Spreading the Good News: Not All Feedback Is Negative

negative feedback

When we’re talking with trucking carriers across the industry about the value of an employee feedback program, many of them have the same hesitancy. HR representatives and those in leadership more generally are often reluctant to introduce a feedback tool based on the thinking that most feedback will be negative.

After all, who wants to dwell in the negative all the time?

But while there’s a natural assumption that feedback will be bad, that isn’t always the case. Many comments do relate to issues that need to be solved, but there are also a lot of comments that provide praise.

Today we’re breaking down praise as a comment theme and why it’s a good area of focus for companies. And we’ll share some insights into the areas of companies that drivers are most likely to be positive about.

What Drivers Are Saying

We spend a lot of time “in the weeds” taking a deep dive into what drivers are sharing with trucking carriers across the nation. Let’s wow you with an important statistic right off the bat: 29 percent of the 62,800 pieces of feedback received in 2021 was positive in nature.

See, we weren’t lying when we told you drivers often have something positive to say! In fact, feedback is fairly evenly split into three buckets: positive, negative (35 percent), and neutral (36 percent). There is value in every type of feedback and in viewing feedback as a whole, since it gives an overall picture of how things are going for your business.

In looking deeper into the data, we know that there are certain topics that drivers are more likely to provide positive feedback about. By far, drivers most often have positive things to share about the people they’re working with. 

That’s an interesting thing to consider. When drivers (or employees in general) leave a company for “greener pastures” and another employer, they’re often leaving because of interactions they have with other employees. But people are also a leading impetus in why employees stay with a company.

While drivers provide more praise related to people than any other topic, they also share praise related to pay, equipment, communication, logistics, and home time. What drivers praise tends to vary depending on specific organizational factors, in particular the size of the business.

When it comes to people, for example, drivers’ perceptions are less positive at larger organizations and more positive at smaller ones. This is likely because smaller companies have more personal interactions than larger counterparts. 

When it comes to training, on the other hand, those who work for larger companies are much more likely to share positive comments about the training or onboarding they have received. That’s likely due to the fact that bigger trucking carriers have a systemized approach to training and more resources to invest.

How That Translates for Your Company

So, what can you take from all this information? There are a few key takeaways:

First, don’t steer clear of a feedback program because you think all the feedback will be negative! All feedback is ultimately positive since it gives your company a chance to take action to make improvements. But rest assured that you will receive ample positive feedback in the mix.

Once you have a feedback program in place, pay close attention to all types of feedback, both the negative kind requiring quick action and the positive kind that praises a program or person. When drivers share their positive insights or praise about some aspect of your company, seize that opportunity to reach out to the driver and ask him or her to reveal. This can allow you to make a further connection, gathering details about the positives just as you do with the negatives.

Looking to create a culture that cultivates positive feedback related to more aspects of your business? Take a look back at what we said about company size-related differences in positive feedback. 

If you’re a large organization, look for ways to think small when it comes to personalizing interactions with your drivers. If you’re a smaller company, think through training processes to see how you can make meaningful changes that provide drivers the support they need.

In the end, you’ll gather more positive feedback over time as you solicit your drivers’ perspectives and listen to what they have to say, both positive and negative. Pay attention to their voices — and praise will result.

Want to capture the voices of your drivers, both positive and negative? Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help.

driver communication, driver retention, feedback culture, truck driver retention

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