Driving worker satisfaction and retention with WorkHound
“The anonymity part really drew us in,” says Dale Hippensteel, Director of Employee Care and Retention at S&H Express. “We liked the fact that drivers could sound off if they needed to or reach out if they needed to. WorkHound provides a platform where drivers can feel comfortable sending issues to us and knowing that we’re going to deal with them.”
Since its founding in 1992, S&H Express has been focused on carving out a footprint in transportation and logistics services throughout the Northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and Southeastern United States. While growth is the name of the game, the company has seen success by maintaining a commitment to ensuring the well-being of its employees with a family culture.
Over the years, the company’s leadership team has relied on a number of methods and practices to ensure employee and driver satisfaction. Last year, they added another tool — enhancing their driver feedback processes with the addition of WorkHound.
Company leadership was introduced to WorkHound by Doug Forry, Director of Operations at S&H Express, who had worked with the platform in a previous role and raved about the experience. After partnering with WorkHound, the rest of the team quickly understood why Forry was such an advocate. The tool works hand-in-hand with other programs to ensure drivers feel valued.
“We try to preach that we run our company for our drivers and we need their feedback to do so,” says Jordan Kolb, President of S&H Express. “As a culture, we’re a family company, we’re available to our drivers, and our management is available, too.”
In the traditional workplace in many industries, employees interact with each other regularly face to face. While remote work is becoming more common, even those working remotely from home or in a coworking space engage with coworkers often through messaging channels, phone calls, and video conferences.
That’s not the norm in the trucking industry, for many reasons. While those working on-site in supervisory roles or other office capacities may spend time with coworkers, drivers are on the road the majority of the time. They’re working long and often-unusual hours, making regular communication touchpoints with coworkers or leaders a challenge.
S&H Express is using WorkHound to help overcome that challenge. The WorkHound tool allows drivers to engage with leadership and have their voices heard in a way that’s convenient and useful to them. The fact that feedback can be given anonymously adds tremendous value.
“The anonymity part really drew us in,” says Dale Hippensteel, Director of Employee Care and Retention at S&H Express. “We liked the fact that drivers could sound off if they needed to or reach out if they needed to. WorkHound provides a platform where drivers can feel comfortable sending issues to us and knowing that we’re going to deal with them.
That’s beneficial on multiple levels. Providing drivers with a real-time method to offer their insight and ask questions helps build trust with those drivers. And with no names attached to the feedback, there’s less chance of even unintentional bias on the part of the company or of hearing only the “loud” voices.
“With a quick response and a quick reaction from our management team, we can make a driver happy in a short amount of time.”
Dale Hippensteel Director of Employee Care and Retention
Even with a continuous feedback mechanism in place, getting the most out of a feedback program requires an investment of time and attention. S&H Express has been intently focused on providing both since the inception of the program.
Receiving feedback from drivers is only the first step in a meaningful feedback program. Companies build trust and strengthen relationships with drivers as they respond to that feedback and take action on it.
That’s why Hippensteel spends time reviewing WorkHound feedback three times each day. He does an initial review of the issue or concern and then distributes the feedback to a specific department or person for a resolution. A quick response at that stage can be the difference between a driver who sticks around and one who leaves for another company.
“If a driver is angry about something or has a problem, WorkHound gives us the opportunity to address it quickly,” Hippensteel says. “With a quick response and a quick reaction from our management team, we can make a driver happy in a short amount of time.”
Bigger picture-wise, real-time feedback and a prompt reaction do more than simply satisfy drivers — they also help the company as a whole maintain an even keel. By giving drivers a way to speak up whenever they need to do so, WorkHound helps keep the temperature down, so to speak, largely preventing flare-ups of temper and anger.
In the past, S&H Express relied on traditional surveys to gather feedback from drivers. But surveys are typically conducted on a quarterly or even biannual basis, so they leave informational gaps. In between surveys, drivers are left without a way to relay their concerns, or they have to struggle to find an entry point to get a problem solved.
In an industry where a driver can be happy on Monday, upset about something on Tuesday, and gone to another company by Friday, the quick intervention facilitated by WorkHound is a difference-maker. Take this driver’s story, for example:
“There was a situation where a driver was questioning his pay and how he was being paid for a certain load that he was running regularly,” Kolb says. “He basically found a glitch in our payroll system where he was being underpaid. Our pay scale didn’t work right for the freight he was running. He brought it to our attention, Dale and I spoke, and we changed his pay plan within 24 hours and started getting him compensated at a much fairer level. The driver was very happy that we made that change.”
Quick action like that by the leadership team has won over new and veteran drivers alike. New drivers are impressed by having a way of getting questions answered quickly, while drivers who’ve been around for a while appreciate knowing that management is truly listening to their concerns and taking their ideas seriously.
That driver happiness shows up in the data, too. In an industry where turnover rates hover around 90 percent, S&H Express maintains numbers in the 35 to 40 percent range. The company has a WorkHound driver satisfaction score of 85 percent, with more and more drivers willing to trust the company and provide feedback.
“We’re taking suggestions, we’re hearing problems, we’re solving things,” Hippensteel says. “WorkHound is a huge piece of the puzzle for trust-building.”