How to Get Your Truck Drivers to Actually Use Your Wellness Program

wellnessTruck drivers have unique health concerns. An NIOSH survey found that 50% are smokers and 70% are obese. They’re prone to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney failure, back problems, and motor vehicle accidents related to fatigue and stress. These problems can lead to a loss of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate and their CDLs.

You want your staff to be healthy, comfortable, satisfied with their jobs, and working regularly, so you’ve implemented a company wellness program. The problem is… Your drivers aren’t using it.

That’s not unusual. 60% of employees don’t use wellness programs because they aren’t aware of it or the company culture doesn’t truly support the program. (Most drivers who use wellness programs are women.)

So how do you get your fleet of drivers to take advantage of your wellness program?

Step 1: Gather input from your drivers

Wellness programs with the best performance and highest adoption rates are ones that meet your employee’s needs. If none of your drivers smoke, a quit-smoking incentive won’t be very effective.

Talk to your drivers and ask what type of program would make their lives better. It could be challenging to query your entire crew if you don’t see them often, but it’s worth the effort.

Step 2: Reward drivers for healthy behavior

A proper wellness program addresses a few key areas of people’s health:

  • Diet – Your program should not only instruct your drivers how to choose healthy foods, but help them acquire those foods when they are on the road. It’s not easy to eat well when your options are limited.
  • Stress – Deadlines and traffic cause stress, which can affect the body. Educate your drivers on methods to relax, such as meditation and exercise.
  • Exercise – Build your drivers’ schedules so that they have time to get some simple exercise.
  • Avoiding bad behaviors – Risky behaviors like drug use and smoking have terrible effects on our health and ability to work. 54% of truckers are smokers, so this is an important area to address.
  • Hygiene – On the road, there aren’t many places to stop for proper body care. Coordinate your drivers’ routes so they have chances to stop at facilities with the right amenities.
  • Sleep – Chronic sleep deprivation affects your drivers’ ability to work, as well as their safety. Your wellness program should reward drivers for taking adequate sleep stops.

Many programs educate their staff about these health concerns, but they fail to go far enough. You need to actively incentive your employees to take part. Award bonuses for achieving health goals like losing weight or visiting the doctor.

If your drivers have any unique needs that learned from step one, make sure to include them in your program as well.

Step 3: Get executives and managers to participate in the program

Instead of paying lip-service to the program, managers and leaders within the organization should participate as well. If your wellness program encouraged weight loss, follow the plans advice to take off a few pounds yourself so your employees can see the benefits of the program and that you’ve implemented practical solutions.

Step 4: Create a communication strategy

Your drivers can’t make use of your program if they don’t know about it, but traditional methods of communication can be tough for on-the-road people you rarely see.

Make use of text messaging and radio messaging (via CB radios, not FM/AM channels). Create a company Facebook page or group. Stuff messaging into their check envelopes. If you have access to their vehicles, leave information on the seat so they can’t miss it.

Furthermore, enlist “cheerleaders” who actively encourages other employees to sign up for your wellness plan. Choose cheerleaders who work in various departments and levels in your company. They should approach other employees like them in terms of position and pay scale, so that everyone is recruited by a peer (people feel more comfortable with the program when they enroll with others like them). You might need to incentive these persons with commissions.

Finally, never give up

Don’t expect to achieve your program adoption number in the first week. Your employees need time to become aware of the program and commit to using it. Be positive, sell the benefits, and always be available for wellness counseling and enrollment.

Jill Goulet
Risk Management Consultant
jgoulet@srfm.com

Jill Goulet

Trucking companies (or companies that just use trucks): Make the most of your industry associations

trucking associationStrength in numbers. The power of a team. A built-in support system.

No matter the size of your fleet, if you use trucks in any capacity, joining an industry association is a smart idea for your business. From big rig haulers to landscapers with a couple of light duty box trucks, the trucking industry has particular needs and a host of problems to solve, not to mention regulatory and legislative battles to fight.

Yes, you can go it alone, but why suffer through it solo when associations like the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut (MTAC) can help you “make things happen”?

Founded in 1920, MTAC is a fantastic, effective group that provides a host of services for its member businesses. Part of the American Trucking Associations (a federation of associations), its mission is to protect and promote the interests of the Connecticut trucking industry: In other words, your interests.

Obviously, the first step to success here is to join an organization like MTAC, but to really maximize your membership, you need to tap into the resources it provides. Consider being proactive in these five areas where an association can really benefit your business.

Education — Industry associations make it their business to know what you need to know to operate your business effectively. They can be founts of knowledge, with best practices information about issues such alcohol and drug testing, weight laws, driver qualifications, and vehicle maintenance, to name a few.

Driver Training — A best-in-class fleet has best-in-class drivers who are up-to-date on safety protocols and a wide variety of specialty areas, such as keeping cargo secure and knowing the ins and outs of braking systems. Industry associations offer the kind of training your drivers need to stay safe and productive.

Networking — Getting out of the office (and the truck!) and getting into seminars and gatherings is a great way to follow industry trends, find business partners and customers, and bounce ideas and concerns around with others who understand the industry. Trucking associations provide a full calendar of seminars, meetings, and other events that will help you make these important connections.

Lobbying — One of the most important services a trucking association will provide is lobbying on behalf of its members at the state and federal level. Though you don’t necessarily need to be climbing the Capitol’s steps, you do need to make sure your association understands your concerns. After all, they are there to represent you. Make sure your representatives know what’s on your mind!

Problem Solve — Industry associations exist to help your business thrive. They can help you work through thorny problems and they can help with things like supplying log books, driver qualification files, vehicle maintenance records and other compliance documentation.

Join your association, but don’t neglect it! Make sure you make the most of it.

P.S. Many of these offerings will help your business in one key area: keeping your worker’s compensation costs as low as possible. For more information, check out my recent [link] white paper, “How to avoid worker’s compensation claims in the trucking industry.”

Joe Pinto
Risk Management Consultant
jpinto@srfm.com

Joe Pinto

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-Term Care Insurance: Not Just for the Elderly

Long-Term Care Insurance: Not Just for the ElderlyLong-Term Care Insurance: Not Just for the Elderly

Long-term care insurance is typically thought of as an insurance resource typically reserved for the elderly.

According to Benefit News, the American Association for Long Term Care (AALTCI) is challenging that idea. The numbers understandable skew towards the elderly. However, many younger adults are taking advantage of long-term care benefits.

The AALTCI argues that certain conditions that require long term are aren’t necessarily always associated with aging.

“People often mistakenly associate long-term care solely with nursing home care required by the elderly,” says Jesse Slome, AALTCI’s director. “After purchasing insurance coverage, younger individuals have accidents and are diagnosed with health conditions that result in the need for care for months and often years.”

In the AALTCI’s review of data from leading long-term care insurance companies, the youngest person to obtain coverage was age 28. A number of additional insurers reported younger claimants in their 30’s.

Long term care insurance is designed to protect your savings in the event that you can no longer earn an income. Most of the time it affects the elderly. But there are hundreds of different scenarios that could affect your income and quality of living. You may have heard of a friend’s husband who became ill and had to dip into their savings for long-term care.

Many are not prepared to handle the expenses that are incurred if a family member suddenly needs long term car. Many have to tap into their savings, and it can affect your quality of living, and your family’s financial situation.

Taking action now can protect you against the future by protecting yourself and your family. Contact Sinclair today for more information about Long Term Care insurance.

Recruitment & Retention: What Do Employees Want?

Recruitment & Retention: What Do Employees Want?Recruitment & Retention: What Do Employees Want?

When recruiting employees for your company, it is not enough to find and hire the best. In fact, it is after they sign on the dotted line that the real work begins- developing and retaining quality employees who can contribute to your company. This post is brought to you by Sinclair Recruitment Consulting Services

High turnover can rack up training costs and hurt business growth. Just as a candidate presents their best skills and qualifications in the job interview, it is the company’s responsibility to provide a job and work environment that will keep them there. Below is a summarized list of what employees want most from their job, according to Inc. magazine. Hint- it’s not only about the money.

Defining their role. Employees want a sense of purpose and distinct goals that they can pursue. It comes down to a basic psychological need- humans want to feel appreciated. If they clearly know their role in the company, feel like they are making a contribution and their ideas are being heard, they will be much more motivated. And that motivation will show in the quality of their work.

Autonomy & flexibility. Micro-managing indicates that an employee isn’t trusted, and that they need constant supervision. No one likes that feeling, and it puts unnecessary pressure on the employee. Giving your employees the freedom over how they work can make them more productive. They want to come in early on Wednesdays so they can make their kid’s soccer game? Let them. They will be happier employees overall. And, as a business owner, it will help you recruit and maintain top talent.

Compensation. Obviously, salary and bonuses are enticing for a company. But other factors can have huge pull. A comprehensive benefits package, wellness plan, or an extra week of PTO can be enticing factors for employees. Wellness programs can also be a draw.

Identifying and recruiting quality employees is no easy task. Retaining them is even tougher. Creating an environment they want to be in will boost loyalty and retention. Sinclair Risk & Financial Management provides companies with recruitment consulting services to effectively and economically identify, screen, and acquire executives and staff. We understand that an effective Employees Benefits program is key in hiring and keeping top talent- we’ll help you strike the right balance in offering an attractive plan that is flexible with your organization’s financial ability. Contact us today for more information about our recruitment consulting services.