Burnout is more than just needing a break. It’s a medical diagnosis caused by systemic work problems, leading to accidents, health problems, and increased employee turnover. With companies facing shortages of drivers, addressing driver burnout is critical to retaining employees. Max Farrell, the CEO of employee retention consultancy WorkHound, made these suggestions to trucking companies in a recent webinar.
Exhaustion is the first stage of driver burnout. It can be caused by job-related issues, like loneliness and outside factors, including the loss of a loved one. Exhaustion goes beyond physical tiredness, becoming a chronic issue.
When they’re on the road, drivers need resources for mental and physical health. To address this, the driver needs a work schedule that lets them come home regularly to rest and stay connected to their family and friends. Drivers also need space to address these issues instead of feeling like they will be reprimanded if they ask for help.
Constant exhaustion from driver burnout leads to cynicism. Conflicts that are the root cause of fatigue can leave a driver feeling unwanted and unsafe. 45% of the critical comments on the WorkHound platform were about communication.
To avoid cynicism, you need to create an environment where every driver feels valued. Keep their pay in line with the market, and go out of your way to recognize their accomplishments. Schedule extra time to help drivers deal with stressful accounts and new customers. This doesn’t just make the job more accessible, and it shows that you’re addressing their needs.
Once cynicism sets in, drivers can feel like there’s no way out. Either they put up with a toxic work environment and gradually feel worse, or they find another job. Lack of support learning new equipment and regulations exacerbates this problem, making employees feel like they can’t do a good job.
To combat inefficacy, you need to clarify expectations and provide the resources drivers need to reach them. This includes building support networks between drivers and offering training and wellness programs that help drivers deal with stress and improve performance. Check in regularly on the well-being of your employees, and keep communications positive.