By investing in employee-recognition or appreciation events for drivers and other in-house staff, fleets create the opportunity to improve overall morale, reinforce organizational values, and ultimately improve employee retention, explained Prime Inc.’s Clayton Brown during a workshop at the Truckload Carriers Association’s annual Truckload convention in Las Vegas.
Brown is responsible for marketing, advertising, events and public relations at Prime. By managing a long list of employee events (including those for commercial truck drivers and maintenance technicians) at one of North America’s largest refrigerated, flatbed and tanker trucking companies, Brown has been able to develop best practices for creating events that he believes has improved overall fleet culture.
Here are three simple best practices to keep in mind when hosting a driver appreciation event at your fleet.
1. Brand every event.
All events, including employee picnics, award ceremonies, anniversary celebrations, etc., should be “branded” to make them recognizable, maximize attendance and show its importance to the organization.
At Prime, the company designs a unique logo for each of their many events. He advises fleets to do the same. Prime has events recognizing everything from safe driver milestones to most efficient technicians, to events celebrating women in trucking.
2. Include a plus one.
Brown says that every event invitation should be extended to the family/spouse/partner of the driver/employee. Not only will the family get the chance to understand and recognize their loved one’s contributions to the trucking industry, but by involving the family, the company’s presence is solidified in their lives, creating another barrier to attrition. When the family is invested, so is the driver.
3. Invest in the experience.
When hosting a branded event, fleets should take the opportunity to tie in the presentation of some kind of award or recognition to an employee or group of employees. This gets employees involved and keeps people engaged.
Brown says the most successful events have a focus on food, include an open bar, have music playing during “lulls,” and have an overall theme/brand.
Prime Inc. was inducted into the Best Fleets to Drive For Hall of Fame this year. The Hall of Fame recognizes fleets who made the Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For list for 10 consecutive years, or seven years plus an overall award.