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Company-wide initiative takes driver appreciation to new level

Mark Rourke shares the stage with dozens of professional drivers at Schneider’s annual meeting.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a five-part series on a company-wide Driver Experience initiative.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is an important time to recognize drivers, and we have plans in place to do so (more on that below), but such recognition should extend well beyond one week. At Schneider, we’re doing just that with a long-term company-wide initiative launched in 2018 aimed at improving our driver’s work experience.

Driver Experience Initiative – All in to make drivers’ jobs easier

We’ve raised awareness for every single associate in the company regarding their impact on the driver experience – particularly as it relates to the value of time and driver treatment.

I introduced the initiative while sharing the stage with dozens of professional drivers at Schneider’s annual meeting in February (pictured), and I’ve shared monthly video updates about Driver Experience progress with all company associates. We’ve also set up an internal email inbox for all associates to share any ideas to improve the driver experience. All ideas are reviewed by a new Driver Experience Team.

The Driver Experience Team was established to identify strategic initiatives that will improve drivers’ work experience. The Team’s goal is to:

  1. Identify and prioritize actions — both short and long term — based on those that will have the highest positive impact on drivers.
  2. Identify department-wide actions and engage all leaders to create a better driver experience.
  3. Educate associates by explaining issues, communicating actions and sharing success stories.

We’ve conducted driver focus groups and surveys as a way to get direct driver feedback to inform our decisions, and the four remaining parts in this blog series will outline in great detail some of the progress we’ve made.

Driver Appreciation Week 2018 – Engaging with our driver family

Chris Lofgren serves food to truck drivers at Schneider's Driver Appreciation Week event.

While driver appreciation can never be reduced to one week – and will not be reduced to one week at Schneider – National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2018 (Sept. 9-15) offers a unique opportunity to thank our drivers.

Here are a few of the ways we’re expressing appreciation to drivers this week:

  • Senior leaders visiting drivers on-site – This is one of my favorite weeks of the year as our executive team and other company leaders shake our drivers’ hands and thank them in person.
  • Meals at all major locations – We help serve lunches, dinners and/or boxed meals to drivers, depending on the location (pictured: CEO Chris Lofgren last year).
  • A fun give-away for our drivers – Our current drivers are encouraged to stop by a company facility to pick up a special item as a thank you.

I look forward to meeting with drivers this week, and sharing more with you in the coming weeks through this blog about our Driver Experience initiative.

Are you looking to improve your driver experience?

I invite you to consider searching available jobs near you and applying.

About the author
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Schneider Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Rourke has been with Schneider since 1987. He has held a variety of leadership roles during his tenure, including vice president of customer service, director of driver training, general manager of Schneider Transportation Management and president of Truckload Services. In his current role, he is accountable for the day-to-day operations at Schneider. Rourke received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Akron.

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