National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is around the corner! This year the annual recognition event will be held from September 11th to 17th. This is the perfect time for fleet managers and their communities to show how much the 3.6 million men and women drivers mean to them.
Founded by former ATA chairman Don Bowman in 1998 to raise public awareness, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is only celebrated once per year. But considering the outsized impact drivers have on our daily lives, they should be appreciated year-round. Here are some ways to show drivers appreciation throughout the year and acknowledge their positive contributions.
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Celebrate Safe Drivers Regularly
Retention in the truck industry has become an increasing issue, drivers are leaving faster than companies can train and hire new drivers. According to a 2022 survey done by Bulk Transporter, 37.4 percent of drivers are currently looking for new jobs. One solution is to regularly celebrate your drivers to create a positive work culture. To demonstrate your respect for drivers while supporting them at the same time, celebrate driver safety efforts. You can make safety a fundamental part of your fleet’s culture by launching a robust incentive program to recognize drivers’ safety score improvements. You can also recognize safety achievements, like one- and two-million accident-free miles.
Ideally, you should aim to go above and beyond incentive programs to show drivers you appreciate them throughout the year. Some ways to do this are by offering discounts for safety shoes, uniforms, and other gear, providing concierge services at freight terminals to help them with personal services when they’re on the road, and equipping drivers with up-to-date devices and safety technology. These thoughtful efforts can go a long way toward demonstrating you care about what drivers would like or want. The goal is to make a positive difference in their daily lives.
Keep Communication Positive
In addition to improving recruitment and safety, continual driver appreciation ensures better driver retention—57 percent of drivers say that poor retention is due to fleets not treating them like part of the team. Regular communication not only demonstrates respect but also proves that you consider drivers valuable team members and that you’re invested in their success.
Savvy fleets communicate about everything—whether it’s timely information about operations, road conditions, industry news, team member updates, or employee recognition efforts. Above all, it’s best to keep communication positive. Rather than using a top-down management style and telling drivers what to do, keep communication flowing both ways. When drivers need to correct their behavior, provide driver coaching that includes what drivers are getting right.
In addition to increased retention, regular positive communication reaps numerous benefits, including
- Improvements in driver behavior
- Better CSA scores
- Decreased claims
- Higher profits
Ask for Fleet Feedback
Drivers are smart, skilled workers. Every day, they deal with equipment issues, overcome logistical challenges, and interact with customers. These experiences make them a great resource for fleet improvement ideas. However, fleets often neglect to ask for their feedback, and drivers end up feeling like they don’t matter. With drivers on the road for long periods of time, starting a two-way dialogue can keep them connected. A simple text or email from the right person just to stay in touch can go a long way toward keeping morale high and ensuring they feel appreciated.
If getting a conversation going is difficult, try surveying your drivers about specific topics. Here are some sample questions you might ask:
- What are your top three irritations during the week that you’d like to change?
- Do you have suggestions for eliminating those issues?
- When you discuss an issue with your manager, how long does it take to resolve it?
Although recognizing every driver individually for their efforts on the frontline isn’t realistic, it is possible for fleets to show appreciation on a daily basis with practices like celebrating safety achievements, asking for feedback, and communicating positively. Netradyne is the only video telematics solution that enables fleets to provide drivers with positive feedback to increase driver retention.
Showing drivers appreciation has an array of benefits, including improving recruiting and retention efforts, boosting CSA scores, and ultimately increasing the bottom line. But above all, it helps you improve your relationship with your drivers and ensures they’re happy to be a part of your team every day. Learn more about how to improve how you recognize and reward your drivers.