In an effort to get a bit more mileage out of the recent “Truck Driver Appreciation Week” — which should ideally be more of a year-round kind of thing — we wanted to devote some space to trucker gratitude. They toil under stressful, often harsh conditions, and they deserve genuine, tangible shows of appreciation.
Whether you’re a dispatcher, supervisor, or executive, there’s plenty you can do to make a driver’s job (and life!) more pleasant. Or easier. At the very least, more caffeinated and/or flavorful.
This isn’t just about good vibes. Appreciation is a key ingredient in retention.
With that in mind, here are a slew of ideas for showing drivers they are valued, and yes, appreciated.
- Gift card for a favorite restaurant or grocery store
- Some kind of basket laden with sundry culinary delights
- Gadgets that can make healthy eating easier and more efficient (juicer, crockpot, pressure cooker, etc.)
- Trucker-friendly recipe book
- Restaurant recommendations
- Shelf-stable healthy snacks
- Yeti gear
- Gadgets and apps that make navigating easy
- Electric blanket
- A nice mattress
- Deluxe trucker road atlas
- Don’t call during off hours/rest periods
- Research potential places to sleep for the night
- Do your darndest to get them home in a timely manner!
- Do your darndest to mitigate the annoyances that onerous government regulations have on morale!
- Take the time to work with a driver frustrated with any tech issues related to switching to electronic logging devices
- Make sure the receiving company will be unloading the truck so they don’t have to
- For the love of Pete, don’t send a trucker out in a rig with known maintenance issues
- Tool kit
- Try to call (or text or email) every now and again to share encouragement
- Give shout-outs on social media for a job well done
- Make sure dispatchers are as encouraging as possible and not just cracking the whip all the time
- Give internal, company-wide praise to recognize excellence
- Offer time off or other benefits for reaching certain goals
- Make truckers feel like an integral part of the team!
- Gym membership
- Swag (t-shirts, hats, etc.)
- Gift card for a massage
- Nice sunglasses
- Satellite radio subscription
- Sports/workout equipment or clothes
- Take the time to ask them for feedback on how things are going, what their main frustrations are, etc.
- Ask them to propose ideas regarding potential solutions to challenges faced on the job
- Do something nice for the trucker’s family when they’re away
- Honor their hard work with a respectable, decent living wage
Most of the items mentioned above are “things” — which are indeed a nice way to show appreciation. However, one of the most important, substantive ways to show appreciation is a bit more abstract. I’m talking of course about respect.
Like any other employee, truckers just want to be treated with respect, dignity, and fairness. That’s how you really show people they’re an appreciated, integral asset, rather than an expendable cog. Establishing trust, respect, and positive rapport requires intentional effort, and perhaps a mindset change, but it’s crucial for retention.