Feeling appreciated is an engagement factor that most Professional Drivers wouldn’t outright tell you that they need more of. With National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (September 16-22, 2012) well behind us, the honeymoon of appreciation is most likely wearing off. Now is a good time to review how Driver Managers can demonstrate Driver Appreciation year-round.
At Strategic Programs, Inc., we often hear frustration in comments from dissatisfied and disengaged Drivers such as, “They (the Company) treat me like a number, not a person.” From our experience, the issue isn’t a lack of caring by Driver Managers, it’s the perception of a lack of caring.
As a consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to meet several Driver Managers over the last few years, and the one thing they all seem to have in common is how much they all care about their drivers and their success.
How can Driver Managers positively influence Drivers’ perceptions? The first step is to understand how important it is and how much of an impact it can make in engagement and retention. In our research, we’ve found that Drivers that have regular check-ins with their Driver Managers are likely to be significantly more satisfied and engaged than Drivers who do not receive regular check-ins. The fact that a regular check-in from a Driver Manager can so greatly affect engagement demonstrates that these meetings are important and should be treated as a top priority.
Regular check-ins with Driver Managers is one way to show Drivers that they’re appreciated and that Driver Managers care about them. There are, however, several other ways to show drivers they’re appreciated throughout the year. Consider incorporating one or two of the following simple, cost-effective ideas:
- Send hand-written notes to Drivers who have gone above and beyond, thanking them for their effort.
- Send a note to families of Drivers to let them know how much you appreciate their Driver family member.
- Inform leadership about notable efforts by Drivers; copy the Drivers on the email.
- Make sure you’re calling Drivers for good feedback, not just bad news.
- Distribute a coupon or gift card for shop merchandise.
- Make it personal. Keep detailed notes on each Driver’s most important “things,” such as a birthday, kids’ names, anniversary date, favorite sports team, career goals, etc. so that when you call to check in, it’s personal.
- Take the personal one step further and send a card for important milestones, such as birthdays and workplace anniversaries.
Appreciation doesn’t have to cost a lot and can be done at any time. What one thing will you do this week to show Drivers that you appreciate them all year?