National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is here!
This year the annual recognition event will be held from September 10th to 16th. This is the time for fleet managers and 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 celebrated once per year. But considering the outsized impact drivers have on our daily lives, they should be appreciated year-round.
In this blog, we will explore how to express gratitude towards drivers every day.
Table of Contents
Effectively Celebrating Drivers
Introducing a powerful incentive program to acknowledge and reward drivers for their safe driving demonstrates your appreciation for their skills. And positive reinforcement helps mitigate risky driving behavior in the long-run.
To truly show drivers that you appreciate them, it’s important to go the extra mile in your incentive programs. Many fleets achieve this by offering bonuses, giving recognition during safety meetings, or providing gift cards.
By sharing driver accomplishments with the entire team, you not only motivate the rewarded driver but also inspire other drivers to improve. Offering monetary rewards demonstrates to your drivers that your company is actively investing in their safety and well-being.
Dave Besterfeldt, Vice President of Midwest Operations for Altom Transport, Inc., says, “Our drivers are all entitled to safety bonuses. The better they’re driving … the more bonus money they get just for doing a great job on a daily basis.”
By celebrating and acknowledging their dedication to driver safety, you not only show your respect, but provide support for their professional growth.
Positive Communication: Avoid Telling and Start Showing
Consistent communication is key in fostering a positive work culture. It shows drivers they are important team members and their success is impactful to the company.
Successful fleets keep their drivers informed about all aspects of their operations, from timely updates on road conditions and industry news, to team member updates and employee recognition efforts.
By keeping the lines of communication open and encouraging feedback, you avoid a top-down approach. When drivers need coaching, provide a communication platform to acknowledge their skills along with areas for improvement.
It is essential to initiate a two-way dialogue. A text or email from the fleet manager makes a significant impact, fostering morale and ensuring drivers feel valued and recognized for their hard work.
“It’s important to stay disciplined with coaching, build relationships with drivers, and provide positive recognition. It’s like a bank account – you can’t make a withdrawal unless you have sufficient deposits.”
– Karen Smerchek, President of Veriha Trucking
If getting a conversation started is difficult, try surveying your drivers about specific topics. Here are some sample questions you can ask:
- What are your top three issues 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?
In addition to increased retention, regular positive communication reaps numerous benefits, including:
- Improvements in driver behavior
- Better CSA scores
- Decreased claims
- Higher profits
Appreciating Truck Drivers: Why Empowerment Matters
Enhance long-term recognition by empowering drivers to take ownership of their profession. With their unique driving styles and preferred routes, drivers possess valuable firsthand knowledge of daily fleet operations. By providing them with self-evaluation tools, you demonstrate your appreciation for their experience and expertise.
This creates a culture of accountability and responsibility where drivers are motivated to improve their performance. Using driver-focused technology that calculates a rolling performance score gives drivers and fleet managers the insights they need to best evaluate job performance.
Moreover, giving drivers control over their own performance allows them to feel appreciated and valued for their contributions to the fleet. This has a direct impact on the bottom line, as happy drivers are more likely to stay with a company for the long-term and provide better service to customers.
Drivers are valuable assets to fleets. They possess a wealth of knowledge and experience as they navigate the complexities of their job on a daily basis. Despite their crucial role, drivers often feel overlooked and unimportant because their feedback is not actively sought after by fleet managers.
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week celebrates and recognizes the 3.6 million professional men and women drivers who make logistics, transportation, delivery, and so much more possible every single day. And this appreciation should not be limited to one time out of the year – fleets should show appreciation throughout the year.
We have offered a few ideas on ways to do exactly that, but they are just scratching the surface of what’s possible. It is crucial for fleets to think beyond traditional recognition methods and seriously consider innovative ways to show how much they value their drivers.
Empower your drivers through positive recognition today with Driver•i.