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Truck drivers are the lifeblood of any organization. They ensure goods are delivered safely, securely and on time while grappling with demanding long hours, load capacity fluctuations, driver shortage challenges and economic uncertainties.
The transportation industry will need to hire 1.1 million new truck drivers over the next decade (1) - an average of 110,000 per year to keep up with freight demand - (2) and the U.S. trucker shortage is expected to more than double over the next decade.
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, September 8-14, is the perfect time to acknowledge the importance of your drivers and all that they do to keep your organization running; as well as showing true gratitude for the dedication, professionalism and hard work that drivers commit to every day. We’ve rounded up five easy ways you can highlight the value your drivers bring to your organization and showcase how they contribute to the ongoing success of your business.
In addition to showing your appreciation to those that keep your company on the move, now is also the perfect time to consider how implementing intuitive, easy-to-use GPS technology can help your drivers address challenges, increase productivity and alleviate stress year-round.
Five ideas for thanking your drivers this September
During National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, there are a number of ways to express your gratitude for your drivers’ hard work and ensure that they know just how much they matter to your organization. Here are five simple ideas that can have a big impact:
- Order a “thank you” lunch or dinner. If logistically possible, throwing a thank you lunch or dinner for all of your drivers and their families is a great way to get everyone in one place at the same time to catch up, unwind, have fun and get a sense of how much their service means to your company.
- Create a “The drivers behind my business” campaign. Create a campaign via social media, email and across internal company communication channels to shine a light on the contributions of each and every driver. Select one of more drivers each day and personally thank them while spotlighting details about their lives and interests outside of work to make them feel special.
- Present thoughtful gifts. Everyone loves getting a gift, especially when it’s unexpected and meaningful. Consider giving all your drivers a gift geared toward making their road travels easier or more fun to show you understand how tough life on the road can be.
- Solicit feedback. Sometimes the best way to show you care is to ask your drivers how they feel. Listening to their honest feedback about their jobs, what’s working and what isn’t—and then making changes to improve their jobs based on that feedback—shows your value their dedication and are invested in their well-being.
- Implement a driver spotlight program. Whether weekly, monthly or quarterly, creating a program that rewards a specific driver for his or her outstanding contributions (with a plaque, bonus or other award) supports a culture of appreciation and gratitude that can extend well past a single month.
Demonstrating year-round appreciation with driver-centric technology
Additionally, appreciation for your drivers can—and should—extend beyond National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and companies must do all they can to make sure drivers are safe and productive on the road. One impactful way is to deploy technology that will make their lives easier, encourage them to remain part of your workforce and help them address persistent challenges.
Upgrade your GPS fleet tracking: Your drivers need more navigation software that understands the stress of safely maneuvering an 80,000-pound machine. Providing drivers with the very best navigation tools is critical to making their lives less stressful, and is a primary reason many businesses may initially implement a GPS tracking solution.
But there’s much more to the technology. Fleet tracking can be a valuable tool to help solve the challenges drivers face and encourage safe driving. For example, in-cab alerts can be used to help drivers perform at their best, and hi-res maps provide both managers and drivers with 24/7 insight into where they are to help keep all employees and vehicles safe.
Make ELD compliance easier: By December 2019, if a commercial vehicle requires a USDOT number, it also needs a compliant electronic logging device (ELD), meaning that AOBRDs are no longer acceptable.
By integrating telematics technology with ELDs in each of your vehicles, you help drivers reduce three of the top five finable areas:
- Not having driver logs, or out-of-date logs
- Driving hours over daily allowance
- Log errors
And, now that ELDs are mandated, drivers are also starting to appreciate the benefits of paperless record-keeping coupled with greater peace of mind when they’re on the road or at a DOT roadside inspection. With integrated technology, DOT roadside inspections will likely move along faster and carry less of a potential risk of a fine—which reduces violation costs and keeps them on the road and productive.
Enable better driver training: Integrated GPS tracking can help form the basis of a digital coaching forum, allowing for the tracking of vehicle start/stop times and on-time arrivals—which helps managers to see where productivity improvements can be made. Formalized safe driving programs can be set up using telematics data to encourage drivers to achieve safe ratings and earn rewards in a fun, non-punitive way.
Likewise, investing in technology like integrated video within each vehicle helps to amass real-life examples of undesirable driving behaviors to use for coachable moments. Using video to help coach drivers against harsh braking, speeding and other risky behaviors also aids in retention and reinforces safe techniques that not only help keep drivers safe but also mitigate your company’s liability risk.
Your drivers are dedicated professionals who take pride in doing their jobs safely and efficiently. They work hard, and when they’re happier, it means that your operation is running more efficiently and more profitably. It’s important for them to feel acknowledged for a job well done, so be sure to show them how much they mean to your company this month. And to find out more about how you can invest in technology that has your drivers’ backs—both during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week and all year round—be sure to visit www.verizonconnect.com.