For those who don’t know, Best Fleets to Drive For is a competition that highlights companies in the trucking industry that are going above and beyond for their employees with driver-focused programs. The hope is that the best practices that surface at the competition become commonplace in the industry to retain existing drivers and reach out to those who are flirting with the idea of driving professionally as a career option.
The seminar was upbeat, light, and informative (and most notably, free) thanks to the seminar’s speaker, Mark Murrell. Murrell is the co-founder (his partner is Jane Jazrawy) of the Truckload Carriers Association’s Best Fleets to Drive For competition. As co-founder he conducts countless interviews and surveys to get a better feel for what fleets are doing and what drivers want from their employers.
Being new to the world of trucking and transportation the seminars were an eye-opener since I’ve merely received a crash course on what’s going on in the industry (I’ve only been on the job for two months now). Most of my days as an assistant editor are spent talking to trucking company executives on the phone discussing what they see in the future for the industry and what they are doing to help move their company forward.
What I found the most interesting about the seminar is when Murrell discussed some of the (unedited) comments he received and read on the survey this year. Hearing what the industry needs from the drivers themselves, as opposed to an executive was a whole new kettle of fish for me.
Rather than the standard “agree/disagree” questions this year, the survey provided space for drivers to provide feedback and comment on what they wanted from their employer. Murrell said with this new survey enhancement, he received more than 500 pages of comments that he had to rifle through himself (he jokingly admitted to skimming a few of the ones with poor spelling and grammar). He shared a handful of the ones he thought were the most interesting with the attendees on a projection screen. Here were a few of the suggestions that stuck out to me:
Lots of drivers were requesting pet/rider policies from their fleets.
This was something Murrell said they hadn’t seen in the past years. Of course, with the long drives away from their family and friends a driver can get pretty lonely. Having Fido come along for a trip would help the trips be more enjoyable and feel more like home.
Drivers also wanted assistance with eating healthier.
As many avid grocery shoppers know, eating healthy is not only difficult, but expensive. It’s understandable why drivers who are away from home for long periods of time would rather buy a burger off the dollar menu at a fast-food joint, than grocery shop for pricey vegetables and chicken that they then have to cook themselves. However, drivers said they would appreciate being helped with that cost so they can better themselves physically.
They wanted dash cameras to be used by everyone.
Drivers said that they wanted dash cams to be used to help and not as a punishment for those who are struggling. Implementing dash cameras across the board is what most drivers surveyed wanted to in order keep themselves and their fleets safe.
So now, I turn it over to you, the readers. What do you make of these suggestions? Do you agree with them, or have any of your own?
The half-day seminars are still running across Canada and are free to attend. To see if they are in a city near you click here.
Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface