3 Ways to Appreciate Drivers and Improve Their Experience

September 15, 2021

With a commercial driver labor market that is tighter than ever, it’s increasingly important for organizations to improve drivers’ day-to-day experience in order to retain them for the long term. According to a 2020 Commercial Carrier Journal report survey of 1,000 drivers, more than half cite a lack of respect and team culture as a top reason why fleets struggle to recruit and retain drivers. 50% of drivers also believe companies don’t get them home often enough and 23% feel their work doesn’t provide them enough loads.

As National Driver Appreciation Week is upon us once again, it’s a good reminder to take the time to show your drivers how much you care. This September, we want to highlight 3 ways you can appreciate your drivers by improving their on-the-job experience:

1. Simplify drivers’ days

Take the complexity out of your drivers’ days by digitizing the most time-consuming and manual processes with mobile forms, electronic logs, and guided workflows for your fleet. In a recent survey of 160 Samsara customers, over 50% believe implementing mobile workflows will improve the retention and/or safety of their drivers. 

The Solid Waste Department in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, helped drivers save days’ worth of time by equipping them with the Samsara Driver App, an all-in-one mobile app for drivers to conduct paperless DVIRs, capture curbside violations with Documents, and stay connected to dispatch. “Before, our drivers spent all day writing down violations on paper. Now, with their tablets, it takes seven seconds to cite a violation,” said Korey Jones, Collections Administrator.

To further improve drivers’ experience, Athens-Clarke management used the App Designer feature to tailor the app’s home page, and used Workflow Builder to create guided start-of-day workflows. "Now, our drivers do not have to worry about accidentally tapping on features that are not relevant for their tasks,” said Collections Administrative Assistant Nancy Flowers. “The new layout is intuitive, so drivers do not need additional training. We have received driver feedback commenting that these adjustments have made their lives easier."

By shifting the burden of time-consuming tasks like vehicle inspections and HOS logs onto tools that help streamline the process, you can make your drivers’ lives easier so they can focus on hitting the road, taking on more loads, and getting home more often.

2. Exonerate and celebrate safe drivers

Ensure your drivers feel supported and valued at work with a focus on safety and recognition. This is especially important since 45% of drivers attribute the industry-wide recruitment and retention problem to a lack of support from their companies in critical situations. 

Waste transportation provider Sprint Waste Services has been able to advocate on behalf of their drivers using Samsara’s on-demand video retrieval. “Very soon after we started installing the cameras, we had an accident that was not our fault and we were exonerated at the scene,” said Dave Nelson, President. “After seeing how the footage could exonerate them firsthand, our drivers were fully bought in.” A year after rolling out Dash Cams, Sprint Waste had exonerated drivers from 52% of incidents and decreased their already stellar driver turnover rate to just 25.6% — more than three times lower than the industry average of 80-90%.

ArcBest, a national leader in supply chain logistics, supports its nearly 7,000 drivers with a robust safety and rewards program backed by Samsara’s video-based coaching and driver safety scores. Managers use footage to coach safe driving behaviors and celebrate incident-free employees regularly. As Josh Lovan, Director of Safety & Security says, “Safety is a top priority at ArcBest and retaining talented drivers is all about showing that you care about their safety. The average number of years a driver is with ArcBest is around 11 to 12 years. That longevity speaks volumes.”

With tools like Samsara’s Video-Based Safety solution, you can show your commitment to supporting drivers in times of need and celebrating them at their best.

3. Create a strong sense of community

With drivers often working long hours alone — on the road or in the field — a strong culture of frequent communication is crucial to combating driver discontent. A recent Workhound study found that interpersonal relationships and communication can make or break the driver experience: Nearly 40% of positive driver feedback highlighted “people and communication” as clear differentiators for their employers.

At Nebraska-based broadline foodservice distributor Cash-Wa, two-way, text-to-speech messaging in the Samsara Driver App has helped drivers safely maintain a deeper sense of connection with managers while on the road, which in turn has led to improved retention. “Drivers universally talk about how Corporate doesn’t communicate enough with them,” said Jim Hoss, VP of Operations. “So it’s awesome to have an easy way to reach out to everyone when something big is happening. Some drivers even reply to say thanks.”

GP Transco, the winner of the 2020 Samsara Top Fleet Award for Excellence in Driver Experience,  makes drivers feel heard by encouraging them to approach problems with an ownership mindset. Using messaging, DVIR, and document capture capabilities in the Samsara Driver App, drivers play a vital role in the company’s feedback loop, collaborating with management to improve everything from maintenance downtime to fuel usage. “They listen to me; they encourage me to call when there’s a problem,” says Tom Masters, a driver at GP Transco. “It’s a lot more than just money that’s invested. They really want to know: ‘How can we help you complete the job?’”

Whether it’s through employee recognition, regular outreach, or simply asking drivers for their feedback, show your drivers you appreciate the essential role they play in serving their community without fail, every day.

Putting the driver experience first

In the face of an unprecedented driver shortage exacerbated by the continuing pandemic, we’ve been inspired by the ways in which our customers have invested in simpler, safer, and more engaging experiences that put drivers first. Above all, we celebrate all of the drivers across America who’ve dedicated their lives to keeping our goods delivered, our services connected, and our economy powered, day in and day out.

Looking for more ways to appreciate and retain your drivers? Check out our additional resources on how to improve overall driver experience and combat the driver shortage. To learn more about the Samsara platform, reach out for a free trial or demo today.

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