There is no better time to recognize your workers

Mike Millian

Almost overnight our entire lives changed, both professionally and personally. While some lives were affected much more severely than others, we have all been affected in some way or another.

Covid-19 and its effects on the way we have had to live and adapt, has created an environment that this generation – or any generation, for that matter – has never seen before. These times have created an economic global shutdown like the world has never seen, and for those that have lost their jobs, it has created not only uncertainty and fear over finances, but at the same time it has created a social isolation that challenges our wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

Frontline and essential workers who have had to continue to work through the pandemic are dealing with other issues and anxieties. These workers are dealing with the fear of contracting the disease, as well as the fear of passing it along to their families and loved ones.

In the case of truck drivers, although they may be able to isolate from people in their truck cabs for long stretches of their workdays, limiting exposure, many of them do travel to highly-infected areas in both the U.S. and Canada, which exasperates their fears.

At the same time, they are in an environment where their own access to facilities has become even more difficult than before. The issues of safe parking and proper amenities have been around the industry and its drivers for years, however in the light of the fears of Covid-19 and public health orders, these issues have been exasperated with the closure of dine-in restaurants and access to their washrooms, and many shippers/receivers denying drivers access to facilities when they are delivering or picking up. (If you are one of these shippers/receivers denying access, you should be ashamed of yourself, and adopt an alternative plan to ensure drivers are provided access to a clean and well-maintained washroom while they are on site. After all, if they stop delivering and picking up your product, you will be closed altogether).

For these drivers who are out there day in and day out, risking their own health and welfare, and doing so under these trying circumstances, you have my gratitude and respect. When this virus finally passes, and we get back to some semblance of normalcy, let’s hope that the renewed respect the general public has for this industry and its drivers is not forgotten, and continues well into the future.

At the same time, lets hope the small segment of this industry that treated its own drivers with a complete lack of respect in the past, also change, or find it difficult to prosper in the new environment.

Getting back to the title of this article, although our lives have been consumed with Covid-19, can you think of a better time to acknowledge, reward and thank your employees for their sacrifice, perseverance and selflessness? I cannot.

Employees, now more than ever, need to hear how appreciated they are, how good a job they are doing, and to be thanked for their efforts and hard work. A little gratitude goes along way when it comes to retainment of current employees and recruiting new ones, as a workplace that shows it values and respects its employees is one that people want to stay at, or go to work for.

While money is currently tight for everyone, there is a way you can recognize your employees in a meaningful way, that doesn’t break the bank and only takes a small investment of your time. The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) annual awards program is a great way to do this and is designed to recognize veterans and up-and-comers in this industry.

For some of these awards, being a PMTC member is not even a requirement. The PMTC has many awards to help you recognize your employees’ efforts and provide them with funds to further their education and employment. Winners are recognized at our conference, acknowledged in press releases, as well as on our website, and are given mementos to commemorate their achievements. The awards consist of: The Vehicle Graphic Design Awards Competition; the Private Fleet Safety Awards; the Professional Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Training Scholarship; the PMTC Young Leaders Education Bursary; the Rick Austin Memorial Dispatcher of the Year Award; and the Hall of Fame for Professional Drivers.

As a result of Covid-19, the PMTC’s annual conference has been moved to Sept. 8-10, and the deadline to enter your employees for the awards program is July 15. You can see full information and entry details by clicking here.

Mike Millian

Mike Millian is president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada. He can be reached at trucks@pmtc.ca.

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