This past week was National Truck Driver Appreciation week and boy do we appreciate our drivers! These guys are the best in the industry, they take pride in their work and we are extremely proud of them.
Our drivers, Dispatch, Operations and Safety Departments have all worked really hard to create a culture of Safety and collaboration and have been pretty successful in doing so. I thought I'd run through some things we've learned over the years that have really helped establish that.
Hiring the Right Drivers: Beyond the obvious screening and drug testing requirements and road tests, another angle to make sure you are hiring the most qualified, safest drivers possible is to set up an employee referral bonus program. This is great for your existing drivers, because it shows that you appreciate their skill and professionalism, along with trusting and valuing their opinion and input... not to mention they enjoy the bonus!
It's also good for your operations in terms of time - your existing drivers understand what the job takes, the culture of the company, and the skill level you are looking for - they know who is a good fit and more importantly, who is NOT. They can use this information to provide referrals that are of a high quality.
Dont forget that RETAINING quality employees is the most important investment you can make. A clearly defined Safety Program with clearly set boundaries and requirements helps keep everyone on the same page on expectations and consequences. We spend a lot of time clearly defining driver benchmarks and goals - and we recognize and reward drivers who consistently meet or surpass them with a cash Safety Bonus program. Whether your company prefers to do cash, a gift card, movie tickets, whatever - acknowledging the above-and-beyond effort put in by individuals is really important to keeping a positive culture and letting people know you appreciate the professionalism and dedication they put into their work.
One of the ways we've tried to go beyond having a Safety Program and into having a Safety Culture, is through Safety Meetings. Drivers attend these meetings, where new regulations are reviewed or certain topics discussed - they also have time to ask questions, or get feedback from other drivers on situations they've encountered in the field, etc. Beyond keeping everyone on the same page, the meetings have really seemed to help make us a team.
Happy, engaged employees are your best employees, and we've found that the best way to make people happy is to keep things clear and transparent, recognize that they are a skilled professional with valuable input, reward them for going above and beyond, and let them know that we appreciate their hard work and loyalty.