At the end of the day, a driver working is mainly about a good job and a paycheck. But what does a “good job” mean? The answer might surprise you. In this gig-economy, good relationships, and meaningful engagement at work are more of a premium than ever, especially if you want to attract younger drivers who are looking for a fulfilling experience on the job, as well as good pay. Find out how driver engagement programs can help your company stand out from the crowd.
What is an “engaged” driver?
An engaged driver wants to make the relationship work. Why? Because an engaged driver believes they have a part to play in your company. They don’t feel like a disposable spare part that can be easily ignored and replaced but like a team player.
An engaged driver knows:
- • They have your ear when they need it
- • You respect them in word and deed
- • You acknowledge that they have a life outside of work
- • You’re honest and fair about policy enforcement
- • If they complain, something gets done
An engaged driver engages by:
- • Listening/complying when you ask for something
- • Giving their best
- • Sticking around
- • Keeping you in the loop
- • Being willing to learn
- • Saving you time, trouble, and money when they can
In other words:
Engaged drivers act like team players because they’re treated that way.
As in any job, drivers care about the company they work for! Everyone wants to care about what they do. It doesn’t matter how tough or old-school a driver looks or sounds; they care about relationships, the functionality of the business, and their ability to contribute—not just about the dollar.
What makes drivers disengage?
A lot of turnover stems from a lack of connection with the hiring company. Even if everything generally seems OK on the surface, drivers often feel that they’re left hanging. Why?
One thing that drivers have is time. And it can work against you. With all that windshield time, they can start thinking about a problem that started on Monday; if they’re still thinking about it by Wednesday with no communication, by Friday, they might quit. For you, it comes out of the blue. But for the driver, it’s been stewing a while, with no productive outlet or solution. The key is communication.
Molehills easily become mountains when you don’t offer an opportunity for engagement and feedback. Long-distance relationships are hard, and that’s what this is.
How does a driver-engagement program work?
Drivers with 30 years or more on the road will tell you they have a family at home, and a family on the road. Earn your part in that family, and you will gain loyal drivers.
Be honest about the job.
Your first impression should include a clear, honest, and thorough job description, not a fuzzy description that’s really a desperate plea for drivers. Set applicants up for success. Tell them what they’re getting into.
Find the right people.
Seek drivers who are a fit for the roles. If you use online training, you can send training to applicants to screen them. Find out right off who is detail-oriented, who cares about finding a good job, who’s willing to learn and comply, etc. When you make it easier to recruit top-quality drivers, you reduce turnover.
Set the tone in orientation.
Be top-quality, time-sensitive, relevant, organized, honest about the job, and give drivers a great start. Again, online training is a flexible tool for engagement. If you introduce required online training at this point, you already prove that you prioritize safety and keeping drivers on the road. You can also get a sense of a driver’s attitude and comfort level. You and the driver can both make sure it’s the right fit.
Make it easy to communicate.
Communication goes two ways. Drivers should be able to hear from you without hassle, and you from them. Your technology may need to be rebooted or streamlined, but making this a #1 priority makes you a highly desirable employer.
Some ways to make this work:
- • Work on communication between drivers & managers/owners
- • Work on the driver/dispatcher relationship
- • Make training quicker, easier, and more mobile
- • Improve driver-driver relationships through driver mentors and trainers
- • Cut down on in-person meetings as much as possible
- • Personalize official messages when you can (ex. “Great haul last month” or “Happy birthday!”)
Make it easy to pitch in.
Drivers can assist management in solving business problems. They also contribute to the life, fun, and meaningfulness of work. Figure out why drivers aren’t happy and create training content based on the complaints expressed. Say, “I hear you.” Then take action. Use a safety competition as a fundraiser for a charity. Turn stories of some of your drivers on the road into a monthly e-newsletter. Open the door for engagement.
Give your CEO screen time.
Put together a “state of the company” message and share it with drivers each month. In a large company, a driver might only really know their dispatcher. Use messaging systems creatively to encourage and inspire from the top, as well as remind and challenge to meet goals.
Even if you do one or two of these things, it already sets you apart from most companies who do nothing to improve driver engagement! Wouldn’t it be great to have a waiting list of drivers who want to come on board with you? The driver is the only person in the company who does the work that generates the revenue to pay everyone else. Engage drivers at every level. Build a company where drivers want to work.
At Infinit-I Workforce Solutions, we help our clients get to the heart of driver engagement with online training and communication. It’s integrated, easy to implement, and powerfully effective. Read testimonials or sign up for a free demo today!