The desire for a better work/life balance is the impetus behind many career moves made in the wake of the pandemic. That’s true across the workforce today, including in the trucking industry.
Helping your drivers maintain a healthy balance in their lives can make them more likely to stick around. As leaders, though, determining how to do that in a meaningful way can be a challenge.
Start with an employee feedback program. Offering drivers a way to share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns is an important step in that direction.
The trucking industry isn’t new to excess turnover and difficulties with truck driver retention. The industry has long strained to keep professional drivers in place, and it’s common for drivers to jump from one company to another.
That isn’t likely to change any time soon. At the same time that the American workforce in general is facing upheaval and a mass exodus of sorts, the trucking industry is fighting its own battle.
In addition to the normal movement of drivers between trucking carriers, many drivers are now leaving the industry altogether, whether for retirement or simply to pursue another career. The American Trucking Association estimates that, as a result, the trucking industry will face a 160,000 driver shortage by the year 2030.
While you can certainly make changes within your organization, such as improving pay structure, to help support your drivers and hopefully entice them to stay, drivers are looking for more. They want a life change along with a pay upgrade.
When you read about work/life balance and how to maintain a healthy balance in your own life, you probably see tips about getting regular exercise, making time for family and friends, taking up a hobby, and making and sticking with appointments for medical checkups.
Think about those healthy lifestyle habits in relation to the life of a professional driver: The typical day of a truck driver makes it challenging to implement most, if not all of them.
Knowing that the tips outlined above are key for healthier boundaries between work and life, it’s worth considering how your company can help your drivers make them a reality. Companies that are succeeding in that space often have an emphasis on home time, easily accessible time off for medical appointments, and even use some out-of-the-box strategies to help drivers get in down time on the road.
So — where should you even begin? Start with a meaningful employee feedback program, if you don’t already have one in place.
You might wonder what that has to do with work/life balance. A lot, actually. There are a number of reasons why having a feedback program is an important part of supporting your employees. But perhaps most important, giving your drivers an ongoing opportunity to provide feedback gives them a voice.
When you ask your drivers how they’re doing (and demonstrate that you’re actually listening to what they say), they will share their thoughts, questions, dislikes, critiques, and everything else you need to make sound company decisions. You won’t be making your decisions based on your assumptions of what your employees need — you’ll be acting based on their actual needs and wants.
Driver feedback is especially important when it comes to ensuring drivers have a solid work/life balance. You may think you know what drivers need to feel satisfied in their work and secure in the boundaries around work, but your thoughts may not align with their reality.
What’s worse than not taking action related to supporting your drivers? Taking action that brushes by their actual needs and doesn’t hit the mark.
In onboarding and training with your drivers, emphasize that your leadership team truly wants to hear from them, and that you want to ensure they’re satisfied not only as employees, but also as people outside of the truck cabin. Share with them how important it is to provide their feedback, and transparently offer clear insights into how that information is used to guide company decisions.
Make it especially clear that you want to know when things are going right, but you also want to hear when things are off-course. You want to know, as a company, how you can help make life better for them, whether that’s through more time off the road, more accessibility to attend family events, or additional resources to support mental and physical health.
Looking to enhance your drivers’ work/life balance? A feedback program is a great place to begin. Sign up for a free demo to learn how WorkHound can help!