How to Take Control of Driver Happiness

Three Ways to Improve Driver Happiness Among Employees

Has the thought ever crossed your mind that keeping your best employees is just as, if not more important than customer satisfaction and retention?

In a Jan. 2019 article in Forbes, Naz Beheshti explained how highly engaged employees that feel passionate and empowered to do their best work, experience less absenteeism and almost 60 percent less turnover than the disengaged.

Another study has shown that companies with highly stressed employees spend up to 50 percent more on healthcare costs than other organizations. For the sake of employee health, happiness and productivity, keeping stress to a minimum is important. How does this apply to drivers and better yet, how do you keep your drivers happy?

The Problem with Driver Turnover

The trucking industry has one of the lowest job satisfaction ratings, with research showing that more than 30 percent of truckers quit in the first three months and 50 percent quitting in their first six months. There are many reasons truckers become dissatisfied with their jobs — whether it be that their employer makes promises they can’t keep or long hours alone in the cab. Either way, keeping drivers happy should be a priority.

It’s not just productivity and turnover that are impacted by employee happiness — but driver safety as well. In a Nov. 2018 study, researchers examined whether happiness and anger affected driving behavior in a simulator, discovering that strong negative emotions presented two ways in driving. Drivers experiencing negative emotions were more likely to drive aggressively, reducing their ability to react quickly in a crisis and being attentive to their surroundings.

This study makes it easy to draw the conclusion that aggressive or distracted drivers are inherently less safe drivers. If concerned about your driver, company and community safety, you strive to do everything you can to keep drivers focused and attentive.

The Underlying Question

How do you improve driver happiness and reduce stress behind the wheel?

Offering Competitive Pay

Nearly 90 percent of Americans say they “sometimes” stress about money — for over a third of Americans, that stress is “constant.” Employees who live paycheck-to-paycheck are more likely to be less attentive drivers than those who are fairly paid.

You have a budget to keep but keep in mind that it costs more to find, hire and train a new employee than it does to retain a current one. What if you can’t afford to increase salaries? Consider offering incentives for drivers who complete work on time, have no customer complaints, save on fuel or possess any other miscellaneous positive key performance indicators. Communicate that you value their work and time – praise goes a long way in cultivating an environment of happiness.

Providing More Feedback

According to a survey, around 40 percent of workers say they don’t feel appreciated at work and 65 percent say they want more feedback. Many employees are never praised or scolded unless their performance becomes a concern. Keep in mind that drivers have it even worse — since they’re not in the office, they can go all day without any form of praise.

With continuous driver monitoring, you can keep an eye on your drivers’ performance, providing you line of sight into when a driver becomes a potential liability. Continuous driver monitoring can also be used to recognize and reward good driver performance. A good example? Look to congratulate drivers who go a year or 50,000 miles without an incident.

Giving Additional Training

Continuous education is mutually beneficial, giving your employees the opportunity to keep driver skills sharpened and your company safer. Paying for their courses not only communicates that safety is a priority but also reduces the likelihood of crashes, protecting your bottom line.

What’s the Main Takeaway?

A happy workplace is a safe workplace – after all, if your employees feel appreciated and fairly compensated, their long-term happiness level will improve. A happy driver increases retention, benefits your bottom line and ultimately provides your customers with a better experience.