Driver mentorship programs can make a huge difference in your organization. You’ll be able to teach appropriate and safe driving practices to new employees and increase retention of drivers who are dependable. A driver mentorship program will show both new and current drivers that you are willing to invest in them and that they are appreciated.
Driver Mentorship Programs
A mentor is an experienced employee that works with a new employee (mentee) in order to facilitate professional growth. The mentor can share his/her own discoveries, skills, and techniques to help the mentee get acquainted with the organization and industry. Here are a few things to remember when starting or altering driver mentorship programs.
A Mentor is not a Manager
Some workers and managers get along well and develop a personal relationship, but most of the time you try to keep it formal and professional. With a mentor, a new employee has the chance to develop a more relaxed relationship with a co-worker. A more personal relationship can take some of the pressure off the new employee and allow them to feel more comfortable asking questions.
Since a mentor is not a manager, they might need to encourage and convince the mentee that they know what they’re talking about. Since they don’t have any official authority, mentees might be more reluctant to listen. Also, not everyone would be good for the mentor role. The company should institute some type of process to determine good candidates.
When choosing someone for the mentor role, the organization should take several interpersonal skills into consideration. Many different candidates may be quite successful at what they do, but can they effectively convey what they have done to get there? Communication and the willingness to openly communicate are key, but a good mentor is also a good listener. As the mentor observes, they will have a natural tact to encourage, help out where needed, and take initiative.
Clarify Your Expectations
First, the organization should appoint an employee to oversee the mentorship program. This person should meet with managers, safety professionals, and HR staff to make sure that everyone is on the same page. The goals, objectives, and safety concerns should be well known across the board, and the designated leader should also meet with the mentors to relay this information. Mentors will then have someone specific to go to if they need to clarify anything.
It’s important for everyone to know the business goals and why exactly there is a mentorship program in place. The goals of the driver mentorship program should align with organizational goals and be part of the overall strategic plan. This way, no one is left wondering what he or she is working toward or what the goals are.
The person that oversees the driver mentorship program should also be monitoring the day-to-day interactions and outcomes. Making sure that the mentor and mentee are maintaining a positive relationship is important for the program to be successful. The company should also evaluate the program’s effect on the value and return on investment. Using employee surveys can give the company and leader a better idea of how the program is working toward the goals established in the beginning.
If you’re unsure what to include in a survey, remember that trucking is a people business. Relationships matter to truck drivers, and one way to build stronger and better working relationships is with your driver mentorship program. And most importantly, once the program is in place, you can assess if the driver feels respected, well-acquainted, and well-treated.
Benefits of Driver Mentorship Programs
Aside from decreased training costs, higher retention rates, and increased safety practices, mentorship programs have many other benefits for truckers and the company.
- Lower commercial insurance rates with more safe drivers
- Retain employees where there are more open positions than drivers
- Create a team environment
New Employee Benefits:
- Learn from an experienced employee at a lateral level
- Become familiar with the company’s expectations
- Practice safe driving techniques and good truck driving habits
Current Employee Benefits:
- The feeling of appreciation and respect from the company for their safe driving record
- The chance to develop management skills
- Recognition for achievements
If your organization recently started a mentoring program, share your experience. Leave a comment about what works best. Let us know how your program impacts your employee satisfaction.