National Driver Appreciation Week is underway, offering an opportunity for motor carriers and the general public to recognize the essential work that commercial truck drivers do. While it’s great to have a week dedicated to appreciating what drivers, driver appreciation should be ongoing. That’s especially important for carriers concerned about the driver shortage and driver retention.
Here are a few ways that you can show driver appreciation all year long.
Create a Culture of Driver Appreciation
A 2020 Commercial Carrier Journal survey found that the No. 2 thing that truck drivers dislike about the job is: “It’s a thankless job – nobody respects truckers or appreciates what we do.” In the same survey, drivers were asked why they think fleets are having trouble finding drivers. 53% responded: “They don’t respect drivers and the job they do enough or treat them as part of the team.” And 23% responded: “There’s no career path.”
This should be eye-opening feedback for carriers.
While compensation continues to be a key factor in where drivers decide to work, it’s clear that there are many other things you can do to attract and retain drivers. By integrating driver appreciation initiatives into the organization’s culture, you are demonstrating that you recognize that drivers are your most valuable asset. After all, loads don’t move if there isn’t a driver behind the wheel.
“[Drivers] want to be respected, and they don’t want to be treated like second-class citizens. Because, if it wasn’t for the driver, none of the other folks in the organization wouldn’t have a job,” Dan Johnson of Voice of the Road said during a 2020 EROAD webinar on driver retention.
Here are some ways to make driver appreciation part of your culture:
Career Development: As the CCJ survey results shared above show, drivers are looking for career development opportunities. Consider your seasoned, loyal drivers when you’re trying to fill an open position, such as lead recruiter or driver trainer. That way you keep a driver’s skills and institutional knowledge in your organization while providing new opportunities and boosting driver satisfaction. It’s a win-win.
Incentive Programs: Having an incentive program shows that you’re paying attention to the good work that drivers are doing (rather than just talking to them when something goes wrong). Recognizing incident-free driving – such as verbal praise during a safety meeting or a post on social media – keeps safety top of mind and promotes healthy competition among your drivers.
Driver of the Year Program: Recognize your best drivers with a driver of the year program. Prizes and recognition can be a major morale boost and a reminder that you value the hard work that your drivers do every day.
Support Driver Health
About half of all truck drivers have chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension. Still many drivers do not have insurance. And even when they do have insurance, the logistics of seeing a doctor or filling prescriptions while hauling freight across the country are challenging.
As a carrier, look for programs that will allow your drivers to receive medical care while on the road. THTGROUP, for instance, has clinics that are located at truck stops and cater specifically to drivers. There are other trucker-focused wellness programs that encourage exercise, healthy eating and smoking cessation. Show your drivers you care by providing them with the resources they need to remain healthy and productive.
Choose Technology that Benefits Drivers
For drivers, technology can be a burden or a blessing. When selecting technology tools for your company, make sure it’s the latter. Easy-to-use tools that protect your drivers and make thier day run more smoothly can go a long way to boost their satisfaction.
Dash Cams: Professional truck drivers are among the safest on the road. But, often, they are wrongly assumed to be at fault for car-truck accidents, which can result in legal and employment ramifications. Dash cams provide video evidence of what really happened in an accident, often exonerating drivers. Once drivers understand that dash cams protect them, they often welcome them into the cab and are thankful to management.
Free download: 5 ways dash cams protect drivers
Trailer Tracking: Too often, drivers are dispatched to a trailer that has a maintenance or cargo issue or isn’t even where it is supposed to be in the first place. This leads to wasted shift time and lost earnings for drivers – not to mention a lot of frustration. Trailer tracking solutions provide a trailer’s location, so drivers won’t have to search the yard for a misplaced unit. Also, connected sensors give data on trailer health and readiness, ensuring that a trailer is ready to go before the driver is dispatched.
Free download: 5 questions to ask when choosing a trailer tracking solution
Drivers are the backbone of the trucking industry. But, as the CCJ survey found, many drivers feel that it’s a “thankless job.” Given the importance of the work they do, making investments to improve drivers’ job satisfaction is the right thing to do. It’s also the prudent thing to do given the ongoing driver shortage and issues with driver retention.
EROAD delivers fleet performance management solutions to the transportation, cold chain, construction, and waste and recycling industries. Our solutions give businesses the visibility and data they need to achieve regulatory compliance while continuously improving their efficiency, profitability, safety, and environmental sustainability. EROAD’s hardware, IoT sensor network and cameras are rugged, reliable and easy to use. Our cloud-based fleet management platform integrates with many third-party fleet technologies to provide enhanced visibility that empowers businesses to transform their operations.