Surveying the Best Fleets to Drive For® program - part 1

Published on May 31, 2022

By Rafi Syed - CarriersEdge

Driver input is the heart of the Best Fleets to Drive For® program. The surveys, which are collected from mid-December to New Year's Eve, shine a light into what drivers are satisfied with, and where there are areas for improvement. Each year, the program nets more driver surveys than the year prior. A record 8,502 surveys were received in 2022 - uncovering common threads from drivers across the industry regarding what works well for them and what can be improved upon.

Measuring driver satisfaction

The driver survey report illustrates satisfaction from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Historically, strongly agree measures the highest across the series of questions. Jane Jazrawy, Co-Founder of the Best Fleets to Drive For® program, says that's because drivers find participating fleets quite favorable. Along with somewhat agree, it normally makes up 80% of survey responses. The neutral bars are often small, with somewhat disagree and strongly disagree even smaller. While the responses are positive overall, there are still areas that are relatively weaker, an indicator of improvement opportunities that shouldn't be overlooked.

What are drivers satisfied with?

The Top 5 statements from the 2022 edition of the driver survey show a positive outlook with ranges between 79.8% to 83.8%.

83.8% drivers appreciate companies guaranteeing safety on the road, during stops, and at the terminal above all else. 83.5% enjoy working for their companies, with 82.9% satisfied with the accuracy of settlements they receive.

"The responses convey the message that fleets are trying to look after the safety of their drivers and that they are getting the right pay," Jazrawy says. "As a fleet, you want drivers to enjoy working for the company, and recommend it to others."

82.5% have felt supported by their companies during the pandemic, while 79.8% have felt safe participating in team driving, road tests, and in-cab training sessions during orientation.

"Part of making a real effort to keep drivers safe is taking care of them during the pandemic," Jazrawy continues. "Besides responses to environmental challenges, guaranteeing driver safety throughout orientation establishes trust at the start of their career with the fleet."

Combined, the top 5 statements indicate that fleets are listening to their drivers and following through on feedback.

What are the biggest driver concerns?

The five most common driver issues suggest some areas for fleets to address such as driver input when implementing new technology (48.7%), improving the effectiveness of company coaching and mentoring programs (52.9%), fairly compensating for additional work (56.4%), laying out a clear career path (56.5%), and providing a fair method of determining routes (57.1%).

Input for technology implementation

Technology for fleet safety improvement has become commonplace enough that the question is no longer scored in the program. While 74.7% of drivers strongly agree that their companies implement technology to help improve productivity and efficiency, only 48.7% of drivers agree they have an opportunity to provide their input when the company implements new technology. This question also has the highest rate of disagreement in the survey at 4.7%.

Jazrawy says the aggregate score reflects common feelings across all participants rather than an issue with an individual fleet. Grievances include last minute notice for installing driver facing cameras and audio recording equipment, and lack of a clear process for implementation. Carriers don't require permission from drivers to install new technology, and drivers often don't have a choice in selecting technology. However, it is important to let them know why it's being implemented, including the reason they weren't given a choice in the decision.

"Unexpected installations can have negative reactions," says Jazrawy. "Drivers like to be asked for their input on technology and its workings. They are the ones, in the end, who will be utilizing it." Pilot programs for a small group of drivers can help spread the word about the technology better, phasing it in over time with feedback collected at each stage.

Questions to Ask: Company coaching and mentoring programs

Company coaching and mentoring programs also received lower overall scores this year. With only 52.9% of respondents agreeing that their company's programs are effective (the second lowest of all questions), this area definitely offers room for improvement.

Some of the issues raised by drivers include misplaced time and focus on coaching for smaller tasks, senior drivers receiving mentorship from the corporate side of business, and lack of proper mentoring opportunities for entry level drivers.

Questions to Ask:

Next month, in part II of this series, we'll look at driver opinions of routing, compensation, and career path opportunities.