Driver_1 Photo: Sean Kilcarr/American Trucker

What Truck Drivers Want: Part One

Feedback from regular surveys of 8,500 TL drivers finds that people-related issues top their list of concerns.

A unique “instantaneous feedback” platform developed by WorkHound specifically for “distributed workforces” and used by a range of trucking companies in the TL sector to identify and respond to truck driver concerns finds that “people-related” issues are at the top of the list.

In a conference call with reporters hosted by research firm Stifel Capital Markets, WorkHound’s Max Farrell and Andrew Kirpalani, respectively CEO and co-founder and chief technology officer and co-founder, said the top four drivers themes charted for 2017 based on interaction with 8,500 drivers over the course of the year, in order, people, equipment, logistics and pay. In total, those four issued represented about 64% of mentions that we received across the company’s platform.

“Ultimately the thing that stood out to us is that trucking is still a people business and that relationships ultimately matter to drivers,” Farrell noted in his comments. “So in order to facilitate that, we have to make sure that drivers are being respected and get treated well.”

He said one of the “big things” that stood out in WorkHound’s polling was that a “family atmosphere” work environment at fleets drew high praise from drivers.  

“On the flip side, however, there is mention of rudeness – that drivers will feel this behavior was unprofessional or even unsafe,” Farrell pointed out. “Another thing that we see that drivers don’t feel like office staff understands the road. Because most [trucking company] office staff hasn’t spent time in truck, we can understand why drivers would feel that there is a lack of empathy.”

He emphasized that a lack of understanding between staff and drivers can start to “create a divide” at trucking firms.

So we’re big fans of a ride-along whether it’s staff driving with drivers or drivers sitting with dispatch for a day; any opportunity a company can use to create a shared experience goes a long way for both sides to be on the same page and ultimately on the same team,” he said.

WorkHound noted that its survey data comes largely from medium- to large-sized motor carriers employing at least 100 drivers or more across a range of sectors: tanker, reefer, dry van, flatbed, and expedited.

Most of the 8,500 drivers regularly polled by WorkHound work in long-haul operations (81%) and are company drivers as only 11% identify themselves as owner-operators.

WorkHound added that, based on its data, the average truck driver age right now is hovering around 49 years old, with some reports showing it’s even older, beyond 50 in some cases.

In part two tomorrow, WorkHound examines how the equipment spec’ing decisions fleet executives make for their operation can lead to negative reactions among their drivers.

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