Truck Driver Communication and Create a Team-Oriented Environment
If you are a dispatcher or manager at a trucking company, you know how important it is to maintain ongoing communication with your drivers. It is also important for your drivers to have open pathways of communication with each other. How do your team truck drivers feel about the communication at your trucking company? If you want to make sure your communication strategies are effective and you want to promote a team-oriented environment, keep reading to learn more.
How do truck drivers communicate with each other?
Truck driving jobs involve a lot of time on the road in solitude. Some truck drivers enjoy the quiet and peaceful time alone, and some drivers enjoy talking with fellow truck drivers to pass the time. In the 1970s, Citizens Band (CB) radio became the most popular way for truck drivers to communicate with one another while driving in close proximity. CB radios have short ranges, so they are typically used for communication in local areas. In addition to still using CB radio, many truck drivers use smartphones and mobile trucking applications to communicate with one another. Although smartphones can be used almost anywhere, they are a necessity for communicating when truck drivers are further away from each other.
5 Ways To Improve Truck Driver Communication
Great communication can improve morale, eliminate costly miscommunications, and increase operational efficiencies. Let’s take a look at five things you can do to prevent miscommunications from hindering your success.
Truck driving is not an easy job, and sometimes truck drivers deal with a wide variety of problems on the road. It is important to listen to your drivers to understand the issues they face and the solutions they need.
Get to Know Your Drivers
Today, it is entirely possible to post a trucking job, hire drivers, and never meet in person. This contactless approach is efficient but can also make it more difficult to build positive relationships between dispatchers and operators. When companies focus on developing strong working relationships, they tend to enjoy more long-term success. Getting to know your drivers fosters a sense of connection and understanding that significantly minimizes communication challenges.
Reach out through Video Chat
Video chat is a great way to connect with truck drivers once they’re pulled over for the night. Video chat helps put a face to a name and voice on the phone, and video chat is a decent way to make a human connection. Keep in mind that it is common courtesy to ask permission before placing a video call. For drivers who welcome video calls, face-to-face chats can improve their mental health.
Check-in Regularly, but Not Too Frequently
No one likes to be micromanaged, but everyone benefits from open communication pathways. It is helpful to check in with your drivers regularly, but make sure that you are not pestering your drivers. A good rule of thumb is to keep track of when you speak with each driver and make sure you are not checking in more frequently than you would like to hear from your own supervisor.
Ask Drivers about their Preferences
Not all drivers are the same. Some may prefer to only communicate to get information or solve a problem. Other drivers may enjoy frequent conversations. The smartest thing to do is to simply ask each driver what they prefer, and do your best to honor their preferences.
3 Ways To Create a Team-Oriented Environment for Truck Drivers
Find Common Ground
Not every team member has to think and act the same way, but it is helpful when team members can find common ground. Mutual understanding is a necessary component of truck driver communication.
Discuss Individual Roles
A team truck driver is an individual and a part of a group of drivers. In any group setting, it is helpful to discuss and clarify individual roles. When drivers partner to trade off driving, it is important to establish schedules that abide by federal and state regulations. When drivers operate separate vehicles and navigate the route together, it is common for the truck at the front of the pack to have responsibilities that are different from the drivers in the middle and the driver at the end. In any team-oriented environment, it is helpful for individuals to have clear roles so they can feel understood and respected.
Encourage Socialization Outside of Work
Socializing outside of work can significantly improve communications between team members when they are on the job. Plus, truck drivers can benefit from any opportunities to socialize to balance out the long hours in isolation on the road. Finding ways to encourage the drivers in your fleet to socialize off the job will go a long way in developing a team-oriented culture.
For more truck driving industry insights, contact First Star today!