When your employees are on the road most of the day (or night!), you have a few extra challenges to face to ensure your workforce is engaged and feels recognized for their work. And with the cost of replacing a truck driver averaging over $8,000, prioritizing driver satisfaction can have an enormous impact on your bottom line.
We’ve put together 9 easy ways to engage your delivery drivers, heavy equipment haulers, bus drivers, LTL freight drivers, and even regular old company vehicle drivers.
1. Make Your Drivers a Part of the Team
You may say, “Of course our drivers are part of the team!,” but due to the very nature of their jobs, they are physically (and often mentally) isolated from the rest of the workforce. They aren’t always around for the afternoon safety meetings or weekly roundups. They definitely aren’t sitting in front of a computer all day reading company emails. If you have multiple communication channels for your employees, it’s time to consider consolidating them to one that everyone can use. By sending out company announcements or feedback surveys via text message, you ensure every employee gets the message and has the opportunity to share their perspective, no matter where they might be.
2. Include Your Drivers’ Families as Part of the Team Too!
Long, early, and late hours can put a strain on your drivers’ families. Let them know you appreciate their sacrifice and flexibility with a few company perks. Invite them to your holiday get-togethers, extend any special discounts you give employees to families, and nothing can beat a nice, hand-written thank you card (but it wouldn’t hurt to say thank you with some tickets to the local game, either!).
3. Offer Professional Development and Training
Show your drivers you are invested in them by offering them regular training opportunities, encouraging them to pursue additional licenses, and rewarding them for their efforts. Not only will you increase loyalty and connection with your drivers, you’ll help create an all around safer environment.
4. Be Honest from Day 1
Even better, from day 0. Post clear job responsibilities and deliverables in your job posting. Having a clear set of expectations to cover during the recruiting and hiring process will help you to avoid misunderstandings down the road. Is there a probation period? When could they apply for a better route or better shift? Lay it all out clearly to establish an honest and trustworthy relationship.
5. Promote from Within
If you have job openings or new routes, let your drivers know about them first, and encourage them to apply. Very related to #4, be clear about the expectations and achievements required to advance to the next level and support your own workforce in achieving those goals.
6. Reward Referrals
There is nothing as wonderful to a recruiting manager as a referral from a current employee. These pre-vetted applicants are often more qualified overall than average applicants since your current employee has already done the hard work of screening them for qualifications and culture fit. Let your employees know how valuable referrals are by rewarding them with bonuses, company swag, additional PTO, or even something as small as a hand-written thank you letter.
7. Implement a Mentor Program
Training doesn’t end after the initial onboarding period. When a new driver joins your crew, pairing them with a more senior mentor for an extended period of time not only ensures they receive comprehensive training, but it also gives them a dedicated person to go to with questions or concerns. Incorporating a kind of “buddy” system for your drivers can help reduce feelings of isolation and job dissatisfaction.
8. Focus on Driver Health
While a mentor program will do wonders for mental health, it doesn’t do much to solve the fact that drivers spend most of their days sitting! Sitting for extended hours is correlated with a wide variety of health problems, so get creative with physical wellness programs. Buy everyone a Fitbit and host team challenges, offer healthy lunch options at a discounted price, or offer discounts on local gym memberships.
9. Respond to Problems Quickly
If your employees have to wait to report issues by coming by the HR safety department, you’re less likely to hear about them. Implement a confidential HR hotline that allows employees to call or text in any issues or questions. Creating this centralized number allows HR and safety managers to field all messages as the come in, no matter who is working. Consider sending out an announcement when the problem is solved to let the rest of the crew know you listen to problems and act quickly.
Strategic Programs CEO and co-founder Rim Yurkus says, “people are paid to do their job description, but the highly engaged person will go above and beyond the call of duty.”
So what can you do to create an engaged driver workforce at your company? Team Engine works with companies around the United States who have teams of drivers to ensure their employees are connected, informed, and engaged. From city transit to distribution centers to towing, we have the tools they use every day to support their distributed employees. Try us for free to see what we can do for you.