The Brand Element: Creating a Brand that Reflects Your Culture
Part II: Employee Communication and Social Media
At Trucking Proud, one service we offer is shooting and producing recruiting commercials for our clients. During these shoots, we are typically given a carefully curated list of employees to interview – the ones leadership knows will be the greatest brand ambassadors. But at a recent shoot, one of the truck drivers we interviewed had nothing good to say about the company. When we asked how company leaders communicate with him, his response was simple: “They don’t.” He takes direction from his dispatcher every day and interacts with colleagues, including warehouse workers and fellow drivers, but unless there is a problem or client issue, he said he never hears from company leadership. His frustration was evident, as was his sentiment: he doesn’t feel like a valued part of the organization.
The first step in evaluating your employee communication strategy is to understand the “why” behind it. Communication from leadership makes employees feel purposeful, respected, and critical to operations. For the driver we spoke to, communication from the top would reinforce what he’s doing, keep him up to date on news across the company, and help connect him to both other employees and the company’s purpose. If your people don’t see the direct connection between their contributions and what the company is trying to accomplish, they aren’t going to stay very long.
That’s why employee communication is a critical factor in lowering turnover rates and saving related hard costs including unemployment insurance, post-termination worker’s compensation claims, and overtime and additional pay to get the work done.
While there are some that do this well, in general, trucking companies are missing the boat on employee communication, and it’s a huge – and costly—miss. Drivers are your #1 most important asset. If they can’t explain the company goals or your values, what is keeping them with you? How are you building a relationship and developing loyalty? On a daily basis, drivers are getting some level of direction from their dispatch and other sources. But how are you making them aware of promotions in the company? If someone has a birthday or an important company event is coming up, how is that being communicated? What about awards recognition like Driver of the Month or CTA Driver of the Year? Even something as simple as a CARB update requires communication about what you are doing to comply with state mandates.
Most companies aren’t communicating these things across their employee base, and if they do communicate company-wide, it’s only once or twice a year at a holiday party or employee appreciation event. But that’s not enough. Employees need communication at an ongoing, regular cadence.
There’s good news, though. It’s not difficult or expensive to turn things around. It just requires some thought and a lot of intentionality. At Trucking Proud, we communicate with our employees in a very intentional way. We distribute content to our team through email or text messages, but we prevent them from responding in that string. Instead, we drive them to social media to engage in a conversation with each other and celebrate wins as a larger team.
The beauty of doing this on social media is that when employees interact with the content, it creates a dynamic that also invites other people outside the organization – all of their connections – to listen and observe, giving them a glimpse into our culture. It builds brand awareness, humanizes us as an organization, and casts a net that helps recruit other like-minded people who might be a good cultural fit for our company.
There’s a misnomer that truck drivers aren’t consuming online content, and it’s absolutely false. I promise you, that there is an audience for your content beyond your own workforce. Drivers are sitting at terminals – sometimes for hours at a time – with nothing to do and a phone in their hand, so they consume content on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok. From Trucker Josh and The Truck Driver Guy who have more than 150,000 combined subscribers on YouTube to Clarissa Rankin, who showcases the life of a woman in trucking to her 1.8M followers on TikTok, drivers are becoming influencers and you know who is following them? Other drivers.
Here are a few simple steps, that will make a significant difference in your employee communication, dramatically impacting how your employees feel about your company.
- Step 1: Start in onboarding. Few things can ingrain something into your culture faster than setting the tone right out of the gate. Tell your employees from day one how and where you will communicate with them, and invite and encourage them to participate.
- Step 2: Evaluate your systems. A lot of trucking companies are sending information through ELD systems because they are worried about the implications of communicating directly with drivers through cell phones, but there is a simple and cost-effective way to do it. Trucking Proud can actually execute this mechanism, running group texts for you, and it’s cheaper and easier than you probably think. Reach out to your broker or use the QR code below to get in touch.
- Step 3: Get on social media – Facebook and Instagram at the very least. YouTube is also a great place to share content because it’s the second-biggest search engine in the world. If you get intentional about using certain platforms, there is an audience within and beyond your workforce.
- Step 4: Invite your employees to participate. No one knows better than them what they’d like to see and what will compel them to engage, so source content from them. Have an open line of communication so they can share ideas any time something comes to them.
Employee communication doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be intentional, and it also needs to be a priority. The goal is to help people feel engaged and valued. If they do, you will reduce your turnover and, if done properly, you’ll also cast a net much bigger than your direct employees. If you get started today, a year from now, your employees will feel more engaged and connected and your brand will come to life as a reflection of your culture. Social media platforms are constantly changing, but they aren’t going away, and they are amazing, free tools to engage your employees.
If you don’t know where to start, contact the author at the QR code below to see how Trucking Proud can help. This is the second article in a three-part series designed to help you create a brand that truly reflects your company culture.
To scan the QR code, open the camera app on your phone and click on the yellow link.