With high turnover and a shortage of new talent, trucking companies are trying everything they can to inspire loyalty in drivers. That’s why Daseke is offering its drivers something that no other carrier can offer — stock in Daseke.
After going public earlier this year, Daseke implemented a plan to offer all company employees stock grants as an incentive to stay with the company. The company is offering around 1 million shares of common stock, worth nearly $10 million, to 2,900 company drivers and support team employees throughout Daseke’s group of operating companies.
Stock grants will be awarded after one full quarter of service. Professional company drivers and support team employees who were hired in the first quarter of 2017, for example, got their stock grants in July 2017.
“This is a program that is above and beyond what our operating companies already have in place with new hires, and it rewards those drivers who help us build the future,” says Don Daseke, president and CEO. “Our objective is for truck drivers to be appreciated and respected, and we think ownership is a way to do that.”
Daseke sees the lack of respect for drivers as part of the reason for the driver shortage, because young people don’t see it as a legitimate and rewarding career path. “We think that drivers as a group are underappreciated and not respected as much as they should be, because people don’t have the idea of a truck driver as a prestigious job.”
The company would not release statistics publicly, but says that its driver turnover has gone down, even as the general truckload turnover has been rising, and it believes the program has played a role in that decrease.
“I think the drivers are very positive about it. It sends a message to them, which to our knowledge, no other trucking company has ever given them – that they are really important to this company and we want them to be an owner, along with management.”
Don Daseke got the inspiration for the program when he was in a different line of business earlier in his career. Other CEOs told him that ownership makes employees feel differently about a company. Investing in people became a personal philosophy for Daseke, and the stock program grew out of it. He views it as not just a carrot on a stick to get employees to work harder, but also believes that it can positively impact their interactions on a daily basis.
“If you feel like you’re an owner of the company, you act differently. You’re more free with your ideas, you’re rooting for the company as a whole, and you take problems of the day more in stride,” he explains.