Even though trucking can be rewarding in many ways, it’s also a demanding job. Drivers know too well the pressure to keep their energy high and stay engaged, even when every day starts looking the same. And, naturally, after a while — or even in the early stages — motivation can dwindle.
Thankfully, there are ways to get that motivation back and remember why the job was appealing in the first place. Trucking companies can help drivers stay excited about what they do, and here are some ideas.
1. Encourage Drivers to Reframe Their Mindsets
This might sound a little “woo-woo,” but many trucking wins come down to how you think about the process.
Many successful drivers put in the work to encourage themselves, making sure they meet delivery goals and stay motivated. They also push through hardships that might come with the job by focusing on the positives.
According to one driver on Trucking Truth, “The point is to set goals for yourself and figure out ways to allow yourself to enjoy your time on the road, while at the same time making money and earning the respect of dispatch.”
Employers might look for ways to inspire this type of thinking in drivers. For example, good ideas are to schedule workshops, create mentorships with long-time drivers, and recommend books or podcasts about mindset.
2. Promote a Positive Work Environment
Now, point #1 doesn’t excuse trucking companies from responsibility for keeping drivers happy. Even truckers who love their jobs can become bitter if they aren’t feeling supported at work.
That’s why you should always promote a positive, supportive environment between drivers. Encourage people to connect and get to know each other. And celebrate successes, showing drivers you appreciate them.
3. Be Available for Newbie Drivers
Trucking can be a shock for new drivers, especially with shortage issues we’ve been facing. Responsibilities can feel overwhelming in the beginning. So, employers can better retain drivers by helping them adjust early on.
Mentorships and training programs can help newbies through their growing pains and prevent early burnout. And veteran drivers can contribute to the company by providing their expertise.
4. Make Health and Safety a Priority
Hauling can do a number on drivers’ physical and mental health if they’re not careful. On the other hand, when drivers are supported to feel well in both ways, they’re more likely to stay motivated.
Companies can support drivers’ health and wellness and keep them safe by dedicating resources to these areas, such as through coaching, wellness programs, access to online workouts, or virtual therapy discounts.
5. Offer Some Extra Excitement
Driving the same ol’ route every day can become tiresome for anyone. Help drivers mix things up here and there.
For example, you might give them options for new routes where they can see different areas of the country. Or share opportunities to learn new skills on the job and increase their professional development.
6. Ask Them What They Think (and Actually Listen)
Here’s something that can quickly zap a driver’s motivation: not feeling heard.
Drivers will take more pride in their careers if they feel like part of a team. Treat them as such by asking for feedback. Create employee surveys where they can give their input on anything. Listen when they provide that input. And work on creating an open-door policy where drivers can voice their concerns.
7. Acknowledge Achievements, from Big to Small
With any big undertaking, such as long hauls, it helps to break things up.
Encourage drivers to celebrate when they cross off small “to-do” list items each workday. That includes providing little rewards for each accomplishment, whether that’s ordering a favorite meal or getting more time at home after picking up loads as quickly as possible.
On the employer side, companies can make a point to recognize drivers who hit their goals and show clear hard work and consistency.
Publicly recognizing hard workers and gifting them little things like gift cards can mean a lot. These are just a few examples of ways to support your drivers and keep them motivated daily.