In the trucking industry, driver retention is a critical component to ongoing success, and the level of employee engagement can be directly tied to driver retention. So what is employee engagement, how can you measure it, and what can you do to improve it?
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is the measure of your employees’ level of engagement with not only their jobs but with the organization as a whole. Employee engagement is a measure of individuals’ behaviors and satisfaction with their job, in this case, as drivers in the trucking industry. A Gallup employee engagement survey indicates that managers are to blame for low engagement in many cases. This survey provides additional insight on the impact an individual manager’s leadership style can have on employee engagement and how common poor management can result in employees leaving the company. The Gallup survey states:
- The manager accounts for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement.
- 50% of Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.”
Employee Engagement and Organizational Culture
Employee engagement is an outcome of a healthy organizational culture. By providing drivers with the support and technology needed to do their jobs effectively, you can increase employee engagement.
At the end of the day, trucking companies value the things that bring about the results they are looking for, including improved performance and overall effectiveness. You can achieve a high level of employee engagement and driver retention by understanding the organizational culture. A combination of a healthy culture and engaged employees results in higher driver retention and organizational success. When you have a culture based on ensuring that your drivers have the specialized equipment they need, engaged management, and the latest technology, the result is engaged drivers and high driver retention.
Measuring Employee Engagement
Acknowledging that employee engagement is meaningful is the first step, but how do you measure your current employee engagement level? There are many ways to measure engagement levels and consultants that can help you, but in many cases, it starts with an employee survey. These surveys are carefully designed to measure several important components of employee engagement. To be effective, they need to be conducted not just once but on a regular basis. For this reason, organizations that are committed to ensuring high levels of employee engagement and retention conduct annual surveys. A Harvard Business Review article supports this idea that employee surveys are to this day one of the best ways to measure engagement.
Essential Elements to an Employee Engagement Survey
The following are elements commonly used in surveys to measure employee engagement in the trucking and other industries.
Determine Engagement Behaviors or Feelings
Using survey questions that identify the behaviors or feelings of an engaged employee is a way to measure organizational pride and their desire to stay. Questions focused on outcomes help reveal the current state of employee engagement. For example, the question, “I think this organization is a great place to work” does not identify specific actions, but instead uses emotions to identify targets that organizations should strive to maintain or improve on.
Identify the Things That Are Important to Your Employees
Engagement drivers are survey questions that determine employee engagement levels and allow you to take actions based on the responses. Engagement surveys commonly ask employees to rate their opinions of various things, such as:
- Trust in leadership and coworkers
- Career development
- Communication and change management
- Confidence in the future
- Individual needs like pay
- Value and recognition
A high rating helps to identify areas that are succeeding and should be reinforced, while a low rating helps to pinpoint a weak spot within an organization that could be improved upon.
Develop a strategy to measure engagement continuously
A regular survey cadence is key to valid and actionable survey results. However, organizations may survey more often or in different ways when changes to the working environment indicate it may be useful. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in significant changes to working conditions and thus how employees work. In order to stay on top of the impact on employee engagement, an additional survey may be justified. Often called pulse surveys, they can be used to gather real-time feedback on critical issues or topics.
Driver Retention Through Engagement
Driver retention is a critical aspect of success in the trucking industry. By developing an organizational culture that values, measures, and responds to employee engagement issues, you are much more likely to have an engaged workforce with high retention rates and longevity. When it comes to driver retention and employee engagement, a recent article by Lytx discusses five driver retention strategies that work, including the following:
- Connect safety with culture to boost driver retention
- Celebrate performance
- Ask for—and act on—driver feedback
- Build a true team
- Embrace technology to help you connect with your drivers
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