolve around other employees:
While the people within your company are the ones who will make the ultimate impression on your drivers, there are also some steps you can take to help show your drivers they’re appreciated. Start here:
Consider Your Culture
You hear about workplace culture a good deal these days, and for good reason. Establishing a company culture that’s inclusive, that’s fair, that’s transparent, and places equal value on all employees is important. And it’s not a one-time deal — it’s about doing those things over and over again.
“Take a good hard look at culture,” Love says. “The way you demonstrate value isn’t through one-off actions, it’s through habits. Make culture a routine habit, rather than something you do on occasion. It needs to be constantly ‘on.’”
Make Appreciation a Year-Round Affair
“Oftentimes, when we talk about showing drivers appreciation, companies mention Driver Appreciation Week, which is one week in September,” Love says. “One week a year isn’t enough. You can’t turn appreciation on only when it’s convenient.”
Instead of setting up appreciation events, consider investing in resources and support instead. This will look different for every company, but investments like facility upgrades or increased access to food and drinks can help repeatedly show drivers that they’re appreciated, rather than being a one-time acknowledgment.
Stand Up for Your Drivers
When drivers share feedback related to customers and problems they’re facing, it’s important to truly listen to those comments. Use that feedback as a guide in helping you interact with those customers moving forward. That’s the ultimate way to show drivers they’re valued.
“We’ve had companies evaluate their contracts with customers based on the experiences their drivers are having,” Love says. “Being on ‘Team Driver’ in a conflict with a customer is so important.”
Offer What Drivers Truly Need
While freebies and company swag are good gestures, offering drivers things that are useful and relevant to their needs can go much further. That means paying attention to what drivers actually need and want — and tailoring your “freebies” to encompass those things.
“As an example, we know drivers love their truck washes,” Love says. “They’re very expensive, and they’re unique. For a lot of drivers, especially over-the-road drivers, the truck might be ‘home.’ They’re taking their home to customers, who they hope to impress on behalf of the company. If the truck is dirty on the outside, they think it’s going to leave a bad impression and they feel easier to disrespect. Simply offering to cover the cost of regular truck washes can make such a difference.”
Take Care of All Employees
What do other employees have to do with sharing the love with drivers? You might be surprised! When your entire team of employees feels valued, they share that love with each other.
“If a company is working hard to make sure the experience of a driver-manager or a mechanic or anyone else on the frontline for drivers is positive, it’s ultimately going to benefit the drivers,” Love says. “If those workers are unhappy, drivers are going to feel that. If you really want to improve the culture for drivers and show they’re valued, look hard at the front line of the frontline.”
Want to share the love with your team of drivers or other employees for your business? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!