Does Your Fleet Embrace a Driver-Centric Culture?
A company’s culture defines who they are. The same thing applies to your fleet. Your values and goals say a lot about your company and what you stand for. I’ve talked about how important company culture is to marketers before in the article, Your Company Identity and Culture Can be the Key to Success.
While that article deals with company culture in the broader sense of marketing in general, driver perception of your company or fleet and how it is viewed is very important in the realm of truck driver recruiting as well. What sort of atmosphere are you cultivating and promoting throughout your fleet? Is your fleet driver-centric?
What is a driver-centric culture?
In large part, the success or failure of your fleet comes down to the drivers. Focus on them and make a concerted effort to work with them as much as possible. Maintaining a positive work environment can be the key to driver retention and recruiting success as you move forward.
To capitalize on that you must take the drivers’ point of view into account. A fleet can be perceived very differently by those on the road and those in the office; and when we talk about company culture we are basically talking about the perception of your fleet.
How do drivers see you? Your fleet needs to do everything it can to be inclusive and supportive of your drivers to foster positive experiences. This applies to prospective drivers as well. By focusing on driver relationships, interactions, and experiences you will foster a driver-centric culture.
To prospective drivers, your recruiters are the face of the fleet.
Your recruiters are the first point of contact to prospective drivers. The interactions they have with them will form the drivers’ initial opinions about your fleet. It’s important that the recruiters provide truthful information and paint an accurate picture of your fleet.
It’s critical that drivers feel the recruiting process was open and honest. No one wants to be lied to, especially when it comes to potential employment. If a driver feels the recruiter has stretched the truth, misled, or outright lied to them during this process it’s only going to lead to problems down the road…if not immediately.
Your recruiters are the first to tell your drivers what they can expect while working for you and how the company functions. Make sure you get off on the right foot with recruiting and carry that forward through orientation and beyond.
Driver orientation is a window into how your fleet works.
Your driver orientation and how smoothly it functions is a driver’s first real glimpse at how your fleet operates. A well-organized, interesting, and informative orientation can lay the groundwork for a successful relationship between you and those in attendance.
Simply providing a professional atmosphere with a well-run orientation program for them to learn about your fleet will give them a better idea about how your fleet operates. Making sure they are well fed, schedules adhered to, and helping coordinate or compensate for any travel shows that you value them and appreciate their time. All of this illustrates that you are actively working to foster a positive environment for your drivers.
Treat drivers with respect and show them they are part of the team.
One of the biggest complaints that drivers have is that they do not feel like they are part of the team. Many drivers feel that once they commit to a fleet, and are actually out on the road, the fleet takes them for granted and views them as numbers on a spreadsheet rather than the individuals that they are.
Building positive relationships between the drivers and dispatchers, as well as providing assistance with difficult shippers or law enforcement shows drivers that they are a valued part of the team.
This should also extend to your service centers or terminals as well. Make sure the drivers receive the services they need in a timely fashion to help to make things run smoother both for the drivers and your fleet as a whole.
Support your drivers once they are on the road.
Working long hauls is a difficult job. Any amenity you can offer to take some of the stress and pressure off welcome. Your facilities need to cater to your drivers.
Driver-Centric Perks Your Fleet Can Offer:
- Healthy food and gym options
- Entertainment available
- Comfortable lounges
- Clean bathrooms and showers
- Laundry equipment
These are just some of the things your fleet can and should provide to foster a driver-centric culture. Providing these services will keep them happy and again show them that they are a valued part of the team.
How does a fleet’s culture help or hurt recruiting?
Every fleet has values and principles that it operates by. These values and how you approach different aspects of business are what define your culture. It’s not enough to say that you love and support your drivers, you must demonstrate you truly do in every aspect of your business.
From recruiters, to orientation process, dispatchers, terminal service, and driver amenities on the road; every facet from top to bottom must adhere to and embrace the culture for it to take hold and work.
If your fleet develops a negative reputation drivers will stay away. That’s why it’s so important to do what you can to promote positive interactions. This approach will keep current drivers happy and only serve to make your fleet more attractive to prospective drivers. You can’t change a culture or company perception overnight, but taking whatever steps you can to promote a more driver-centric culture will help you begin the process.