How many of your fleet’s professional drivers will be working on or directly adjacent to a holiday important to them in the next few weeks? Many, if not most, professional drivers work through the holiday season and either can’t make it home on the holiday they celebrate or give up part of their paycheck to do so. To help remedy any discontentment arising from these situations and to help add some cheer to your drivers’ time on the road this holiday season, NTI has put together this punch-list of five ways every fleet can elevate drivers’ experience this season and make them feel supported in their work and at home:
Offer competitive and rewarding holiday pay
Because drivers’ paychecks are almost always tied directly to productivity — whether your pay structure is per-mile, hourly, component-based, or a hybrid — drivers often must balance sacrificing available home-time around the holidays with less take-home pay.
According to NTI’s National Survey of Driver Wages, daily holiday pay in the current quarter averages just shy of $120 per day. While that can help offset major dents to drivers’ paychecks, that daily average is still about half of what a driver’s daily earnings would be had they worked. This situation often leaves drivers sacrificing pay to be home with family and friends for the holidays.
To help remedy this situation and to establish your fleet as a first-choice opportunity for drivers, consider supporting drivers’ during the holiday with a flat-rate daily pay that doesn’t cause them to give up chunks of their paycheck to spend their holiday at home.
Provide a good meal on the road
While many of your drivers might make it home for the holiday they celebrate, many drivers are still on the road and spend their holiday away from home. For drivers working on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, or another holiday special to them, pay for them to eat a quality, good meal at a nicer restaurant on the road. Promote this offering to them in your internal marketing channels and with a phone call or text message from their managers, and let them know you’ll reimburse them for a meal of their choosing. Also, remember — $20 doesn’t go very far in today’s world. Be serious about this and opt to pay for a $40-50 holiday meal.
Put them up in a hotel
Your fleet may often insist that drivers spend their nights on the road in their truck. While that’s perfectly fine and part of the job throughout the year, opt to elevate your drivers’ holiday experience by allowing them to stay in a hotel one or two nights if they’re on the road during an important holiday. This is an expression to drivers that you understand they’re away from home when they might otherwise choose not to be, and that your company is grateful for this sacrifice. These hotel stays can also make sure drivers feel better rested, ensure they have access to hot showers, and make them feel supported and cared.
Send gifts home to the family
Go beyond basic holiday cards or a company hat and instead opt to send gifts home to drivers’ families. For those with kids, consider toys or coloring books that would endear your company within drivers’ homes and instill pride about the work their parent does. (This also plants seeds about trucking careers with younger generations! One book option is this children’s book, How Chris and His Trucks Saved Christmas.) Or, in lieu of merchandise, think about sending a Turkey home for Thanksgiving or a ham for Christmas, or provide your drivers’ an extra stipend on their paycheck to help them cover the costs of groceries for holiday meals. These approaches will show your drivers you care about their lives outside of work and are a great pillar toward building a long relationship with them.
Bump up the start dates for benefits packages
How soon are benefits like retirement and health insurance available to drivers after they start at your company? The threshold is often 90 days. However, that’s also the timeframe with the most driver churn, and many drivers who join your fleet will never have access to those benefits. Consider shortening the start date for benefits to 60 or 30 days, or even on Day 1. This can create greater buy-in from new hires, incentivize them to join your fleet sooner, and be a boon for retaining new hires for longer tenures.