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A recent Gallup study found 52% of U.S. and Canadian employees are “quiet quitting” (not engaged at work), and another 17% are “loudly quitting” (actively disengaged).
To put that in perspective, suppose your courier business has ten drivers. Only three of the ten are “all in” — ready to go the extra mile to serve customers. One or two are ready to quit and may be actively undermining your brand. The other five aren’t excited to be there. Do they care about your customers or timeliness or safety? Are they likely to stay with you?
Today, it’s challenging to find good last-mile delivery drivers. So, boosting driver engagement can help your business compete. Consider these five ideas:
Several months ago, the World Economic Forum noted that “meaning is a stronger predictor of happiness than pleasure across all cultures.” In the last-mile delivery realm, that means fostering a sense of purpose and mission. Are you hiring someone to make 20 stops a day, or are you looking for someone who will make customers’ lives better? Consider these statements:
Having a meaningful mission helps foster driver satisfaction (and employee engagement across your workforce).
In a results-driven business, managers may fall into the habit of focusing on transactional data instead of driver wellbeing. For example:
Driver satisfaction declines when workers receive a steady diet of performance corrections. Without significant positive experiences to offset discussions of shortcomings and metrics, drivers may assume you care about profits over people.
In the same Gallup research cited above, 52% of U.S. and Canadian participants reported feeling stress “a lot of the day” in the prior 24 hours. In 2022, the Future of Safety Research Study from General Motors noted “drivers are almost ten times more likely to get into a crash if they drive in a highly elevated emotional state.”
This has huge insurance implications for courier businesses. So, stress management needs to be part of your driver safety plan. Diffusing stress can also boost employee engagement.
Get to know your drivers personally. What are their individual challenges? Are there ways you can make their day-to-day lives easier? Who needs a mentor or a sounding board? If a driver is struggling to make rent and put dinner on the table, a $100 gift card to a grocery store could make a meaningful difference. Small private gestures like this can help boost engagement and retention.
Drivers may have family commitments, school obligations, or even a second job. Unpredictable schedules make personal planning difficult and can add to stress. It may not be possible to schedule drivers for the exact same hours each week. However, the more consistency you can provide, the better they will be able to balance their activities outside of work.
A recent Harvard Business Review article said, “Income volatility and financial insecurity from unstable schedules also hurt workers’ cognitive functioning.” In addition to affecting driver engagement, your scheduling impacts safety.
Whether through scheduled team meetings, periodic company events, written communication, or some combination of these, highlight success stories. Maybe a driver went above and beyond to meet a customer’s needs. Or perhaps, a customer submitted a testimonial. Or your team went a full quarter without a single accident.
An MD-reviewed article at VeryWellMind.com notes, “Stories can uplift us and change our moods… positive emotion and optimism allow us to cope better with adversity and meet the obstacles we face… The act of telling stories connects us to others and makes meaning.”
That sense of connection and shared meaning helps drivers feel their work matters.
The Gallup study mentioned earlier found 47% of employees are “watching for or actively seeking a new job.” Anecdotal stories suggest this number may be even higher among last-mile delivery drivers.
Many factors influence driver satisfaction — from compensation and benefits to working conditions. Some jobs are inherently more stressful than others and can lead to burnout, which dents engagement. But with intentional and creative effort, you can make a huge difference in how your delivery drivers feel about work.
For more information, connect with the Risk Strategies Transportation Team: transportation@risk‐strategies.com.
About the author
Bryan Paulozzi specializes in insurance and risk management for courier, last-mile, home delivery, expediting, freight forwarding, and brokering businesses. He and his team help transportation companies identify and mitigate risks, with the goals of reducing insurance costs and boosting employee engagement.