How to Improve Communication with Your Drivers
Effective communication between the truck drivers and the management can go a long way in fostering a healthy work environment for everybody. If the drivers are comfortable communicating with the managers, then they will apprise them of their concerns on the road, maintenance requirements of the vehicle, issues they face during deliveries, and so on. Overall, this enables the fleet managers to make the trucking operations more effective and efficient, giving them the crucial edge over their competitors. Here are some tips for establishing such a healthy communication between the truck drivers and the fleet managers.
Build TrustMost drivers do not believe that the company has their best interests at heart. They feel that the decision-makers are completely segregated from their realities, and hence make decisions that do not consider their interests. The company should make proactive efforts to build trust with the drivers from day one when they are being hired.
During the time of hiring, understand thoroughly what the driver expects from your company. If it’s reasonable, then the company should actively try and fulfill those expectations. To avoid future problems, the interviewers should explain to the drivers in detail what is expected of them. This way, no confusion will arise in the future. Most important of all, fleet managers or their higher-ups should communicate with the drivers in their language. That doesn’t necessarily mean dumbing-down, but explaining the same thing in a way that the drivers are comfortable communicating. That is a surefire way to build trust with them.
Use Technology SmartlyThere are two reasons drivers hate technology. One is that they don’t always get proper training to use the technology, which makes them less efficient at their primary task, which is driving. The fact that most of them harbor some level of inertia to adapt to technology only makes the matters worse.
The second reason is that the companies do not always make smart technology choices or implementation. For instance, using an integrated communication system to connect with the entire fleet sounds like a game-changing technology. However, some companies use such a system to flood their drivers with broadcast noise that is directed at all drivers, instead of sending them contextually relevant messages.
One of the smartest implementations of technology has been the use of GPS devices like GPSTab, which allows automatic and real-time location tracking, thus reducing the work of the drivers, and making the system more efficient.
Be Curious, and Be UnderstandingIt is quite easy for the employees in the lower rungs of the organization to go completely unnoticed by the higher management. Drivers fall into that category. Most of them harbor a feeling that their issues and complaints go unheeded. So, they never bother to raise them either, until things get really terrible.
Fleet managers can change this dynamic by showing genuine curiosity about the drivers’ problems. They should then actively try to address those issues. Saying “I understand your problem, but…” isn’t going to help. So, if it is in the company’s ability to accommodate the driver’s request and address their issue, then the company should have employee policies that are friendly enough to do just that. Otherwise, there is something majorly wrong with the company policies.