Embracing Our Family Values As An Employer of Choice
As Wadhams grows, it becomes increasingly important for us to find ways to maintain the family-oriented values that have always been at our foundation. Though we’re still very much a family business – with six members of the third generation within our ranks – it can be difficult to maintain the same closeness and rapport with 700 employees that we had with a half-dozen. Our goal is to find a way to grow into a bigger organization without losing sight of those small-business priorities that make us who we are.
That’s why we think it’s important to be recognized as an Employer of Choice in the industry. The designation marks a commitment to safety, reliability, integrity, respect, and strong relationships between team members. These attributes make a company worth working for.
Communication can be a challenge in the transportation industry, where the nature of schedules makes it impossible to assemble everyone for a staff meeting. Even with modern technology, it can be difficult to maintain the same closeness that Wadhams had as a smaller company.
It’s no secret that driver retention is also a top issue in the trucking industry. ATRI’s survey this year marked the third year in a row that retention has been among the top 10 concerns, with the issue jumping from seventh to fourth this year. Finding ways to retain trained and experienced drivers is a critical concern for most transportation companies, especially as demand for transportation only continues to increase. This makes it even more important to foster a positive and nurturing workplace culture.
Analysis & Diagnosis
We wanted to find effective ways to connect with our team, and to communicate more effectively when we have news to share. We also realized that we wanted to do more to recognize our drivers for noteworthy work, to make sure that they know that we appreciate their commitment and loyalty.
We began with a newsletter, which seemed to be the best way to spread news quickly to a growing group. We also had a terrific opportunity to recognize our team when the Tonawanda terminal had an excellent month, with only one service issue in October – a great achievement given the number of loads hauled every week. To celebrate their achievement, the managers held a cookout. This gave the managers a better chance to talk to some of the drivers and to recognize their terrific efforts.
These kinds of social events help us get to know our teams and build stronger relationships with our drivers. They’re also important for underscoring the vital role that drivers play in our organization – both as integral assets at the frontline of our business, and as first points of contact and service for customers. That’s why we’re working to establish more recognition and incentive programs for our employees. As we grow, this commitment to relationships is what will keep us close, despite the distance.