It’s that time of year again – time for drivers and owner/operators who are happy with the company for whom they drive to nominate those carriers for recognition under the Truckload Carriers Association’s Best Fleets to Drive For competition. This program continues to gain recognition and with each passing year, the level of competition strengthens.
Mark Murrell, whose firm CarriersEdge administers the program, said during the most recent seminar series to support the program, that that perks and benefits that were unusual just a few years ago are now becoming mainstream. Conditions for drivers are improving at many carriers and leading trucking companies continue to find ways to differentiate themselves. It has been said many times that he who has the drivers wins, and it really is a driver’s market today. Fleets in the US have been announcing improved pay packages but the truly inventive fleets are focusing not just on driver pay, but also other benefits and lifestyle enhancements that will convince drivers to come to their organizations and just as importantly, to stay there.
So if you think your carrier is deserving of a nomination – and traditionally, Canadian carriers have done quite well – then you can nominate them by going to www.BestFleetsToDriveFor.com. One notable change to the format kicks in this year. In the past, two grand champion awards were presented: one for the best company driver fleet and another for the top owner/operator fleet. However, this year there will still be two grand champion awards, but they’ll be divvied up among small- and large-sized carriers. This is to create a more level playing field and to eliminate confusion about what exactly qualifies as an owner/operator fleet or company driver fleet (as you know, many fleets are made up of a mix of both).
With drivers in high demand and trucking conditions strong, I really look forward to this year’s competition. I suspect we’ll see some real ingenuity and the strongest class of finalists since the program’s inception.
And while we’re on the topic, below you’ll find a composite sketch of a Best Fleet to Drive For, as compiled by Mark for last year’s seminar series. This will give you a benchmark against which to compare:
What does a Best Fleet to Drive For look like?
Standard base rate for new hires, adjusted based on skill by end of probation
Contributes 33-67% towards benefits package
Offers some kind of retirement savings plan
Standardized vacation with accelerated ramp-up (in Canada, start at two weeks and ramp up quickly)
Solicits feedback formally and frequently
Has a formal harassment policy
Periodic post-orientation reviews
A formal driver committee that meets at least quarterly
Formal targets for yearly safety improvements and strategies to meet them
Formal driver-focused operational policies
Electronic on-board recorders and other technologies in trucks
Two or more advanced technologies on the trucks (ie. collision mitigation systems)
Two or more efficiency technologies on the trucks (ie. trailer skirts or wide-base single tires)
Driver’s performance shared monthly or more frequently
Multiple reward types offered across various metrics
Some fleet-wide benchmarking, shared at least quarterly
A quarterly performance improvement program is offered
Development and career path:
Compensated training opportunities offered in variety of formats
Formal coaching/mentoring is offered
Forums for sharing best practices across the company
Expanded facilities (ie. fitness equipment, bunks) at some locations and standard facilities (ie. lounge, laundry) at all
Family support programs offered (ie. financial and legal counselling)
Some wellness services offered (ie. smoking cessation, healthy eating advice)
Company is involved in industry outreach
This composite Best Fleet to Drive For would have:
92% driver satisfaction
26% driver turnover
0.2783 DOT reportable collisions per million miles driven
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies