Whether in the field of transportation or any other industry, employee engagement is critical to success. No one has a better sense of opportunities to cut costs, boost revenues, or improve customer satisfaction than your drivers and support staff, who spend each day immersed in the finer points of your business. Yet employees are often hesitant to propose improvements, both out of fear that they lack the proper knowledge and because they don’t see how it benefits them.
To get employees to share their insights, you must give them clear incentives to work for the common good of the company. Not only does this help you cut costs and increase sales, but it makes individual workers feel more connected to the company as a whole. This boosts driver retention, saving you the time and effort it takes to replace employees. Providing incentives for improvement thus benefits your company on multiple fronts, laying the foundation for lasting success.
Motivating your employees doesn’t just mean giving them benefits for sharing their ideas with you. It also means showing them that you value their input, thereby making them more confident about giving suggestions. To do this, you can offer:
- Respect & Recognition- The simplest way to encourage drivers and other employees to share their ideas is to recognize those who do so. Whenever someone gives you an idea that directly benefits your company, call attention to their contribution. Praise them in front of their peers for the good they’ve done, making it clear specifically how they helped the company. This sends a message to the employee in question that their proposal made a difference, giving them an incentive to come up with additional ones. It also gives other employees an idea of what a successful proposal looks like.
- Raises & Bonuses- Employees’ ideas have a direct monetary value for your company, so it makes sense for you to share some of these new profits with them. Whenever it’s possible to calculate the amount of money they’ve saved or earned for you, give them a sizable percentage of it. If it’s a one-time benefit, offer it as a bonus; if their suggestion will generate savings or revenues continuously over time, give them a lasting pay raise. If an employee’s suggestion clearly benefited your company but it's hard to figure out the monetary value, offer them a bonus equal to a high percentage of their current pay.
- Flexibility & Control- In addition to increased pay, employees value having more control over their schedules and activities. Thus if someone comes up with a successful proposal, one of the best ways to reward them is to offer them more flexibility at work. This reward is especially fitting if the proposal in question saved your company time or reduced everyone’s workload.
While the greatest benefits should go to workers whose proposals were successful, you should recognize every individual who tried to improve your company. Even if an employee’s idea didn’t end up working out, they still tried to help, and it’s important to show them you appreciate this. The more recognition that employees get for their ideas, the more motivated they will be to improve your company every way they can.
The Benefits of Employee Incentives
In the short run, offering employees incentives for improving your company leads them to look for sources of inefficiency and waste. This is of considerable value in the trucking industry, where drivers are well situated to find routes that are shorter, safer, and less subject to delays. Drivers and support staff will begin paying attention to the routes they take, learning to identify roads that are damaged, vulnerable to harsh weather, or subject to frequent traffic congestion. Over time, they will find routes that face fewer of these issues, allowing you to deliver your items more quickly and consistently while lowering the risk of inventory damage. The more employees are involved in this, the greater the benefit for your firm.
Besides paying attention to the delivery route, drivers and support staff will also have an incentive to engage more effectively with customers. At every opportunity, they will try to get a sense of what clients’ experiences are like, paying attention to any signs that a customer is unhappy. They will then think of ways to improve these experiences. In this way, you will gain new insight into improving customer satisfaction, allowing you to enhance the customer experience and build loyalty for your brand.
In addition to the value of employees’ ideas themselves, getting your staff to propose improvements will help them feel more closely connected to your company’s performance. At present, drivers often have little sense of how well their companies are doing. As long as they are able to collect their paychecks each week, it doesn’t make much difference to them what your bottom line is. As a result, they don’t have much loyalty to your company, and are more likely to leave if a competitor gives them a better offer.
By convincing employees to offer proposals for improvement, you tie their financial well-being to that of the company as a whole. They will thus feel more connected to the firm, meaning they will be less likely to take jobs with a different company. Even if a competitor offers them a higher salary, they will be less inclined to take it, figuring that they will ultimately make more money if they stay with your company, help improve profits, and reap the benefits of those profits. In this way, you will be able to achieve higher retention rates for your drivers and other employees, saving you from the high cost of business disruptions and driver recruitment down the road.
Microdea provides software that improves efficiency in transportation and logistics companies, helping you boost your business on multiple fronts. For more information on raising driver retention, automating manual processes, or otherwise improving your company please visit our resources section.
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Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Markham, Ontario, Microdea is a fast growing document management and automation software company serving hundreds of customers in the transportation and logistics industry, including truckload and LTL carriers, private fleets, brokers and 3PLs.