According to an article published by the FMCSA, up to 80% of driver turnover is related to “churning,” which is described as drivers leaving their current positions in order to find work someplace they will feel more valued. Perhaps the most obvious way in which to demonstrate how much you value your drivers is through their paycheck. However, in today’s economic climate it can be difficult, if not impossible, to make wide sweeping pay increases. Instead, this month I’d like to focus on just a few steps that can demonstrate your appreciation for your employees’ hard work, without breaking the budget you’ve spent the last year working so hard to get under control.
1.) Create a Team Environment – Consider creating a council or ad hoc advisory committee that is made up of “top drivers,” defined by whatever criteria you feel is most appropriate. Becoming a part of the council not only provides your drivers something to aspire to, but once there, it will continue to make them feel valued. The benefit to you is that you can use the knowledge and experience of your top drivers to help you to continue to improve current operations and plan for the future of your business. Meetings can be held via conference call while drivers are waiting to load or unload.
2.) Recognize Good Work When You See It – Sounds pretty simple, but just acknowledging good work when you see it can go a long way to making your employees feel appreciated. Create and present to the driver certificates that recognize areas where he has had success (on time deliveries, DOT roadside inspections, helping out a team member, accident free miles, and so forth.) Consider announcing who has received which certificates to the rest of your staff. Doing so will demonstrate to the rest of your drivers that you are working hard to acknowledge and reward good work and may, in turn, motivate the rest of your group to do better. Consider requesting input from shippers and receivers, too. Ask them to let you know if your drivers are doing a good job, so that you can in turn commend them for having done so.
3.) Consider Low Cost Bonuses – Obviously all drivers appreciate the financial acknowledgement of work done well. If a large check isn’t an option for you right now, but you do have a little “extra” to play with, consider lower cost gifts as a method by which to reward your employees. For example, gift cards to restaurants the driver frequents while on the road or when home with his family, a store or website where he can purchase something for a hobby (such as hunting), or just a credit card type gift card that he can use anywhere he wishes. Alternatives to a gift card might include company apparel (such as sweatshirts, jackets and so forth), company sponsored seminars (such as a financial class or marriage retreat), a donation to the driver’s favorite charity or a paid day off.
4.) Have a Party – Consider hosting a company sponsored picnic, dinner or outing for the drivers and their families in appreciation of their hard work. Remember that if you choose to make available or serve alcohol, you will have an additional liability exposure. As such, it is recommended that you first consult with your insurance agent to verify that your General Liability policy coverages and limits are adequate.
5.) Consult Your Insurance Agent and Insurance Company Safety Representative – While companies with large fleets may be in regular contact with their insurance company’s safety representative, in most cases the same programs, benefits and tools are available to all clients. It doesn’t matter if you have one employee or one hundred. Together, your insurance agent and safety rep can help you create the driver incentive program that best fits your company’s objectives and budget. In addition, many insurance companies have a “driver recognition program” where drivers receive certificates, hat pins, plaques and so forth for meeting safe driving criteria.
Could you use some help in finding ways to reward your drivers for all they do for you? Give us a call today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782). We at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented and welcome the opportunity to help you honor your drivers.
Until next month,
Jeffery A. Moss, ARM