Do unto drivers as you would have done unto you.
A road map to better driver relations comes courtesy of a recent workplace study. The survey produces a global snapshot of worker viewpoints. Its results are as applicable to managing drivers as to any other labor force.
The International Workforce Management Study, commissioned by London-based Gemini Consulting, surveyed over 10,300 workers in 13 countries, including the U.S., Japan, and European states.
Here are some key findings pertaining to U.S. workers: 1)They want jobs they enjoy; that allow balance between work and personal life; provide good pay; offer security; and have pleasant coworkers.
2)U.S. employers "don't measure up" to workers' top expectations - with real disparities noted in terms of life/work balance, pay, security, enjoyment, and respect.
3)Americans believe their employers don't value initiative or skills development. However, they feel their jobs meet their needs for flexibility and pleasant coworkers.
4) Employees here are extremely proud to work for their companies. But 66% of the Americans would "quit tomorrow" for more opportunity, more pay, or more flexible hours.
5) American workers take themselves very seriously, but their companies' missions less so. A full 84% say their work is extremely or very important to an organization's overall success.
6) U.S. workers are just as likely as any others to view the technology involved in their jobs as old and out of date. Yet Americans were more likely to view technology as offering benefits.
Skip the stuff about the desire for pleasant coworkers (except where team operations are concerned) and the survey results bear a startling resemblance to the desires stated by countless truck drivers to legions of journalists.
Now, that may not come as a surprise. But there's an eye-opener attached. If this global study so closely mirrors the thinking of truck drivers, then they can't be all that different than your other workers. And therefore should not be much different or more difficult to manage.
That is unless a fleet's attitude toward drivers remains unadjusted, continuing to deal with them only by narrowly viewing them "as a breed apart."
For every trucker I've met who fits the classic grungy-cowboy-biker stereotype down to his gnarly T-shirt, I've also made the acquaintance of one or more drivers whose outward appearance would leave anyone guessing what they do for a living.
The point is very few of us are really all that different than the rest. In other words, the things truck drivers need and want from their employers are essentially the same as those sought by any worker the world over.
The question should be not how to get along with drivers, but how to work with those employees who are charged with the important responsibility of driving truck equipment.
Granted, that's a slight if not semantic distinction. But adopting it should filter confrontational posturing and elitist bias out of fleet programs and policies. To be sure, drivers may not know what hit them. But be assured they'll like your new attitude.