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Trucks at Work

What makes the best the best?

In trucking, being “the best of the best” is often an amalgamation of many different metrics, from on-time delivery performance and CSA scores to cost-per-mile and fuel efficiency targets.

From a broader business perspective, though, “best of the best” often revolves largely on people-related factors: from the obvious, such as pay and benefits, to more subtle initiatives, such as wellness incentives and community charity efforts.

Now many in trucking might pooh-pooh a lot of the “touchy-feely” stuff that many companies deploy as part of their overall employee recruiting and retention efforts, but with many workers contemplating jumping ship as soon as the economy rebounds (and as job openings reappear in significant numbers) it behooves every business executive to reappraise things.

Consider these factoids gleaned from a survey conducted by consulting Right Management earlier this year:

  • A staggering 86% of employees polled by the firm said they plan to actively look for a new position in 2013
  • Another 8% said they may do so and are already networking
  • Only 5% intend to stay in their current position

None of this should come as a shock to trucking, of course, as the industry continues to deal with a driver shortage that’s only projected to get worse as the year progresses. Yet it’s an indication that a lot of folks plan to jump ship if and when the U.S.’s economic fortunes shift into high gear. 

So, for that reason (among others) take a look the recent analysis released by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR) concerning what it calls the “key components” displayed by the winners of the group’s annual Best and Brightest Companies to Work For program.

Data from NABR indicates that those companies that win its “Best and Brightest” designation tend to share a focus on six key areas – communication, work-life balance, compensation and benefits, team building, community and diversity.

Specifically, NABR surveys reveal the following statistics about companies that take top honors in its annual “Best and Brightest” contest:

  • 55% offer mentoring and coaching programs to employees
  • 91% use a company intranet or website to communicate with employees
  • 80% use some type of survey to annually gauge employee engagement
  • 75% offer employees the opportunity to telecommute
  • 90% offer flexible scheduling, including flex-time and job sharing
  • 48% offer phased-in return-to-work programs from a leave of absence
  • 68% increased base compensation
  • 73% offer wellness incentives
  • 78% offer employees discounts with negotiated vendors
  • 60% offer a referral bonus to employees who recruit new team members
  • 98% encourage employees to participate in skills training
  • 87% conduct on-site activities such as blood banks and food drives
  • 80% sponsor local charitable activities
  • 50% host or sponsor activities that celebrate multi-culturalism and diversity
  • 67% offer written diversity statements

"These results reveal what we as an organization have known for a long time,” noted Jennifer Kluge, NABR’s president. “Healthy work environments and motivated, engaged teams have been shown to translate directly to improved business performance and the financial health of the organization.”

Can trucking successfully tap into some of this, to help bolster its ranks as the economic tide begins to turn? Maybe it can – and maybe it should, as more than a few folks are predicting a surge in demand for trucking services in the near term, which means carriers larger and small alike may need every hand on deck that’s available to them. That would be a nice problem to have, for a change.

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