Did you know that people in the U.S. spend at least 1,896 hours per year at work? Employee satisfaction is an essential part of any business, whether you work in marketing or customer service. Ensuring that your employees are recognized is one of the best way to keep them feeling fulfilled and valued; in fact, around 86% of companies with employee recognition programs cite an increase in worker happiness, proving that even the simplest of rewards can have a significant impact.
Unfortunately, some industries are more difficult than others when it comes to employee recognition programs. The Canadian trucking industry is a perfect example; it’s worth over $65 billion and possesses more than 400,000 employees overall, 260,000 of which are drivers. When more than half of your workforce is constantly out alone on the road, it can be hard to get a read on how they’re feeling and reward them for going above and beyond the call of duty. However, just because it’s hard to keep your drivers engaged and satisfied doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Let’s take a look.
Driver retention and engagement should start during the recruiting process. Statistics show that most drivers decide within 72 hours whether or not they’re going to stay with the company for a long time, so securing a positive relationship at the very beginning is essential. Generally, this centers around communication and the setting of clear expectations; trust develops naturally when there are no surprises or confusion. Finally, the onboarding and orientation experience should be geared towards interactions. When new drivers are introduced to personnel in other departments, they’re able to feel more like they’re part of the team.
Always Show Respect
Respect is exceptionally important. It isn’t uncommon for shipping and warehousing facilities to possess signs that say “no drivers past here,” which clearly sets up a dichotomy. Many drivers who have left their jobs have done so because they feel like they’re excluded — that they’re not treated like real employees.
“They’re not paid like employees, they’re not communicated with like employees, and they’re not reviewed and shared information with like employees,” explains Duff Swain, president of Trincon Group, a trucking consultancy and software company in Columbus, Ohio. Even the terminology is different; many companies refer to them as drivers rather than associates, team members, or other terms used for non-driving staff. If you value their work, you need to express their importance to the company in a way that supports that claim.
Keeping your truck drivers engaged and satisfied in their work isn’t as impossible as it seems. You don’t need to throw a holiday party or corporate event replete with food (only 36% of professionals say that company holiday parties are fun anyway) and shower them with false praise. Simply communicate how much they matter through defined expectations, compensation, merit increases, incentive pay, and — overall — respect.