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connect drivers

Crafting messages that connect drivers during the time of Coronavirus is a balance of content and delivery. Each time you communicate with your fleet, look for ways to emphasize the value your employees bring. Then, choose the channel that is best suited for the message you are sending. Here are 8 best practices for effectively communicating messages that connect drivers.  

Craft the Message

1. Keep It Positive

Everyone is experiencing the pandemic a little differently, but it’s not easy for anyone. In a June 2020 survey of nearly 250 million American adults, the Household Pulse found a dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, and worry directly correlated to COVID19.  As an employer, you can be confident that at least some of your drivers are among those numbers.

More than ever, this is a time to keep your messaging positive. Recognize quality performance and create opportunities to build c  omradery among your team.

Keep content upbeat and treat drivers with respect. Share company highlights and successes, especially if you can attribute it to the work of your team. Small gestures quickly add up and can make a big impact on drivers.

2. Put People First

National job uncertainty has been a hallmark of 2020. With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to show drivers that you care. Making people a priority is more than a feel-good gesture. In times of economic uncertainty, high driver turnover rates are more costly than ever. Make it a priority to keep drivers that you have and to recruit with retention in mind. To be successful, launch or renew efforts to get driver feedback on what they need. Then, be proactive in implementing changes for their health and wellbeing. 

3. Prioritize Transparency

With information changing so quickly, communicating with transparency requires a delicate balance. The good news is, drivers also know this. Be as accurate as possible, but also honest about the uncertainties you are navigating. Prioritize sharing information with drivers that will affect their jobs or lives. In your communication, be realistic and honest about what your company is and is not able to accommodate. When drivers have questions, listen to understand rather than to respond. Focus on setting appropriate expectations and de-escalating frustration or tension.

4. Be Clear and Consistent

In addition to transparency, consistency is critical during uncertain times. It’s so important that in 2019, Harvard Business Review found that consistency is one of the three key elements of building trust.

In the trucking industry right now, transparency is a way of giving drivers something stable to rely on. Have policies in place for personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing resources, and sick days. Unfortunately, no one can control the outcome of this disease or how different economic sectors will respond. That said, veteran and new drivers should know what they can expect from you. Be proactive in communicating measures for their health and safety before it’s an emergency.

Fine Tune Your Message Delivery

5. Give Praise in Public and Private Ways

To connect drivers during Coronavirus, the message delivery is almost as important as the content. To recognize drivers, take a two-fold approach. Be public with praise on social media in addition to internal kudos. Highlight drivers who are doing quality work during this time, and call attention to their hard work! Hero campaigns are a great way to do this. 

Public recognition is most meaningful as a way to connect drivers when it is paired with private or internal recognition as well. Drivers will quickly see through any companies that praise in public and don’t value drivers in private. In addition to external marketing campaigns, take time to reach out to drivers individually. Share your appreciation directly with drivers who are doing good work. Listen for signs of stress and other challenges that drivers are facing. Support drivers in any way you can. Good employees are your most valuable company resource.

6. Sending to One or Many?

There is a lot of information to communicate right now. Within that flood of content, identify dissemination best practices. In short, not every message is for every driver. Some information is best shared with your entire fleet as a bulk message. Other instructions or resources might only be relevant for a subset of individuals or even a single person. Consider carefully who needs to hear which pieces of information before sending anything. 

7. Contact Drivers on Their Terms

Choosing to use the platforms drivers prefer is a form of respect, and it’s good business. Our Drive My Way Driver Happiness and Retention Survey found that 64% of drivers prefer to speak with recruiters by phone with email being the next closest option. Now, other platforms using video calling or other technology may also play a role in training or fleet communication.

64% of drivers prefer to speak with recruiters by phone. Email is the next most popular communication channel.

Choosing to communicate based on drivers’ preferences is a small way to accommodate your drivers and increase job satisfaction. Similarly, reach out to drivers at times that work for them. Attending to details like communication channel and timing turns the driver – manager relationship from a one-way chain of command to a conversation. 

8. Air on the Side of Over-Communicating

hiring truck drivers

Communicating with the mobile, widespread workforce that is truck drivers is no small job. Add to that challenge the flood of information and misinformation that is swirling around Coronavirus. The bottom line? It’s hard to overcommunicate with your fleet right now.

Drivers’ viewpoints are shaped primarily on their day to day experience on the road or hear from other drivers. That may not be the whole picture. Because drivers have often not earned the respect they deserve, some may think they are being singled out unfairly. Take the time to listen to their concerns and empathetically explain any increased regulations and reassure drivers that they are valued as part of your team.

driver happiness and retention survey

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We surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their career and life. Access the survey report to see the results.

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truck driver layoffs

By March 2020, it had become evident that COVID-19 had spread to the United States, but it was difficult to anticipate the nuances of the economic fallout to come. The trucking industry has been deemed essential, yet few people accurately predicted the vastly different outcomes that would divide the industry. The fate for many fleets hinges on the presence or absence of a single word. “Essential.” That designation has created a feast and famine situation that has left some companies scrambling to hire drivers while others face heart-breaking truck driver layoffs.

If you are one of the companies that has been forced to consider layoffs and furloughs, you have our sympathy. These are difficult times that demand that you to make difficult decisions for yourself, your drivers, and your company. As you move forward, we encourage you to, above all, prioritize people.

Be a Hero to America’s Heroes

The way you treat drivers during hard times and bad situations will be the way they will always remember you. Choose respect, honor, and integrity. Even if you have to lay off drivers or place them on furlough, support them where you can. Here are a few ways you can help your drivers if a layoff is unavoidable.

1. Get Drivers Home Safely

Your truck drivers work hard for you. Make sure you don’t leave them with loose ends. If you have truck driver layoffs, treat your drivers how you would want to be treated.

Get drivers home safely and don’t turn off their fuel cards. Doing so demonstrates to your drivers that you care about them as people and not just for the work they do. The cost to your company is small compared to the respected reputation you earn.

2. Be Clear in Your Communication, Especially About Jobs

Each truck driver who is laid off is going to start looking for another job, but first, they will have an important question for you. Should they anticipate their job coming back? Unfortunately, most of us don’t have an easy answer to that question. As an HR professional or executive, the best approach is transparency. If there is a possibility you may hire again soon, let them know. Do you anticipate that it may be a long dry spell in hiring? Be honest about that as well, and connect your drivers to job finding resources like Drive My Way.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Valuable Resources

You may be facing quite a few truck driver layoffs within your company. Each person will react to the news differently, but many of them will have the same questions. Prepare for some of their most immediate concerns and questions your drivers might have. Drivers may ask how to file for unemployment, whether their health coverage will continue, and whether they will have disability insurance. Soon, they will become more work-focused as they begin looking for a new job and may wonder if they need to register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse.

Drive My Way’s displaced driver resources can help you navigate these questions and we’re here to help get your drivers back on the road as soon as they’re ready.

Displaced Driver Resources

Help drivers transition, search for a job, and care for their families.

How to Have the Hard Conversation

No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, especially in such uncertain times. If you do have to make layoffs in your company, strive to be clear, concise, and compassionate. Your drivers are aware of the economic uncertainty right now, so don’t sugarcoat the truth. Acknowledge that no one is at fault for the global crisis, but it is creating very difficult circumstances for your company. Reassure drivers that your decision is not because of their performance and that they have been a valued part of your team.

Here’s our conscientious layoff template for getting started with hard conversations.

Due to the current economic state, it saddens me to share that we, unfortunately, need to downsize our fleet. This affects our entire company and is an extremely tough decision for us to make. Our drivers have gone above and beyond for our company, and we want to help you transition during these difficult times. We respect you, appreciate you, and want to assist you and your family. We hope to operate at full capacity again in the near future but, unfortunately, can’t anticipate a new start date due to the unstable state of the economy. In the meantime, we’re committed to providing you with resources as you make this transition and would like to stay in touch as our situation changes and we are able to hire again.

Consider the Health Impact on Managers

As you strive to be compassionate toward your employees, don’t forget to safeguard your own physical and mental health. Leaders who are consistently having to deliver layoff notifications to drivers and staff won’t get much sympathy from other employees but are likely coping with a tremendous amount of stress themselves. You might notice stress as the subtler signs of increased irritation or frequent headaches. For others, it might be obvious. Difficulty sleeping at night, emotional breakdowns, and the development of serious health concerns all point to stress. For the health of yourself, your colleagues, and your company, you can’t afford to ignore these signs.

To keep moving forward, give yourself time and space when you need it. Anxiety and stress over layoffs are normal. Be honest and compassionate with yourself, just as you are with your employees.

Ask yourself:

  1. Have I acted with integrity?
  2. Have I made well-educated decisions with the best interest of my company in mind?
  3. Am I systematically looking for solutions to sustain my company through this drought?

If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, be a little less hard on yourself. You are doing exactly what you should be. Manage stress by making time for exercise and healthy meals. Even on the busiest days, carve out a few hours of time each day to completely detach from work. You are the strongest asset to your company when you are able to work productively and maintain perspective on your job.

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We’ll Get Through This Together

Times like these create uncertainty, but they also lead to opportunity. We’re here to help you and your team, whether you’re downsizing or growing.

trucker job postings
When was the last time you applied to your own trucker job posting? Yes, that sounds strange, but there are reasons why trucking recruiters should try applying to their own postings. Since job postings are the first type of engagement that leads directly to a driver being considered for a job, it’s crucial to get them right. Recruiters can test their own job postings by making sure they are simple, user-friendly, and check off all the right boxes. With hundreds of other carriers out there, truckers have very little time to read every job posting, which makes getting it right all the more important. Here’s a helpful checklist for your ideal trucker job postings.

1. Optimize for Search Engines

The content of your trucker job posting is irrelevant if no one sees it online. Even if you have the best written job description and images, it won’t matter if it doesn’t show up on online searches or the right advertising channels.

If you’re sharing job postings on digital channels, it becomes crucial to reach your target audience. You can optimize your job posting with keywords and phrases that truckers are searching for. Use Google Keyword Planner or similar tools to keep a pulse on which terms drivers search, and the match those in your job descriptions.

2. Mobile-friendly

mobile-friendly application

More and more job seekers are searching for jobs on their mobile devices. Even if they end up not applying through mobile, they’ll browse and shortlist the jobs while on-the-go.

Creating job postings which are mobile-friendly will ensure they are easy to read and view on small devices. Ideally, your entire application process is mobile-optimized, including a single-sign on functionality and save-application features.

But this starts with the job postings themselves.

  • Is the text easy to read and understand on mobile?
  • Or is the font size not optimal for mobile?
  • Are images clear and detailed?
  • Or over-sized and blurry?

View and apply to your own job posting on mobile to make sure it works as planned.

3. Calls to Action

Every piece of text in your trucker job description should be designed to lead to the APPLY NOW button. That’s your call to action. After you’ve successfully persuaded a driver to consider working at your carrier, you don’t want to be searching aimlessly for how to proceed next.

Make sure your call to action buttons are front and center, and easy to identify.

You may want to include it two or three times, depending on the length of the job posting. Including a call to action at the very top and the very bottom of the post is essential, with another one in the middle being optional.

4. Contact Information

Where should drivers turn if they have questions about this job? Your trucker job posting should have easily identified contact information. Have you posted a phone number, email address, or other contact info? If truckers don’t see contact information, they won’t wait around to investigate. They’ll simply move on to the next job posting that sounds good.

If the job is posted on your own website or other digital channels, you can even integrate chat functionality for more optimal communication. This way drivers can write to recruiters in real-time with their questions. If recruiters are away at the moment, a chat bot can be programmed to deliver automated responses and record driver queries until you are able to get back to them!

5. Text Description

truck driver job postingFinally, we are getting to content. Did you notice that we didn’t cover it yet? This isn’t because the content of your trucker job postings isn’t important! Rather, it’s because you can get the content just right, but still not have a strong posting if you miss out on other things on the checklist. With the job posting description itself, it’s all about striking a balance.

You want it to be long enough to hook drivers and give them the important details. But if it’s too long, it may more drivers with unnecessary details which they’ll just ask about later anyway.

Rather than a simple bulleted list of responsibilities and qualifications, you’ll want to paint a picture of the experience and the company.

Use a varied hierarchy of text to mix how the information is presented. Important details can be highlighted by using bolding, underlines, or different font sizes. Anything you can do to visually catch the eye of the reader will make that information stand out.

6. Images

In addition to the text description, make sure your job postings contain images. In fact, the richer multimedia content you can include, the better. Depending on the channel of the posting, you may be able to include more graphics, or even a video featuring testimonials from your own drivers.

It’s very important to show images that represent the experience truck drivers will have. For many drivers, seeing a picture of the type of truck they’ll be driving is essential before they consider working for that carrier. Make sure images have good resolution, that they are the proper size, and that they are placed in the right position on the page.

truck driver job description template

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Truck Driver Job Description Template

Your job description can either convert or lose applicants. Follow this template to make sure you’re on the right track.

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Care About Your DriversAs the saying goes, people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. Managers usually set the tone for an employee’s overall work environment and are the front line for employees feeling appreciated. For truck drivers who are mobile most of the time, they have plenty of other things that can impact their day. So, there’s a good chance truckers can feel a lack of appreciation from many angles. You can’t control all of them, but you can help in a few key ways. Here are 5 ways to demonstrate that you care about your drivers.

Getting drivers to feel a sense of appreciation and engagement is a proven way to increase job satisfaction and ultimately driver retention.

Showing appreciation for your drivers should be part of your company’s overall culture. Though grand gestures of appreciation and thanks are usually well received, it’s the smaller things that make life easier on a daily basis that can make the most difference.

1. Equipment

Be proactive on equipment maintenance and upgrades. Keep up with equipment services and routine maintenance. Be responsive to your drivers’ feedback and concerns with their trucks and tools.  This shows that you care about your drivers safety and comfort. Your drivers will have less breakdowns and related delays as a result. This can help your truckers stay on schedule, and have less less wasted time and aggravation. And you can help minimize lost revenue for your bottom line.

2. Scheduling     

Being mindful of your drivers’ time is a great way to show your appreciation for truckers. Helping to avoid snags in scheduling can avoid adding unnecessary stress to an already stressful job. And can make sure that they’re home as planned for their down days. Drivers do their part daily to make sure that hours of service and breaks are properly logged. Your internal teams should also do their best to do what they can to keep your truckers moving and avoid detention time. When something out of everyone’s control does come up, have plans in place to compensate the driver for ALL of their time.

3. Implement Incentives

Incentive programs are a great way to keep your drivers feel appreciated and rewarded for their hard work. And can also help you to keep your teams moving toward reaching your goals.

Listen to your drivers’ needs. Work to understand what encourages them. Then you can find a relevant set of driver incentive programs to put into place.

4. Ongoing Education Opportunities

Giving your truckers access to ongoing education can be a great way to show you care. Helping drivers stay current with the latest in safety, industry and professional news, can help increase engagement, and retention. This can also help ensure that your drivers are the best in class when it comes to training and compliance.

5. Simply Say Thank You

Handwritten notes are rare these days. A thoughtful handwritten note for a job well done, or to show that you noticed that they went the extra mile on a job, can mean more than a free lunch or a bonus in their paycheck. Social media can also be a great place to call out your “Driver of the Month” or a place to highlight significant milestones for your truckers. Simple gestures can oftentimes be more meaningful ways to show you care about your drivers. These can also leave a longer lasting sense of appreciation.

Keep a running list of ideas to make your drivers feel extra appreciated next year. A great idea would be to poll your drivers in advance and ask them for ideas how to celebrate this special week for the entire trucking industry!

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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