When a business is planning or preparing to implement a feedback program of some sort, there’s often an assumption that a good bit of that feedback will be negative. Companies anticipate the bad — steeling themselves against what they will hear.
But the reality is: Even when the feedback is negative, it isn’t really a negative.
What do we mean by that? Well, no matter what type of comments you’re receiving from your drivers, the fact that you’re receiving them is positive. And you even have a chance to turn negatives into a positive by taking meaningful action to implement solutions.
“We often say that you can receive feedback as a gift or a curse,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “It’s really about how you react to it.”
Negative feedback has such a stigma attached to it that some trucking carriers hesitate to even provide a way to offer feedback. After all, if they’re only going to hear bad stuff, why give drivers a forum to share it?
There are many reasons why a truck driver feedback program is a necessity, not the least of which is the cost of not operating with one in today’s marketplace.
“What we know is that in this current market, things are changing very quickly,” Love says. “Feedback of all types helps companies act quickly and make changes to adapt and keep drivers happy and satisfied. It’s often an objection for companies that they don’t want a feedback program to become a complaint factory. It’s better to suck it up and ask for feedback than to allow that feedback to show up online or turn up in the rumor mill.”
In the long run, not asking for feedback can have disastrous consequences.
“The cost of turnover is so high that it’s the kind of thing that can ruin companies,” Love says. “The companies that are asking for feedback are the ones that are coming out ahead.”
If your company has overcome the hesitancy toward allowing an open forum for driver feedback, you may still be stuck on what to do with negative feedback. Consider it a jumping-off point toward offering a solution that works well for the company and for the drivers.
“The process starts with asking for feedback and workers providing it,” Love says. “Both of those are strong gestures to show that you’re optimistic that workers are going to provide valuable feedback and that your workers are optimistic you’re going to act on that feedback. Trust-earning happens when a promise is made and then that commitment is followed through.”
The result is typically multifaceted — you end up with more satisfied drivers, who stick around, cutting down on your company’s turnover and improving your company’s image with potential new hires.
“Ultimately, the end game is that the drivers trust people,” Love adds. “They trust that they can recommend their friends and families to work for your company and that it’s a reliable referral.”
While there’s great anecdotal evidence that good things happen when companies use negative feedback from drivers to take action, we also have actual evidence of the phenomenon. We often hear back from the drivers themselves once companies have implemented a solution to a problem they shared.
“We get a lot of followup with drivers acknowledging that companies did something with their comments,” Love says. “Oftentimes, when they share that communication, they say something like, ‘No company has ever really cared what I have to say until now.’”
You can’t get much more positive than that! And in the end, using feedback to drive change is going to make a significant impact, on the company itself and in the bigger picture.
“Workplace trauma requires healing and repairing trust,” Loves says. “Many drivers have had a leader in the past who broke their trust. Drivers show up at work and expect that it’s going to be bad because they’ve had a bad experience. Companies have a chance to repair not just how drivers feel about the company itself, but how they feel about the entire industry.”