All That's Trucking

5 Tips for Effective Manager-Driver Communication

September 18, 2013

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It's Driver Appreciation Week. But to really appreciate drivers, it takes a lot more than T-shirts, hats and picnics one week out of the year. One of the most important keys to appreciating -- and keeping -- good drivers is through good communication.

FleetRisk Advisors recently put together a list of tips for effective communication between fleet managers and their drivers.

In journalism, we have what we call the "Five W's (and H)" of writing a story: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. FleetRisk Advisors' list follows a very similar outline:

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1. Who

The relationship between fleet managers and drivers is crucial to the safety, productivity and satisfaction of the driver, and profitability of the entire fleet.  Fleet managers that opt to implement a more people-centric approach to driver management will foster a culture of achievement and driver retention.

2. What

Regular and proactive communication is essential to fostering a positive relationship between fleet managers and drivers. Managers should be prepared to have open and honest discussions with their drivers, learn more about their daily lives and examine their satisfaction. In some cases, regular, proactive communication can prevent a talented driver from walking away from his or her job. 

3. Why

Because communication between fleet managers and drivers should not be purely transactional. Fleet managers who take the time to personally communicate with drivers in a targeted and efficient manner will help improve driver safety, productivity and overall job satisfaction.

4. When

As the saying goes, timing is everything! Talking to the right driver, about the right topic, at the right time increases the likelihood of a fleet manager being able to pinpoint an at-risk driver, and intervene with a proactive conversation that could prevent a potentially negative event.

5. How

The way fleet managers approach drivers greatly affects the result of their conversations. Using a positive and constructive tone when speaking with drivers naturally leads to better results and cements the fact that drivers are valuable assets.

There's one "W" missing here: Where. And the answer to that should be, at your fleet.

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Author Bio

Deborah Lockridge

Editor in Chief

All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.

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