As we discussed last week, engaging drivers is one of the most effective interventions a fleet can take to reduce their turnover. Fleets must engage their drivers on a consistent and frequent basis if they want to see meaningful results.
But there’s another aspect of engagement that we haven’t discussed yet, though it’s just as important: engagement quality.
In Part #2 of our two-part blog on retention and driver engagement, we’ll explain why and how to meaningfully engage with drivers to keep them around for the long haul.
Low-Quality Engagement Pushes Drivers Away
While inconsistent engagement can lead to high turnover rates, consistent, yet negative, engagement can be even worse. The company Stay Metrics analyzed 45,000 Qualcomm messages between drivers and dispatchers for just one carrier. They found that when dispatchers swear or are rude to drivers, it distracts them and negatively impacts their performance.
If a driver is only ever contacted by their manager when they’re being hounded over a hard braking event or a CDL expiration, they can begin to associate negative feelings with their manager. Similarly, if the only time a driver discusses their payroll is when there’s a problem, they will associate payroll problems with their driver manager.
This can make them unwilling to reach out when they need help and tarnish their perception of their fleet in general. It also sets a negative tone at the beginning of any interaction when they do reach out, as they will expect conversations with their managers to generally be negative.
Fortunately for fleets, there’s a simple process managers can follow to foster more meaningful relationships with their drivers.
Quality Engagement Leads to Retention: Here’s How
Though it’s at times difficult for managers to keep track of each driver’s personal details while overseeing a large and remote workforce, taking notes during their regular check-ins can help managers forge close relationships with their drivers. Taking five minutes to review notes before their next call can make each one feel like a continuation of a real, ongoing conversation.
When a manager shows they remember personal details like a driver’s favorite football team, the names of their family members, or any pets they have, drivers are likely to see their manager as more than just a voice over the phone.
While negative events like a hard brake may require discipline, it’s important that managers dispense their discipline as they would to a valued team member, rather than someone they don’t truly know.
The Tool You Need to Engage Your Drivers
Though instituting this process may seem difficult, there are tools available that can make it easy.
Safety Suite enables managers to add talking points and/or discussion plans to their regular check-in reminders to review before each call. Managers can always remember a driver’s favorite sports teams, career goals, family members, and how they’re working toward their next milestone. With the right driver management tools, drivers and managers form genuine, lasting bonds.
If you’d like to learn more about how Safety Suite can help you drive engagement and increase retention, watch a 2-minute demo or sign up for a deep-dive here.