Who would have thought that first impressions could hold so much weight in the trucking industry? When it comes to creating a strong company culture where drivers feel valued and engaged, not enough carriers fully understand the impact that driver training can have for its newest hires and seasoned employees.
When a driver is first hired at a company, the first thing they do is attend orientation training and their initial impression is going to be formulated during that interaction. They’re going to assess what their trainers say, evaluate how they interact with a fresh group of new hires, and learn how people within the organization speak to and treat one another.
Let’s also examine life after orientation. How does an organization conduct ongoing training? Does it happen yearly? Monthly? Or, only when a driver has an accident?
When Additional Training Isn’t Required
Training needs to be for the right reasons. A topic that comes up often in management conversations is the training as punishment versus proactive training debate. Proactive training helps drivers become more skilled and safer at what they do. It also supports the company culture and can become an extremely valuable tool when it comes to driver retention. When people know where they fit in the organization, and what is expected of them, they are generally more satisfied with their jobs. Simple as that.
When you see a driver struggling with a particular skill or topic during classroom or online training, track the results and follow up with the driver. This is an excellent opportunity to check in with the driver, find out how he or she is doing, and provide extra support wherever they need it. This is how organizations build and fortify their company culture.
Compensating Drivers For Training
Drivers normally get paid only when they’re rolling so asking them to take part in training during off hours can often seem like a burden. The solution? Pay them for the time spent training. Sometimes people forget that training isn’t just about refreshing old skills or learning new ones. Training has the ability to bring people together through discussions, collaboration, and sharing in a positive environment. Not only does training keep your drivers safe and well informed of best practices, it also connects your driver to the company so that they always know how they fit in and where they add value.
How a company approaches driver training can tell you a lot about its culture and how drivers feel about working there. What are you doing to drive employee engagement and build a culture of inclusivity and safety?