HAULAGE INDUSTRY URGED TO TAKE ACTION AFTER RISE IN MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS AMONGST DRIVERS

With a recent survey revealing that half of logistics companies have seen a rise in mental health issues since Brexit, haulage industry leaders and mental health experts provide tips for supporting the mental wellbeing of drivers.

A recent study by Haulage Exchange, highlighted that 50% of logistics companies surveyed have seen an increase in employee stress, anxiety and other mental health issues due to the indirect impacts of Brexit.

Research from mental health charity Mind showed that 30% of self-reported work-related illness in the transport and logistics industry is due to stress, depression and anxiety. Other causes of strain on drivers’ mental health include shift working patterns, social isolation and the upcoming risk of seasonal affective disorder during cold, dark mornings and evenings. For female drivers, being in a male-dominated industry can also cause problems.

The government has introduced measures to ease the pressure on existing drivers, making more HGV driving tests available to get more drivers on the road. Pay has also increased dramatically, with UK wages for LGV drivers rising by 21% to £36,800 in just under a year, according to recruiter Adzuna.

However, it’s vital that drivers already working also receive the required mental health support from employers, colleagues and the wider industry, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.

This, along with factors like Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, has undoubtedly lead to a serious shortage in the number of lorry drivers currently working in the UK.

A separate Road Haulage Association (RHA) survey of its members, has found that there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK. That number includes thousands of drivers from European Union (EU) member states who were previously living and working in the UK.

In July, the government attempted to address the issue by temporarily extending drivers’ working hours, but were met with sufficient backlash, many industry professionals claiming that the government is merely “sticking a plaster” over the issue of driver shortages.

The National Officer for Road Transport at Unite the Union, Adrian Jones, claimed the announcement would have no effect on resolving the driver shortage problem. He added, “Unite will be advising its members to not place themselves in danger and that if they are too tired to drive safely, they have a legal right to refuse to do so”.

What can haulage companies do to support the mental health of their drivers?

It’s not always easy to identify the signs of mental health issues, but haulage companies must be mindful that people often hide these problems beneath the surface. With the right support, however, mental health issues can be managed and even prevented.

Luke Davies, Head of Sales at Transport Exchange Group, said: “If the right help isn’t available for drivers, some elements of the job can become stressful. So it’s vital that drivers feel like they can open up about any issues, rather than keeping things bottled up.

“Companies can set up a confidential hotline, introduce mental health days or provide free counselling. They can also address the link between good physical health and positive mental health, by promoting exercise and healthy diets.

“With the national shortage of drivers we’ve currently got, it’s more important than ever to retain drivers. Safeguarding their mental health is one way to make them feel valued and improve their working environment.”

For insight into how haulage drivers can maintain positive mental wellbeing, return loads platform Haulage Exchange has spoken to Claire Lyons, Qualified Mental Health Professional and Hansa Pankhania, counsellor and member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Top tips for maintaining positive mental health as a haulage driver

Find ways to stay active

Making time to exercise can often be a struggle, particularly with long hours spent on the road. For haulage drivers, who spend their working hours sitting down in a small space, keeping active is absolutely vital.

Lyons says: “Stress releases chemicals into your body, and one effective way to get rid of them is via exercise. You could try progressive muscle relaxation when in the cab, but not while driving. Or, add a physical activity (such as boxing, football or walking) to your weekly schedule.”

Pankhania says: “Find places to park where you can go for a brisk walk or run, or engage in stretching exercises. Also, connecting with nature is invigorating and healing, so even better if you can plan your breaks in scenic places.”

Laugh!

Life on the road can get a bit lonely at times, especially if drivers are spending nights away from home, so they should set time aside for whatever brightens their day up.

Lyons says: “One brilliant stress release is to laugh. Add a few downloads of your favourite comedian, get an audiobook, meet up with that friend who always makes you laugh. Watch a comedy show, add a joke book to the cab…”

Get enough sleep

There’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep. Wake up before your body has fully recharged and minor, everyday annoyances can turn into bigger issues. Of course, driving jobs require great focus, so they are much more enjoyable – and safer – when you’re not tired.

Lyons says: “One of the quickest ways to identify stress is a change in sleep patterns. This is also likely if you are working longer hours. Getting high-quality sleep, so that you are rested and alert, is essential for you to remain safe while driving. What works for one person may not work for another, so investigate ideas or sleep aids.”

Keep your lorry space clean

Just as some office employees feel more organised and ready to work when their desks are tidy, many drivers feel better when their working space is clean and pleasant. After all, drivers spend a lot of time in their cabs, so they don’t want to be surrounded by lots of mess.

Pankhania says: “Keep your vehicle clutter-free and fresh. You can also create a calm environment by adding images that you find soothing such as trees, oceans or wildlife.”

Share your feelings

Letting things build up and get you down never helped anyone. Talking about what’s on our minds allows us to process issues and move on. With drivers spending hours alone each day, it’s especially important that they communicate and don’t let any negative thoughts fester.

Pankhania says: “Open up about any issues that are bothering you instead of struggling to make sense of these yourself. Talking is cathartic and will highlight options for moving forward with your problems.”

Lyons says: “When we share thoughts and feelings, concerns or frustrations, with others the stress goes down. Getting things off your chest, even if it doesn’t change them, will help. If you feel you need more specific or professional help, don’t be afraid to reach out.”

To access the full Haulage Exchange findings, click here.

What LGV and HGV Drivers Really Think About Benefits

Talent in Logistics has followed up its 2020 ‘Driving Engagement in Logistics’ whitepaper with fresh research conducted in partnership with the RTITB Driver CPC Consortium and iintegra-T. The latest report addresses the driver shortage and retention crisis by asking LGV/HGV drivers what they think about the benefits and incentives employers use to attract and retain drivers. The results will surprise you.

Faulty Logic

It is no secret that the UK is facing a wellbeing crisis. The cost of ill-health and stress are mounting all the time. But solutions to this problem don’t always hit the mark.

A 2018 study found pressure to ‘attend work at all costs’ was driving presenteeism, with employees coming to work while unwell instead of recuperating. Rather than improving productivity, the negative effects of cutting back on sick leave actually cost the economy billions.

Sick employees are less focused and productive. They are more susceptible to mental and physical strain, so they stay sick longer and are more likely to get worse.

For logistics firms, this means more mistakes, inefficiency, cost, even expensive damage to fleets. For LGV and HGV drivers, protracted ill-health can lead to stress, burnout, or more serious medical conditions which threaten their living.

At worst, loss of focus on the road can even mean loss of life.

What Does This Have to Do with Benefits?

More than you might think. Wellbeing and engagement are two sides of the same coin, with research linking both to retention and performance.

Common wellness programs often apply a sticking plaster where a splint is needed. Only 15.5% of respondents to Talent in Logistics’ survey said a wellness program would attract them to a role. 27.9% said a gym membership would not attract them at all, while only 10% said it would. LGV and HGV drivers have given such solutions a vote of no confidence.

What Drivers Do Want

The physical, mental, and financial stress of the recent global pandemic has exacerbated the issues identified in 2018. In Talent in Logistics’ research report, the top three most attractive benefits were income protection insurance (88.4%), critical illness cover (83.2%), and extra holiday for years of service (72.6%).

A connection can be made here to overtime, which came up a lot in our conversations with drivers. ‘It seems that all driver roles expect you to work 50 hours a week, as opposed to 37.5 like the rest of the country,’ was one of many such observations.

Industrywide, many LGV and HGV drivers feel under pressure to routinely push themselves beyond their contracted hours. More faulty logic. And it may be affecting their health.

We have seen many logistics employers recently offer a variety of incentives to their workforce of LGV and HGV drivers, for example:

  • AO offer a dedicated wellness initiate that supports wellbeing, including a 24 hour employee assistance programme.
  • Aldi offers a wellbeing programme where they have access to an online wellness portal, as well as an employee assistant programme and wellbeing related benefits.
  • Gist offers to cover the costs of training to new drivers, as well as ‘discounts and a generous pension’.
  • XPO offers merit increases, performance rewards and an accelerated path to reach top pay rates.
  • Eddie Stobart offers additional leave after years of service and death in service scheme.

When overtime goes unrecognised and underpaid, it certainly impacts their engagement. Despite being identified as keyworkers during the pandemic, many drivers still don’t feel respected in their roles.

Incentive packages that ignore what drivers want don’t help. Once again, a common solution to the respect issue was highly unpopular with our drivers. Public recognition by management was one of the lowest scoring incentives in the survey.

What the drivers really wanted was more empathy. Many respondents to Talent in Logistics’ study felt strongly that managers and traffic planners did not understand the challenges drivers face on the job.

Taking the time to ride out with the drivers might be one way to tackle this issue. Experiencing the realities of life on the road can offer real insight into driver performance. This helps leaders to set realistic expectations. Shared first-hand experience can also help build trust and improve communication.

Solutions

The benefits that affect wellbeing and engagement the most are the ones which reduce the big stressors in drivers’ lives. Drivers want fair pay for hard work; financial and health security; and time enough to rest, recuperate when sick, and simply live their lives.

Fortunately, iintegra-T offers a range of insurance solutions which can target the problem effectively.

Income protection insurance shows drivers you’ve got their backs. Life insurance protects their loved ones. And private medical insurance helps safeguard their health. It all adds up to a benefits package that will make drivers feel valued.

More than anything, drivers need to feel their concerns are being listened to. To find out more, contact the iintegra-T team at https://iintegra-t.com/contact/.

DOWNLOAD ‘THE DRIVERS FOR DRIVERS’ WHITEPAPER.

FREIGHT ASSOCIATION WELCOMES EXTENSION OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR APPRENTICE RECRUITMENT

The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the trade association that represents UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, says that it welcomes the news that the government is extending the period of time that companies can access cash incentives for hiring new apprentices.

The cash incentives were first introduced in August 2020 and offered businesses £2,000 to take on apprentices aged 16 to 24, while those that employ new apprentices aged 25 and over were to be paid £1,500. They were increased to £3,000 for all apprentices in February, but that scheme ended in September, but the government has prolonged the scheme by four months until the end of January.

Carl Hobbis, BIFA executive director, who has management responsibility for BIFA’s training and development services, says: “The extension in funding support is a further reason for our members to consider the apprenticeship pathway as a means of adding fresh talent to the industry.”

Having been actively involved in the creation of an International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, BIFA has committed to promote its availability since it was introduced in 2018.

BIFA director general, Robert Keen says: “Whilst our members, quite rightly, remain focused on significant business continuity issues, we welcome the extension of the funding.

“As one of the largest providers of freight forwarding and Customs-related training courses, we are ready to help any of our members that are seeking to take advantage of the additional funding being made available to recruit apprentices.

“There is also a dedicated area of the BIFA website – https://apprentices.bifa.org/ – that can help both employers and potential recruits to better understand apprenticeship opportunities in the freight forwarding industry.”

Could income protection and illness cover help solve the driver shortage?

Recent research by Talent in Logistics has found that 88% of LGV drivers in the UK would be attracted to a role that offers income protection insurance, with 83% stating that critical illness cover would also be an attractive benefit.

Carried out in collaboration with iintegra-T and the RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium, 130 current HGV drivers from the UK were surveyed in July 2021 to find out what benefits and incentives would encourage them to stay in their career.

“We have seen recently some employers offering big cash incentives to try and attract drivers to roles, but rarely are drivers asked if this is actually what appeals to them,” says Ruth Edwards, Operations Director for Talent in Logistics.  “This research set out to find ways that our industry can attract and retain existing drivers in the talent pool, and it all starts with listening to drivers.”

As well as being interested in income protection insurance and critical illness cover, the survey also found that 76% of drivers would be attracted to extra holiday for years of service. Plus, 73% would welcome higher pension contributions from their employer, indicating that drivers are seeking long term benefits, rather than immediate pay offs.

Warren Robins, Director of iintegra-T comments: “Income protection insurance is one of the most desired benefits for drivers and, providing it, is also a highly cost-effective way for employers to differentiate their offering. Not only with the financial security of sick pay that runs through to retirement age, but also increased recognition of the importance of the role that comes from offering such a prestigious benefit, particularly when combined with discounts and rewards schemes.”

In addition, almost 65% would be drawn to a role that offered flexitime.  However, other flexible working options such as job sharing, staggered hours, and annualised hours were among the least attractive benefits.  The feedback from many of the drivers surveyed also indicated that high expectations on overtime beyond contracted hours feels unfair compared to other industries.

Other popular incentives and benefits highlighted in the survey were private healthcare (65%) and dental care (60%). Conversely, drivers are largely not interested in health and wellness programmes – just 15.5% said this would attract them a lot to a role.  Just 10% of drivers would be keen on a role that provides a gym membership.

“Many of the benefits that drivers are keen on are perhaps not what employers would expect,” says Ruth. “For instance, we also identified a key theme from our open-ended survey questions that many drivers would be incentivised by their management having more understanding and empathy.”

“Though not all transport managers and traffic planners will have worked as a driver to gain first-hand experience, perhaps they spend a day on the road with drivers to learn more about their everyday experiences and show drivers that they are being heard,” she continues.

Laura Nelson, Managing Director for the RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium adds: “One of the most used words by drivers in this survey was ‘respect’. Therefore, rather than tangible or financial incentives, our industry should be looking at ways to ensure drivers are treated with more respect, by their companies, the general public, and other road users.  This will be key for retaining this valuable talent as we tackle a skills shortage.”

Detailed results of the driver engagement survey are revealed in a new white paper published by Talent in Logistics, titled ‘The Drivers for Drivers’.  This also offers more advice and recommendations on how to support drivers and encourage greater loyalty.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT

For more information, call the team on 01952 520216 or email info@talentinlogistics.co.uk

THE PRESSURES OF TACKLING DIVERSITY WITHIN YOUR LOGISTICS OPERATIONS

Diversity. There has never been a more important time to talk about this issue in the logistics sector. Employment figures for LGV drivers fell by 21,000 in the second quarter alone last year. The driver recruitment crisis has been exacerbated by the one-two punch of a decreased post-Brexit recruitment pool and jobs lost due to the pressures of COVID.

For an industry whose workforce has traditionally drawn only from certain limited demographics, increased diversity may well be not only the best, but the only solution.

But right now, logistics has a serious diversity problem. Talent in Logistics’ own research established an enormous gender gap among drivers: 95% male, 4% female, 1% transgender / prefer not to say. This issue isn’t limited to the drivers; it affects the industry as a whole. According to Logistics UK in 2019 , women comprised 13.7% of the industry workforce. 78% of the national workforce is white; in logistics it is 91%. 32% of LGBT employees in our industry choose to hide their sexual orientation at work.

What’s more, this diversity problem may be self-perpetuating. The younger generation of ‘internal customers’ is more politically and socially conscious. According to Logistics UK, ‘80% of millennials believe a diversity and inclusion policy is important when deciding to work for a company’. In other words, recruitment among all young people, regardless of gender, could be negatively impacted by a lack of diversity.

In order to face problems like this, we need a clear focus on what the terms we use actually mean. Even more so, we need to foster sensitivity to what distinctions mean to the people they are supposed to describe. Our understandings of all of these terms, ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’, ‘ethnicity’, ‘gender’, ‘disability’, ‘sexual orientation’, are developing and changing all the time.

Increasing sensitivity to categories and distinctions like gender non-binary or neurodiverse is eroding stereotypes about who we are as people. Some decry the increasing complexity of our professional and social relationships, but for those of us looking forward, this is a good thing.

The pressure is on to stop relying on problematic, inaccurate binary divisions like white vs BAME, or men vs women, or gay vs straight. Instead of lumping people together in these convenient blocks, we have to respond to people with nuance, as individuals.

Yes, this is more work. But when we start doing this, the benefits can be astonishing. In particular, research has established a strong link between diversity and creativity. A 2017 US study found that diverse teams generate 19% more revenue. The diversity in ideas, perspectives and insights allows teams to better anticipate customer needs.

A diverse team is a team which has more than one way of working effectively, and this is never truer than when diversity is harnessed as a company asset rather than skirted as an uncomfortable issue.

Just as one example, as many as 1 in 20 working age adults in the UK may have ADHD. A lot of attention is given to the less desirable aspects of ADHD, but those with the condition may actually have significant advantages over their peers in higher-order skills, especially creative skills such as divergent thinking. The increased ability to make mental leaps and link together seemingly disconnected ideas is something that can be harnessed whenever thinking outside the box is needed. And even supposed weaknesses, like impulsivity, can be an advantage: those with ADHD will say things others are too afraid to.

So, what can organisations do to break the cycle and improve diversity?

  • The most important thing is to act. Simply paying lip service to diversity or sweeping it under the carpet will not achieve anything
    • Solutions need to be cultural, practical and deeply embedded. And all the stakeholders involved need to be on board
  • TIL’s research suggests attention to work-life balance and flexible working options is essential in the recruitment of women in particular. With flexible working options across other sectors rising in the past year, logistics cannot afford to be left behind
  • Cultures of silence need to be dismantled, and replaced with avenues for communication Our differences need to be addressed sensitively, but they shouldn’t be taboo
  • Workplace policies on disability access need to take into account government support that is available, for instance under Access to Work
  • It should be a company goal for shortlists and interview panels to show greater balance
  • Policies need to consider how a broad variety of needs could be accommodated, including those of transgender, neurodiverse, or physically disabled employees, for instance
  • Finally, policies should aim to enable and embed varied approaches to working, communication and problem solving, so as to get the most out of the differences a team can bring to the table

The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge

Over recent decades barriers have been broken down and, as a society, we have come to realise and accept that not everyone fits the same mould. As a nation we are a diverse mix of genders, abilities and beliefs; so fundamentally it should follow that all employers embrace the wealth of talent available when recruiting and retaining staff.

The Big Diversity Challenge series of events was developed to provide an opportunity for industry organisations to experience a unique way to promote the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion in their workforce.

GET INVOLVED IN 2022.

COULD A ‘RIGHT TO DISCONNECT’ HELP CURB TOXIC PRODUCTIVITY?

A recent article appeared in the Huffington Post entitled ‘What Is Toxic Productivity? Here’s How to Spot the Damaging Behaviour.’ For those who haven’t heard of it, toxic productivity is everywhere in our culture: from the pressure to be supermum and wonderdad, to viral tweets condemning those who didn’t come out of the pandemic able to play the tuba while riding a unicycle. Toxic productivity is the little voice in your head that tells you you’re lazy when you don’t fill every second of your day with activity, and every second of your working day with work.

Which is to say, it is cultural, personal, all-pervasive, internal, everywhere and nowhere, and it is costing us a lot. The cost of burnout to productivity, health, and happiness is immense, and 17.9 million work days lost to stress in the UK per year isn’t something an organisation can overlook.

Fortunately, working habits are shifting. The success of work from home over lockdown is causing many businesses to look hard at shifting to hybrid and flexible working policies, and employees are very happy.

On the surface, it may seem like the shift to hybrid and work from home would be a tonic to toxic productivity; after all, with no colleagues or managers watching over your shoulder, what’s to stop you taking it easy? This thinking is doubtless one reason for some employers being so leery of work from home pre-lockdown, and for the proliferation in employee monitoring software and other such invasive techniques for making sure employees don’t skive.

But lockdown didn’t lead to a drop in employee productivity. It turns out most people are broadly responsible, take pride in their work, and are motivated to achieve results. And this is why we are experiencing the opposite problem, now.

Why ‘from home’ means ‘for your toughest boss’

The issue with working from home is that it makes it harder for some employees to switch off. When the office is right next to the living room, the distinction between working time and resting time gets blurry. Without ‘the boss’ checking in to see how things are going, we are forced to turn to our inner boss for help managing our time, and sometimes the inner boss is far less forgiving.

The very concept of ‘skiving’ can play into this. We are conditioned to think of productivity as a thing born of brute, grinding effort, the ‘knuckle down’ mentality. At home, we may feel we are skiving because we are comfortable, or because we just watched a five-minute YouTube video, or because we are having our fourth coffee break of the day. We might feel the need to ‘make it up’ after hours. Or we might feel that there is so much work to do we can’t have any breaks or YouTube videos, and coffee is something we can only eat out of the tin, because there’s no time to put the kettle on.

Either way, we may feel like, when a call comes in at 7.30 on Thursday, we really have to pick up. Everyone else is still busy, why else would they be calling now? And I can’t let them down, and there’s so much on, and remember when I skived yesterday to walk to the shops because I’d eaten all the coffee?

Suddenly, we’ve worked five consecutive twelve-hour days, some intensely productive and some exhausted and ‘skive’ riven. We’ve achieved everything we were meant to and more, but we’re spent, burnt out, and full of guilt.

The irony here is that we have actually had a very successful week, at least as far as productivity goes: we met all our goals! So, what went wrong? As Huff Post puts it, ‘What’s funny about toxic productivity is that it exists more in our heads than in our actual work environments.’

Employers are typically much, much more interested in results than how much effort or time it took to get there. But because our culture is saturated with the idea that procrastination is not just bad business, but bad morals, we put way too much pressure on ourselves to ‘knuckle down’.

Strategies

Fortunately, there are things employers can do to help prevent this. One crucial strategy is to address the elephant in the room and tackle the myths that give rise to toxic productivity head on.

The concept of ‘skiving’ is a flawed one. Human beings are designed to skive; it’s how our brain architecture works. Our ebbing, flowing attention is what keeps us safe in a hazardous, dynamic world, and it is the font of all creativity—the ability to make new and novel connections between seemingly disconnected things. This is why so many artistic and scientific breakthroughs are made in the shower, the bath, or on a leisurely walk (this is a fact supported by research as well as anecdotal evidence, by the way).

Likewise, ‘knuckling down’ is often not an efficient strategy. Gritting your teeth may get you through a scrape when the chips are down, but if there are chips on the floor every single day, someone needs to retrain the chef.

Employers should make it clear that elegant, easy wins are just as good if not better than long grinds to the finishing line. Huff Post suggests, rather than ‘what should I be doing now, ‘a better question to ask yourself is: “What could I do or create with ease now? What would it take to create this with zero stress?”’

Clarifying this requires actions to speak louder than words, however. It’s no good pushing the work-life balance agenda without creating an appropriate culture. Employers can work with employees to develop hybrid and flexible working policies that let the individual have a say in how they work best. So, get rid of the employee monitoring software: this isn’t a George Orwell novel.

And consider enforcing a ‘right to disconnect’ across the business. CIPD summarises right to disconnect thus:

  • The right of an employee to not have to routinely perform work outside their normal working hours.
  • The right not to be penalised for refusing to attend to work matters outside of normal working hours.
  • The duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect (e.g., by not routinely emailing or calling outside normal working hours).

Making private time sacrosanct like this encourages employees to respect their own boundaries and not bite off more than they can chew. It encourages them to work smarter, not harder. And that benefits everyone.

PALL-EX APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Pall-Ex has appointed Karolina Thompson as its new Director of International Development to drive the global expansion of the brand.

Karolina, who has been part of the Pall-Ex International team for over 12 years, has been promoted to the role and the Pall-Ex Board, as the business continues to add Master Licensees across the globe.

Working closely with Pall-Ex Group’s Managing Director – International Business Units, Mark Steel, she will oversee the development of relationships and opportunities in territories all over the world, including Australia and the United States.

The International unit of Pall-Ex has seen a major restructure in the last two years, with a new approach being taken in Master Licensee recruitment.

Having started in her new role on 1st August 2021, Karolina expressed her optimism and excitement when looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

She said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me, I am grateful to Mark and the other members of the Senior Management team for having faith in my abilities.

“I have been working with our International colleagues across Europe for over 12 years now and my experience and knowledge means that I am well prepared to take on this challenge.

“The next few years will be really exciting as there are numerous projects on the way which will ensure Pall-Ex is the leading name in palletised freight around the world, which I can’t wait to be part of.”

Karolina’s appointment is another example of Pall-Ex promoting from within and investing in the talent it has within the business.

Mark Steel leads the International arm of Pall-Ex and since his time as Managing Director – International Business Units, he has appreciated the value of Karolina’s experience and dedication.

Speaking about her promotion, he comments: “When the need for this position arose, Karolina was the perfect candidate. After working with Karolina for over a year, I have been extremely impressed with her knowledge and professionalism.

“She has an unparalleled level of understanding with the current Master Licence holders and knows what it takes to recruit quality companies to represent the Pall-Ex brand in various territories.

“I have no doubt that her commitment and skill will ensure Pall-Ex’s International ambitions are met and exceeded in the coming years.”

The team is now working flat out to broker deals with potential Master Licence Holders throughout Europe and beyond, working with quality businesses to bring the Pall-Ex model and brand to their respective territories.

Anyone wishing to discuss such opportunities to achieve excellence together, should visit www.pallex.com.

A TALENT IN LOGISTICS GUIDE TO OFFERING THE RIGHT INCENTIVES TO RETAIN AND RECRUIT DRIVERS

LGV Drivers

Retention and recruitment are a big concern for many transport and logistics companies, especially during the current driver shortage. A shocking 70% of drivers do not feel valued, and less than half feel motivated to work hard for their employers (identified in a recent Talent in Logistics white paper). To address this, and stay competitive as an employer, it is vital to provide the right employee incentives and benefits package. But where do you start?

Carry out a driver survey

To understand what incentives and benefits your drivers would respond well to, try asking them! Carry out a quick, simple survey to learn what motivates your drivers by listening to their needs and understanding what encourages them. If you need help to create a short driver survey, contact the Talent in Logistics team.

Come up with ideas for LGV Driver Incentives that don’t include salary

As well as conducting your own survey, look out for the nationwide LGV Driver Incentive and Benefits survey and report by Talent in Logistics, set to launch soon in conjunction with RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium.  It will offer a unique insight into the views of LGV drivers across the country and may give you ideas. In the meantime, below are some suggested driver benefits:

  • Comprehensive healthcare package
  • Flexible working schedule/pattern (choosing their own working hours)
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Extra holiday
  • Vehicle upgrade
  • Cash incentives and bonuses
  • Public recognition (for example by management at company events)
  • Special assignments (for example drivers’ favourite routes)
  • Access to external services (such as yoga, meditation, or counselling)

Remember, your idea of a benefit or incentive, may not be the same as your drivers’, and different drivers may have different preferences. It may take time to put together a flexible package that appeals to the majority of employees, but it’s worth showing your drivers they are valued.

Communicate your incentives and benefits effectively

Once you have come up with some genuine incentives and benefits, you will need to communicate them effectively to your existing and potential drivers. Here are some tips to help get them on board:

  1. Be precise, clear, and concise – Tell your drivers why you are offering what you are offering in plain English. Use everyday language and be brief and to the point. For example, (as Google re:Work advises), don’t just say ‘well-being’ – explain that you mean ‘emotional, physical and financial health’. Avoid corporate jargon and toxic positivity if you don’t want to seem insincere.
  2. Communicate regularly, and from the top – Top-down support of your drivers and incentives and regular communication are important, no matter the size of your operation. If you as the manager / business owner get behind your own incentives scheme, so will your drivers. Regular communication will help you drive the enthusiasm needed to make your incentive scheme successful and your drivers feel valued.
  3. Talk to existing and potential drivers – Incentives and benefits are a good tool both for staff retention, and recruitment, so shout about them through internal communications, such as newsletters and on bulletin boards. Incentives make you an attractive employer, so in a challenging job market, ensure these are also included in job advertisements too.
  4. Don’t overexaggerate – Don’t dress up a standard contract term as a benefit as this won’t inspire trust and confidence. For example, if what you are offering is 20 days holiday plus eight bank holidays, don’t call it a 28-day package, which is actually the legal minimum holiday entitlement anyway. Instead focus on the genuine or unique benefits you can offer as an employer.

Need more advice?

There is a range of valuable resources and guidance for logistics employers at the Talent in Logistics website to help you attract, engage, and retain the very best drivers. You can also contact the Talent in Logistics team for expert advice and support, by calling 01952 520216, or emailing info@talentinlogistics.co.uk.

TALENT IN LOGISTICS POSTPONES ITS 2021 AWARDS EVENT

Talent in Logistics announces the decision to cancel the 5th edition of the annual Talent in Logistics Awards until 2022.

The Talent in Logistics Awards programme recognises the talented people that work within the sector, keeping the cogs turning. That includes individuals, such as forklift operators and HGV drivers, and the teams of people behind the scenes who are responsible for training, health and safety, and more. It also focusses on initiatives that display best practice when it comes to sector recruitment, employee engagement, and people development.

Ruth Edwards, Operations Director at Talent in Logistics comments: “Cancelling this year’s awards was a very difficult decision to make, and we are very disappointed as we were so eager to welcome the industry for another brilliant event. However, we are certain this is the most responsible course of action at this time.

“For us, the magic of our industry is in the people. Over the past year, they have been crucial, and deserve even greater praise and recognition than ever for their efforts. So, to keep everyone safe, and give us the best opportunity to celebrate these efforts we feel it is responsible to postpone. We make a promise to the sector that when we come back in 2022, the event will be bigger and better than ever before.”

Talent in Logistics will release full details for the 2022 event in due course.

For further information on entering the awards or sponsoring an award category in 2022, visit www.talentinlogistics.co.uk, call 01952 520216 or email info@talentinlogistics.co.uk.

THREE TIPS FOR RUNNING A DRIVER SURVEY FROM TALENT IN LOGISTICS

In a recent Talent in Logistics white paper, ‘Driving Engagement in Logistics’, we identified that just 30% of LGV drivers in the UK feel valued, with less than half feeling motivated to work hard for their employers. A quick, simple survey can be used to learn what motivates your drivers by listening to their needs and understanding what encourages them. Here are three tips to help you conduct a survey that will ultimately benefit your drivers and your operation.

1. Choose a suitable survey platform – There are many online survey platforms (including free services, such as SurveyMonkey) with different formats and question types – from open-ended questions to multiple choice, and rating preferences on a scale.

Don’t overcomplicate your survey design, but don’t rush it out in five minutes either. Do consider the structure, the questions, and the data collection method, in order to achieve usable results.  And of course, don’t make the survey too long – you don’t want your drivers to lose interest part way through!

2. Explain the goals of your survey – Clearly explain the objectives of the survey to your participants, to get more useful, honest, and engaged answers. Emphasise that this won’t just be a box-ticking exercise and explain how you plan to act on their suggestions. Commit to ensuring change happens but do make sure you manage their expectations because you may not be able to give your drivers everything they ask for.

3. Ask the right questions – To get useful information that benefits your drivers and your operation, you must ask the right questions. They could be closed questions, such as “How much overtime would you like per week?”, or open questions like “How can we make your job easier?”. An effective survey will include a combination of the two. Avoid making assumptions, or including leading questions, that guide the driver towards your own viewpoint. And be sure to give drivers sufficient time to complete the survey thoughtfully, rather than feeling rushed to do so, as you’ll get much more valuable responses.

If you need help to create a short driver survey, please contact the Talent in Logistics team for expert advice and support, by calling 01952 520216, or emailing info@talentinlogistics.co.uk.

PD PORTS COMMENDED WITH TOP ‘GOLD’ AWARD FOR ONGOING COMMITMENT TO HEALTH AND SAFETY

PD Ports is celebrating after achieving Gold status at the internationally-recognised RoSPA Awards for its ongoing commitment to demonstrating the highest health and safety standards across its operations.

The port operator, which is headquartered in the Tees Valley, owns and operates 12 key ports and logistics centres nationwide including Teesport, the fifth largest port in the UK, and Groveport, the UK’s hub for steel imports.

Awarded Gold status for the second time by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) for continuously driving its safety first culture and ensuring the safety of its people, its operations and anyone who comes into contact with the business, PD Ports’ HR Director, Russ McCallion, said the status is testament to the resilience of both PD Ports and its people following the most challenging of years.

‘It is no secret that Safety is our number one core value, instilled in to each person and operation across the whole of PD Ports,” said Russ.

“Following a year that presented us with many personal and professional challenges as a result of the COVID crisis, our people, as recognised key workers, have remained vigilant and resilient, allowing health and safety to inform every decision in order to ensure that everyone leaves work in the same condition in which they arrived.

“As we were all forced to come to terms with the ‘new normal’ and alternate ways of working, our people adapted very quickly to increased safeguarding measures meaning that we were able to minimise any potential risk of COVID19 in the workplace. We’ve also placed a renewed focus on mental health over the past 12 months in order to properly protect and safeguard all aspects of our people and their wellbeing.

“This award is testament to the efforts of all our people in caring for each other, respecting the values of our business and providing an unfaltering service throughout 2020.”

Receiving over 2,000 entrants each year the RoSPA Awards are regarded as the highest possible accolade in the health and safety industry across the globe with winners regarded as world-leaders in health and safety practices.

Julia Small, RoSPA’s achievements director, said, “The RoSPA Awards scheme is the longest-running of its kind in the UK, but it receives entries from organisations across the globe, making it one of the most sought-after achievement awards for health and safety worldwide.

“RoSPA is very proud of the achievements of its entrants, and with this award we recognise the best of the best, those organisations that have gone the extra mile, raising the bar for the delivery of safety in the workplace. Employees, wherever they may be should be able to go to work safe in the knowledge that they will return home unharmed and healthy at the end of every day. Our RoSPA Award winners are central to achieving this goal.”

PD Ports will be presented with its prestigious award at a virtual ceremony in September.

A SPOTLIGHT ON SUICIDE IN MALE-DOMINATED INDUSTRIES: TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS

The issue

Wellbeing has become something of a touchstone issue for the business world in recent years. Yet, against the backdrop of increased awareness and discussion, statistics surrounding the worst outcomes of poor mental health have worsened. In 2019, the suicide rate for men in England and Wales was its highest for two decades—higher even than during the terrible years following the 2007 financial crisis.

Transport and Logistics is an industry particularly afflicted with poor wellbeing, being the sector with the highest rate of absenteeism and the second highest rate for workplace stress according to a 2017 study. Also in 2017, ONS revealed that the suicide rate in forklift truck drivers was 85% higher than the national average, with van and LGV drivers also experiencing higher rates.

Clearly, suicide is an issue the industry needs to address.

Going beyond ‘boys will be boys’

Conversations on suicide in male-dominated industries often focus on the chilling effect traditional models of masculinity can have on conversations about wellbeing; we expect to see phrases like ‘a culture of silence’, ‘boys don’t cry’, or ‘toxic masculinity’. It is important to recognise the negative impact taboos around the sharing of emotion can have on mental health in male dominated workplaces. But the way we talk about male suicide can itself contribute to the issue, by conditioning us to see suicide in male-dominated industries solely as an unfortunate bi-product of male culture.

There are numerous reasons why this simplistic view is problematic. For starters, there’s a real danger of placing all the responsibility for the issue on the shoulders of those who are at risk, rather than recognising that the trends run wider than that. Evidence that mothers use emotional language more frequently with their daughters than their sons suggests that social conditioning starts young and isn’t simply bound to male-male interactions. Messages harmful to mental health can come from all around: they are not just confined to ‘the locker room’.

And then there is the fact that male-dominated industries skew towards high-demand, high-pressure, competitive roles which involve working long hours. These jobs are frequently isolating; in the case of construction, the cause may be the need to work away from home on site; in the case of LGV driving, it’s long days alone at the wheel, and long nights alone in hotels or at the roadside. Focusing solely on male-male interactions ignores the role business culture has in creating these conditions.

And finally, presenting the issue purely as a product of male-male interaction ignores the fact that the issue affects men and women; women who work in male-dominated industries are more likely to commit suicide than women who don’t. The conversation needs to recognise and include them.

Tackling the issue

There are numerous organisations, charities and initiatives seeking to tackle the issues of wellbeing, male suicide and suicide in male dominated industries. These offer resources which can be used to improve workplace culture and tackle the issue head on.

One of the cornerstone strategies used is to open up the conversation, creating a culture where issues of mental health and wellbeing are discussed, and modelling what that can look like. Those working in male-dominated environments need to be empowered to discuss their mental and emotional health openly, and without stigma.

But really getting to grips with the issue is more involved than simply ‘having the talk’. The charity Mates in Mind, which works with transport and logistics companies to tackle suicide, takes a holistic approach with a raft of resources aimed at educating, informing, developing effective policy and assigning meaningful roles. The charity Mind offers training, resources aimed at helping employers develop their organisational approach to mental health, and guidance on how to implement Thriving at Work standards.

As with any facet of workplace culture, we need to do more than talk the talk to create a culture of openness with regards to wellbeing. Strategies need to be bedded in, and backed up with meaningful action and support. If this can be done, there is good reason to hope things can and will get better.

There are hundreds of free online resources to further help and assist with wellbeing and mental health. These include information on how to manage wellbeing and mental health, how to manage stress and more. Here are just a few you might find useful to access and share:

Organisations, charities and initiatives here to support you and your colleagues: