If you constantly recruit, hire and then lose drivers, you need to work on your driver brand. Earlier this week, we answered the unanswered questions for Driver Recruiting and Social Media from our webinar How to Create a Driver Brand. Our integrated partner, HireRight, hosted the webinar and we invited our friends Kyle Kistynik from Jetco Delivery and Marilyn Surber from Melton Truck Lines to provide real life examples.
The webinar included live Question and Answer period that overflowed with questions. Earlier this week we answered the questions on driver recruiting and social media <insert link here>. Below is part two to the questions on building a driver-centric culture.
Where is the best place to begin to improve the corporate culture?
Start by asking your employees on the front lines. Then, start by picking low cost, easy-to-implement items first. Start by getting a few wins and start to watch the effects snowball. If you haven’t read Brian Fielkow’s book, Driving to Perfection, (he’s the CEO of Jetco) you should start there. It’s full of actionable takeaways.
We have primarily OTR and Regional drivers that are not in our terminal regularly. Limited face to face interactions makes improving driver culture a challenge. Do you have specific suggestions to overcome this challenge?
This is the great challenge of the trucking industry: impacting positive cultural change with a geographically spread workforce. Melton has a similar model. I would focus on Marilyn’s suggestions to utilize social media to constantly communicate with the field. They used YouTube for videos from the company president. They have different groups on social media for drivers and spouses. Each dispatcher has his/her own group of drivers and social media groups to distribute messages. Everyone is on a different schedule and social media allows them to stay connected all the time. My suggestion is to re-watch that segment of the webinar and implement the ideas you complete today with your current staff and budget. Prove the model with no extra cost investment.
Tell me more about transparency. Are you talking about policy? I have drivers who want to know about other people's disciplinary action - do you share that?
You can never share HR related information, so that type of info is not we what we’re talking about here. Transparency includes items such as:
- Shared metrics that show how well the team is performing in certain areas (load count, DOT inspections, safety and performance areas, etc.)
- Vision for the company, where are we going or trying to go, strategically. Ask drivers for their input. Everyone has a right to be heard, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the company will be able to act on every “suggestion.”
- Transparency also means you allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of your employees. You must be willing to ask them for advice and input, admit the things you know you need to work on and, perhaps the most challenging, the things you need to improve or don’t know enough about. However you choose to answer, be sure you are clear and that everyone is on the same page.
What does it exactly mean when you claim “great home times for drivers”?
The lack of specificity is exactly our point. There are not many professions out there who cannot guarantee when someone will get home. The more specific you can be AND still keep your promise will make you stand out from the crowd. Just remember if you promise something, you’d better deliver or that driver is gone. On top of that, they’ll tell world you’re a liar, which will do you no favors with retention or recruiting.