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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 operator 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 company, Haight issues quarterly newsletters, a bi-weekly newsflash, posts information on bulletin boards, displays plaques honoring outstanding work and achievement and company awards.

“If you have two people in a company, you have a rumour mill,” said Haight. “Get people talking about the positive 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, or 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 in 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 pay cheque 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; the waiting facilities should offer clean and comfortable service 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.” For a full report on the Recruiting and Retention conference, check out the November issue of Truck News.


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4 Comments » for Play small ball to improve driver retention: Haight
  1. Trigger says:

    For all the attention Trans Force gets among its peers regarding its successes in the Trucking Industry, I just wish someone would review the integrity and value systems outlined in your article point by point to them. They have a lot to learn in terms of communicating and expressing they’re appreciation at the Driver – O/Op level as well as their hands on workers. Far easier to post corporate achievements than to recognize how it’s achieved outside the Boardroom.
    Perhaps the next Top 100 Best Trucking Companies should be based on the employees oppinions and the value they place on they’re employers for the steps you have amply described in your article. Loyalty and respect is only obtained on a mutual two way level. Knowing what a company has plans for, and what role you play in that as an employee can only enhance and promote a solid working environment, rather than egg shells and uncertainty!

  2. Trigger says:

    For all the attention Trans Force gets among its peers regarding its successes in the Trucking Industry, I just wish someone would review the integrity and value systems outlined in your article point by point to them. They have a lot to learn in terms of communicating and expressing they’re appreciation at the Driver – O/Op level as well as their hands on workers. Far easier to post corporate achievements than to recognize how it’s achieved outside the Boardroom.
    Perhaps the next Top 100 Best Trucking Companies should be based on the employees oppinions and the value they place on they’re employers for the steps you have amply described in your article. Loyalty and respect is only obtained on a mutual two way level. Knowing what a company has plans for, and what role you play in that as an employee can only enhance and promote a solid working environment, rather than egg shells and uncertainty!

  3. Michael Gower says:

    What a novel approach>working on retaining existing employees! Bet the OTA/CTA members never thought of this did they.

  4. Mark Perkin says:

    All good points Ray but the bottom line is unless carriers seriously up the pay rates.

    The rest is meaningless.

    What these people still refuse to get is:

    It’s about the money and drivers are tired of listening to the same broken record these companies have been playing/spewing for years but doing nothing about.

    Talk’s cheap.

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