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.
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.
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/.