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Play small ball to improve driver retention: Haight

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- During the Canadian Recruiting and Retention Conference, hosted by Over the Road, the CEO of Transrep delivered key points to retaining a positive workforce.


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — During the Canadian Recruiting and Retention Conference, hosted by Over the Road, the CEO of Transrep delivered key points to retaining a positive workforce.

Ray Haight steered his attention away from recruiting drivers to retaining them, which according to the CEO and former chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association, goes far beyond the operators of tractor-trailers.

“There is no magic bullet (to retention), just a lot of hard work,” Haight said.

The question Haight posed to attendees is, “Are you playing small ball?”

It’s the small things, Haight said, that will pave the way for big things to happen.

“Information is power,” said Haight. “Encouraging people to grow and educating them is good leadership.”

At his own companies, Haight has issued quarterly newsletters, a bi-weekly newsflash, posted information on bulletin boards, displayed plaques honouring outstanding work and achievement and issued company awards.

“If you have two people in a company, you have a rumour mill,” said Haight. “Get people talking about the positives and it will change the culture of the company.”

This typical work environment behaviour can be used to spread good news – the arrival of a new baby, an upcoming wedding or anniversary party, an operator buying a new truck, drivers being recognized for safety, in-house promotions or new awards.

Companies, Haight advises, should draft a value statement that informs staff of the key qualities the business hopes to espouse.

When asking employees what the ideal company for whom they’d like to work for looks like, Haight found the common answers included trust, honesty and respect.

“If you have a high turnover, you have to start looking at things differently. You’ll need a paradigm shift,” Haight said.

Retaining drivers also means reaching out to the people that they come in contact with on the road and ensuring that the interaction is pleasant and respectful, according to Haight.

“Reward customers that are doing it right,” Haight said. Find out from drivers if their destination offers a clean facility, access to restrooms, cafeterias and safe rest spots.

In the operations end, Haight said, “Be aware of the fact that I don’t take in information the same way someone else might.”

The individual needs to be recognized, Haight said, and their training should be tailored accordingly.

“Coach first and discipline when required,” said Haight. “Recognize the efforts of those who go the extra mile.”

Administrative support is also integral to retaining a strong and content workforce, according to Haight.

“Make sure your drivers understand things like their paycheque and paperwork,” Haight said.

Ensure policies for paperwork processes are fully comprehended; explain paycheque deductions and benefits.

Maintenance is another area of a company that requires attention.

“An area of a company that is often a point of aggravation for drivers is maintenance,” said Haight.

Maintenance appointments should be upheld; upon receiving a new assignment, the driver should be presented with a clean truck that is safe and comfortable; and the waiting facilities should offer clean and comfortable services for all drivers are some points that Haight stresses should be looked at to keep the driving force content.

“Play small ball,” said Haight. “It’s the little things that go a long way.”


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