Learning how to engage transportation workers in your industry is key to increasing retention and reliability, keeping workers happy and improving overall customer service.
Retention and an aging workforce are challenges for the trucking industry in particular, according to FleetOwner.
“As the ‘traditional’ make-up of the U.S. truck-driver population is rapidly aging and heads for retirement, new efforts must be made to attract younger and ‘non-traditional’ candidates to the job of piloting commercial vehicles for a living,” Sean Kilcarr writes for FleetOwner.
The potential for automation in long-haul trucking is making current employees nervous about their long-term prospects and adding to an overall feeling of being undervalued and under-appreciated.
Meanwhile, drivers continue to be in demand.
“This work is undervalued even though it’s absolutely crucial to the economy,” writes truck driver Ryan Haney in a review of the new book, “The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream.”
“As a truck driver myself, I know that so much of what we do is far too complicated to be replaced by technology any time soon. We do a lot more than just hold a steering wheel,” Haney writes.
This feeling of under-appreciation isn’t limited to truckers. School bus drivers, among other school employees, are not getting enough acknowledgement or feedback, according to a survey of engagement in K-12 education.
Engaging workers who are constantly on the move takes commitment, creativity and planning. Read on for inspiration and 5 ways to reinvigorate your engagement efforts.
How to Engage Transportation Workers: Ramp Up Appreciation
Once basic requirements for job satisfaction are met, like a fair wage and the right tools to do the job, engaging transportation workers comes down to making personal connections and showing gratitude.
1. Involve Family
Personal connections and one-on-one engagement are harder to make with employees who are on the road, and Millennial-age workers are less likely to accept the hardships of on-the-road life, accordion to FleetOwner.
“Millennials are so different from the drivers of yesteryear; they need help getting used to the lifestyle,” Carol Millam, safety manager for Amhof Trucking, tells FleetOwner. “Their partners, spouses and families are also not used to it, so we try to involve them as well. We need to pay more attention to the driver’s family as well as to the drivers themselves.”
Create opportunities to celebrate workers’ families whether it’s a gift the whole family can enjoy, an appreciation gift for the family while the driver is gone for especially long-hauls, or it’s a casual company cook-out event where families are invited.
2. Give Personalized (Non-Cash) Recognition
Pay is important, but it isn’t everything. Thank You cards and small gifts can be more meaningful, especially when managers can’t show appreciation to drivers face-to-face.
“I’ve found that if you give a driver a pay raise, most will say ‘Well, it’s about time.’ But send them a birthday card with two movie tickets inside and it’s a very different story, with ‘Thank You’ emails and Qualcomm messages,” Clay Murdoch of Doug Andrus Distributing tells FleetOwner.
“We need to know their birthdays, their kids’ names, everything about them now,” Murdoch says.
3. Focus on Purpose, Relationships
Ultimately, drivers “want to keep moving and to be productive,” according to FleetOwner. A sense of personal satisfaction is a driver of retention and happiness.
Employers need to “think about how they would like to be treated and act accordingly,” one industry expert says. “That will go a long way to making the job of driving a truck more attractive. Because people don’t leave jobs; they leave relationships. We need to make truck driving a tougher relationship to leave.”
4. Bring the Comforts of Home on the Road
As Transport Topics reports, even relatively small perks like in-cab satellite TV will be appreciated by transportation workers.
“Longhaul trucking can be a difficult and isolating job, but some fleets have turned to electronic in-cab entertainment to keep drivers connected and boost their job satisfaction. And when drivers are satisfied, better retention and recruiting numbers often follow,” Katie Pyzyk writes for Transport Topics.
Several business owners say offering in-cab entertainment directly correlates to their company attracting (and retaining) more drivers.
5. Plan for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2018
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week will be Sept. 9-15, 2018. Celebrate it!
“We show our appreciation for our drivers throughout the year but go the extra mile for driver appreciation week,” Randy Swart, COO of A. Duie Pyle tells Supply Chain Dive. “The trucking industry is the mechanism that keeps supply chains flowing,” Swart added. “Our job is to remain flexible to the ever changing needs of our customers and their customers.”
FREE Resources for Building Workplace Camaraderie and Engagement
We all need inspiration to build a great workplace culture. Here at gThankYou we love helping companies connect, engage with and celebrate employees.
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“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” -Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author
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Here’s to a happier workplace!
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