top of page

Structure communication like tyres; get a grip, keep control, stay on the path

Updated: Mar 27

When you run a transport business with employees and contractors, it can be tricky to keep them informed as and when you need to. It's not like a typical office or a virtual meeting where everyone's in one place; drivers are out and about, contractors are working on something else, engineers are greased up down a pit somewhere etc.

With most workers available online most of the time, issuing company updates in one hit might seem like a sensible choice to overcome the 'out and about' hurdle, but the effect of sharing generic info too often workers can have a devastating impact on their will to read and worse, their confidence.

Think about a typical induction process. It's often crammed into just one sitting; a buffet-style all you can eat company presentation which requires a new starter to read and understand many systems, working practices and procedures. Caught in the headlights of starting a new job, meeting new people and figuring out what to do, and it's easy to see how new starters can miss details. In their minds they fear they've missed something; what was that thing about reporting to Steve? but often they choose to look like they understand it, rather than (in their opinion) risk looking incompetent and asking for clarity.

So, your new driver is out of the blocks and driving your expensive asset, while not really recalling that policy-thing that mentioned something about being distracted or something but I can use a PDA while driving? Was that it?!

Once they get their head around that it's on to regular updates. Now, if your drivers work from home or work away a lot, it can be difficult to reach them. With high demand and an increasingly competitive market time is a rare and precious thing, which is why apps and other remote comms solutions seem like such a great option. Today's tech makes it easier than ever to connect, with apps designed to deliver remote training, periodic updates, news about the route, changes to the schedule etc.

But the reality is that some drivers just find it easier or more convenient to scan-read a policy and just scroll to the tick at the bottom. So you end up thinking the updates work well and that you've done a great job, while your driver becomes more disillusioned with the weekly messages delivered courtesy of Audrey the automated update app.

Of course, periodic training is an opportunity for drivers to learn something new or seek clarity over something that's been on their mind, but the course is often a general subject or focuses on a certain way of working that leads them down a different mental path, and that niggling doubt may end up being locked away for another time.

Debriefs at the end of a shift can be a good opportunity to talk about things, particularly as it's often a one-to-one experience, but the reality is that the driver just wants to wrap things up and go home and the manager's mainly concerned about failed deliveries, unhappy customers, damage to the vehicle or the next day's schedule.

These days a professional driver is expected to know more, more of the time, which is why it's essential to do things differently and to understand the reasons why.

If your driver doesn't understand something and wants to avoid looking foolish then they might carry on breaking driving time limits or missing information on paperwork or failing to deliver. If your driver constantly receives wordy updates without having the option to talk to someone then they're more inclined to just 'tick at the bottom'.

Lazy or unstructured communication planning can lead to big problems. Risk of poor working standards, risk of damage or incidents, higher turnover because they were 'just left to get on with it', higher training costs that could have been avoided and low morale leading to reduced productivity.

My point is this. Keep doing inductions. Keep investing in driver development. Use technology. But use it sparingly and structure your communication. Make sure an induction is done with care; don't give them a written test that heaps the pressure on; look for confirmation, reaffirm the detail, check they understand. Move on to the next bit.

Video call the driver, call the driver (while they're stationary of course!). Set aside time each or every other week to cover issues they're not clear about. Make sure they receive training on how to use technology. Can they contact someone about technical or content issues?

Plan your updates so it doesn't happen all at once, and always make time for a face to face conversation. And make sure Audrey the app isn't the only source of information.

If you'd like support to plan your driver communication then we're right here when you need us. Email to get the ball, or rather the tyre, rolling.



bottom of page