This week it is Driver Appreciation Week in Canada. This happens every year in the first week of September. In the United States Driver Appreciation Week begins in the second week of September and many companies will celebrate it for the whole month of September. The celebration has grown over the years to include all people in the transportation industry and there will be many discussions and events showing drivers how important they are to the industry and economy. There will be barbecues offering free food and swag during the month but does that really show drivers we care? How do you know as a driver if you are appreciated?
What can you expect to see in the month of September for Driver Appreciation Week? You will definitely have your fair share of hotdogs or hamburgers. Almost every company I know has a barbecue going on offering free food. Some will offer awards and others will give out hats and shirts. Does that work for the long term though? Can we not get more creative than a barbecue? In my mind driver appreciation should go on all year and can be as little as being recognized at the company to more pay or new trucks. Many of the good carriers have gone as far as to reward drivers with nicer equipment, displaying their names on the truck and more. It really doesn’t matter what you do to acknowledge the driver as long as you do it. The other point is that it should be done all year long.
When I was on the road we were rewarded with better runs, better equipment, and steady loads. Almost every company I worked for used a better truck as the way to make me feel appreciated the most. Steady work and a team atmosphere were what kept me at most companies for years. When I did leave a company it was rarely due to being treated unfairly, but for an opportunity that wasn’t available with that carrier. Many of those carriers never had barbecues or even mentioned Driver Appreciation Week, I am not sure it was even in existence in 80’s and 90’s. When I think about the carriers the feeling for me was like being at home with friends. We got together outside of work and learned about each others lives. We celebrated new additions and mourned when we lost someone. We were like family and we knew we were appreciated for working hard. It’s the little things that made the difference, not the big things.
Driver appreciation doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it does have to be consistent. I think Driver Appreciation should be all year long and the good carriers are working towards that. Show your drivers you care every day, not just in the month of September. Happy Driver Appreciation Week to all the drivers and everyone involved in the transportation industry. Without you our World would stop. Thank you for all you do.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com