Truck transportation is an integral part of major industries, spanning from manufacturing to retail to logistics and beyond. And truckers are the lifeline of such sectors. Global powerhouses across the world are highly dependent on them to run day-to-day businesses. In the US alone, trucking is a $700bn industry, which employs 1.7 million people as truckers.
However, as with most industries that work with a large number of blue-collared employees, the trucking industry is one of the strongest victims of job churn. Digest this: the annual turnover rate of truckers in the US is 98%! Any fleet manager knows that common causes for such a mind-boggling number are:
Safety and health issues: Trucker fatalities are on the rise due to speeding, fatigue, non-compliance with basic safety standards like wearing seat belts, etc. Also, the nature of the job is so demanding that truckers without proper health measures burn out soon.
Excessive downtime: Truckers are irked by daily niggles – like too much traffic, loading and unloading time, cooling down or warming up truck interiors during summers and winters, maintenance periods, expired registration, excessive paperwork, etc. – that result in idle and unproductive hours.
Lack of proper attention: Despite being a vital cog in the wheel, truckers are still considered ‘second-class citizens’ in most organizations. Neither are they looped in properly to company happenings nor are they sufficiently recognized for their work, leading to increased disillusionment.
No prizes for guessing that the key to improving retention numbers of truckers is engaging them with the rest of the workforce and the company more strongly. As a bonus, this strategy also has a positive impact on trucker productivity and business performance.
On the run up to the US National truck driver appreciation week (September 8-14, 2019), here are the top 7 things you can tell your trucker colleagues to improve their engagement in your enterprise.
At the very outset, set transparent goals and expectations, and outline a career path for truckers so that they have a solid idea of their duties and responsibilities. Also, it’s a great way to show that you care about them.
The sedentary and stressful life of truckers, which gives rise to conditions like obesity and depression, is very risky for them. Promote physical and mental wellness of truckers by arranging for health awareness sessions, considering home-time requests, offering them gym membership and also closely monitoring any stress-related or fatigue-related signs. Encourage a proper diet and proper sleep and avoiding alcoholism and drug-consumption.
There’s a lot of truck accidents daily due to basic non-compliance errors. Training sessions to enforce compliance points like wearing seat belts and avoiding traffic violations like speeding and distraction, along with tackling basic mid-journey breakdowns and mechanical faults, can be really useful – especially for women and ageing truckers.
Most of the freight trucks and semi-trailers are heavy-duty and involves high maintenance. As a fleet manager, it’s your responsibility to regularly keep the truck in tip-top shape so that deliveries are smooth and breakdowns don’t happen frequently – from placing alert systems in trucks to scheduling maintenance work in a way it doesn’t affect deliveries.
It’s time to think beyond the salary package. Because what truckers expect more from companies are recognition of their work. So tell truckers they count! Make it a point to praise them in front of their colleagues and senior leadership to keep them motivated. Offering family incentives like movie tickets and show passes etc. also helps since truckers have to stay away from their folks for long stretches of time.
If you have mentoring programs for your desk-based employees then why not for truckers as well? Sit with them, know their expectations from the company, their likes, dislikes, and chart a career growth plan that stitches any skill gap. Also encourage them to attend grooming events like trucking conferences. They will feel valued for sure!
Most importantly, involve them. Give them access to sound technology (in the form of a mobile communication app) that not only keeps them updated with daily company news, policies, team communication, etc. but also gives them the opportunity to voice out their opinions. No better way to feel engaged than this. The same tech should also be able to drive productivity by enabling truckers to perform daily tasks like completing deliveries, raising requests, accessing routes, generating invoices, etc. A seamless integration with other internal and external work apps makes this easy.
The Groupe.io mobile employee engagement platform is the best bet for fleet managers who wish to keep their trucker workforce happy. Truckers can be easily onboarded on the network even if they don’t have an email address. Then on, real-time messages and alerts keep them updated about relevant company communication, client info, delivery schedules etc. in a secure way. While the in-built task management and digital checklist functions ensure efficiency in daily delivery related tasks, crowdsourcing initiatives and surveys help them voice out their opinions and ideas, and safety/ training/ compliance quizzes enable truckers to stay involved. Groupe.io’s recognition cards can make truckers feel special and announcements related to health wellness, maintenance schedules etc. help them plan out their days in advance. There’s more: You can easily plug in other work apps to Groupe.io so that your trucker employees can have a full suite of them at their disposal (with a single sign-in), and also analyze their performance on the intuitive dashboard to take insightful decisions.
Keep your trucker workforce engaged and help them go the extra mile with Groupe.io.