Using feedback to drive change
“It gives them a platform where they can go and say ‘this is my problem,’ without fear of retaliation. It’s about getting past that fear. We want everyone to know that it’s an open platform. We encourage drivers to tell us everything they want to tell us, because we may not know something is going on.”
Rachel Lovell, Vice President of People Operations at Ascend, hopes to work with the company until she retires. It’s her mission to ensure other employees feel the same way. As part of that mission, Lovell was determined to capture honest insights about what the driving team needs and wants. That’s where WorkHound came into the picture.
“We first learned about WorkHound through conversations we had at a conference,” Lovell says. “Someone I’d networked with talked about it. A couple of months later, I was talking with our VP of Driver Relations, trying to figure out how we can identify the issues that drivers have and have a platform where they feel comfortable and confident giving this feedback without fear of retaliation. That’s what WorkHound does.”
When Ascend was considering partnering with WorkHound a year ago, another WorkHound customer shared some invaluable perspectives about the feedback tool.
“A retention leader at another large trucking company told me ‘WorkHound is not going to be the difference-maker, but what WorkHound is going to do is provide you with the data you need to make a difference,’” Lovell says. “He was exactly right. The data and the feedback we’re getting — the good, the bad, the ugly — is feedback we had never received previously. Either driver feared retaliation, we weren’t asking the right questions, or we were asking questions but the answers were more politically correct.”
“WorkHound gives the drivers a voice,” Lovell says. “It gives them a platform where they can go and say ‘this is my problem,’ without fear of retaliation. It’s about getting past that fear. We want everyone to know that it’s an open platform. We encourage drivers to tell us everything they want to tell us, because we may not know something is going on.”
The driving team bought in. Since partnering with WorkHound, Ascend has received more than 2,000 comments from over 500 individual drivers. They’ve been willing to share their perspective on many different topics, ranging from equipment to safety and everything in between. And a good bit of that feedback is positive.
“WorkHound gives drivers a platform to share their issues or their positives,” Lovell says. “When we first started with WorkHound, we were nervous about what we were going to hear, but I absolutely love and look forward to the emails we get, because the majority are positive. One that stuck out to me — the driver said, ‘I really appreciate Ascend making the extra effort with driver pay increases and facility upgrades. You’re making it harder and harder for us to find something to fuss about.’”
Having “less to fuss about” also shows up in the metrics. Ascend boasts a 30-day post-reveal retention rate of 93.07 percent, which stands to save the company more than a half-million dollars in driver replacement costs annually.
“The feedback we’ve received through WorkHound has helped us evolve to become even more driver-friendly than we already were.”
Rachel Lovell Vice President of People Operations
Post-Reveal Retention Rate
When drivers choose to reveal their identities, Ascend’s management team is able to retain them at least 30 days 93% of the time
“When we first started with WorkHound, we were nervous about what we were going to hear, but I absolutely love and look forward to the emails we get, because the majority are positive.”
Vice President of People Operations
For any company, having a feedback program is not a cure-all. You can gather a good deal of data, but it’s what you do with the data that truly matters.
“WorkHound providing the feedback is the first step,” Lovell says. “But the action that our company has committed to — because we are 100 percent committed to acting every single time we have an actionable item — that’s where we’re driving change. It’s so important to be committed to action.”
That commitment has helped Ascend in measurable ways, allowing them to take action related to driver frustrations and to increase driver trust along the way.
“WorkHound has helped us to improve our culture by identifying blind spots we were not aware of or didn’t recognize the severity of,” Lovell says. “It’s about how we can add value to what we have by being more driver-friendly. The feedback we’ve received through WorkHound has helped us evolve to become even more driver-friendly than we already were. We thought we were rock stars, but we’ve realized that we have a long way to go. We’re continuing to go down that path every single day, looking for how we can improve.”
While feedback from the driving team through the WorkHound program has helped drive change, Lovell believes that the partnership they’ve formed may be even more important.
“We’re teamed up with a company that understands what we’re facing and is always looking for ways to help us improve,” Lovell says. “When you have people looking at things from other angles, they can identify trends. Being partnered up with a company that understands that we all have the same common goal in mind has really helped us and has improved our business. WorkHound is always looking for new ways to be more beneficial to our company. You’re not staying stagnant — you’re growing with us.
What’s next for Ascend? Furthering the partnership with WorkHound.
“The next step for us as a company is seeing how we can open this up for more than just our drivers,” Lovell says. “We’ve seen such an improvement in culture and driver morale, and now we want to carry that over to all of our employees. We’re looking at how we can use WorkHound for others and what we can learn about how to improve overall.”
Sharing their perspective on safety equipment, pay and more, Acend's drivers have happily engaged on the platform
Despite initial concerns over negative feedback, much of the driver’s feedback has been positive
Post-Reveal Retention Rate
When drivers choose to reveal their identities, Ascend is able to retain them at least 30 days 93% of the time
“I never want to stay still, and I never want our company to stay still. I want everyone — regardless of the position they come to at Ascend — to be here from ‘hire to retire,’ just like I am.”