October 31st is the deadline for nominations in the Truckload Carriers Assn.’s 2012 Best Fleets to Drive For contest and survey. Now in its fourth year, Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual evaluation of the best employers in the trucking industry. CarriersEdge, provider of online driver quality improvement solutions, conducts the survey for TCA.
The survey is open to all for-hire trucking companies with ten or more trucks, regardless of TCA membership status.
Participating fleets will be evaluated against a broad range of criteria reflecting current human-resources best practices. The resulting survey data becomes an excellent source of industry success stories in the areas of benefits, professional development, driver and community support, safety record, and company culture, TCA stated.
For 2012, some new questions have been prepared for participants. For example, in addition to driver retention scores, nominated fleets will be asked what percentage of their drivers have remained with the company for various periods of time (one year, five years, ten years, etc.).
Harassment is another new topic. Although most companies have policies in place that cover the office environment, the survey will now ask how companies ensure that their employees are not subjected to (or become perpetrators of) harassment at customer sites, truck stops, on the CB, etc.
In addition, the survey will ask for the numeric targets that fleets seek for continuous improvement of things like their collision rates and retention scores.
"When it comes to the new questions we'll have on this year's survey, the answers will help us not only to score fleets against general management best practices, but to provide a better picture of what's really going on in the industry," said Mark Murrell, president of CarriersEdge. "That's what everybody wants to know."
Participating in the survey can be both enlightening and motivating, according to survey participants. Describing his company's experience as a first-time nominee last year, Keith Tuttle, president of Motor Carrier Service, Inc., of Northwood, OH, said: "We learned what we were doing right and some things we needed to improve on in our everyday practices. We had no idea how much the survey probed into the very core of how we, and others, operate their business. Clearly, this program identifies the best fleets — it is not just luck."
Outside of the industry, Best Fleets serves as an excellent public relations tool and a unique way to combat the driver shortage, according to Gary Salisbury, TCA chairman and the president & CEO of Fikes Truck Line. "Is there a better way to attract prospective drivers or enlighten people about our industry?" he noted. "This survey spells it all out: the best trucking companies offer solid pay, strong benefits, and great support for their people. It really accentuates the positives."
Company drivers and owner-operators may nominate trucking companies by completing an application form on www.BestFleetsToDriveFor.com.
Once a company driver or owner-operator has nominated a fleet and the company has agreed to participate, interviews will be conducted with senior management and a random sampling of the company's drivers.
Top finishers will be identified as Best Fleets to Drive For, and the highest scoring fleets in each of the Company Driver and Owner-Operator categories will be named that category's overall winner.