Making drivers feel appreciated year-round


Evaluating driver appreciation

During the month of August, motor carriers will be planning for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW) on September 9-15.

While getting the cookouts, posters, hats, t-shirts and other tokens of appreciation ready for this post-Labor Day celebration, many fleet managers and executives will wonder if drivers at their companies really feel appreciated?

When the week comes, drivers may appear to be content with the food, giveaways and praises coming from headquarters, but those feelings of contentment are fleeting.

Invariably, many drivers will not be able to attend NTDAW events. They might only see photos and videos on social media while they are waiting on loads or spending their off-duty time at truck stops.

The fallout from incentives

Driver appreciation is more than a worthy aspiration. Many fleets are using a holistic approach to engage and reward their drivers year round for things they do that often go unrecognized by others in the industry.

Drivers have traditionally been recognized and rewarded through incentive programs tied to performance in safety, fuel and other scorecard metrics. Many of these programs use data from mobile and back-office technologies and scoring mechanisms that determine cash payouts.

Carriers often discuss their incentive programs with drivers as part of the recruiting process. For example, “you could make up to $80,000 a year if you hit all of our bonuses.”

Incentive programs may be well structured, but drivers may come to believe their bonuses are unrealistic or unobtainable. This thought process can spiral into feelings of resent for their carriers.

A more holistic approach

In a three-part blog series this month, I will be sharing insights from my own experience with driver recognition and appreciation programs that increase engagement, build loyalty and enable carriers to retain more of their drivers.

By way of introduction, I spent most of my career working with drivers as a health and wellness coach and as terminal manager for a leading carrier based in the Midwest. My previous employer was a four-time recipient of the Truckload Carriers Association’s Best Fleets to Drive For award.

As a Driver Experience specialist at Stay Metrics, I draw from this firsthand experience using the company’s Driver Rewards platform to take a consultative sales approach with new and prospective clients of Stay Metrics.

For the next blog I will be sharing ideas for using the Driver Rewards platform to help drivers feel appreciated for the work they do that often gets overlooked in the industry. Subsequent blogs will cover other strategies for developing a holistic approach to driver incentives, recognition and rewards that will help drivers feel appreciated year-round.

I look forward to our conversation.