Every past participant in the Best Fleets To Drive For® program will have a way of tackling the evaluation process. Now in our 15th year, we've seen many different approaches to answering the questionnaire, who attends the interview and how the driver survey is handled. If you're new to the program or looking to do things differently, here are some techniques past winners have used.Timing
The first big piece every participating company needs to complete is the questionnaire. Think of the questionnaire as a large project in high school - it's never too early to start! If you've never seen the questionnaire before, we strongly encourage you to look at it as soon as you're nominated. The questionnaire covers many topics, including safety, planning, benefits, routing, maintenance, onboarding, and exits, to name a few. Reviewing the questionnaire early will allow you to consider who in your company has the information or how you can get it.
If you are unsure what some of the questions mean or what to include in your answers, the annual results book is a great way to get started. It looks at how the Top Fleets measure up in categories like compensation, human resource strategy, work/life balance and more. It's available on our website at https://www.bestfleetstodrivefor.com/results.
The easy questions account for about 6% of the questionnaire, covering business basics such as head office location, number of terminals, if the company is privately owned, etc. That means 94% will require some expert input, and that takes time. Starting early is essential to ensure you can provide a complete and accurate description of what your company is doing and how it works for your drivers.Tackling the Questionnaire
We've seen two approaches that seem to work well for gathering everything. In one approach, one person is assigned to gather the details from the people who will know. In this case, that one person connects with all the necessary departments (health, safety, accounting, HR, maintenance, training, etc.) and writes all the answers. This approach can work well if one person is very knowledgeable about most company activities and reaches out to clarify details they aren't as familiar with.
In the other approach, a lead person divides the questionnaire into sections and distributes it to the departments that need to be involved, or multiple departments receive access to the questionnaire. Each department in this scenario will answer the questions related to them. They may all meet to discuss answers and provide status updates.
By starting early, you can also map out when you want to have your interview, working backwards to ensure the questionnaire is completed in time.The Interview
We strongly suggest booking your interview as soon as your interviewer contacts you in early November. By booking early, you will get a date and time during the interview period that suits your team. This will also determine the timeline for completing your questionnaire, as they are due a minimum of 24 hours before the interview.
We will contact you by phone or online meeting, at a time of your choosing, to discuss your questionnaire and seek additional information and clarifications. It is essential that whoever does the interview is knowledgeable and able to answer questions, such as an executive, HR person, safety manager or the person who completed the questionnaire.
Lastly, we suggest not booking in the last week of interviews. We try to hold this for anyone who needs to reschedule, as things can come up, and you want to have the most knowledgeable people attend the interview.Driver Surveys
The closing date for driver surveys is December 31. To avoid getting this far, then being disqualified because not enough drivers completed the survey, we suggest a proactive approach to communications. Let your drivers know now that you have been nominated to be a Best Fleet To Drive For®. Tell them you will work to earn that title, but their help is essential. When drivers are informed of what is expected of them (to complete a 15-20-minute survey of corporate programs and how it affects them), they're far more likely to want to be involved.
Some fleets have champions at each terminal, asking every driver if they have completed the survey and have it pre-loaded onto the terminal computers. Some have posters in break rooms. Some companies call each driver and ask them to do it. And some do a combination of all these methods and more.
Whatever methods you choose, if you give your drivers lots of time and opportunities to complete the survey, let them know why you want their input, and keep them updated on how many have completed it, you're far more likely to achieve the numbers you need.The Bottom Line
Every nominated fleet has an equal chance to make it into the Top 20 Best Fleets To Drive For®. Most of those earning this honor start the process early, involve multiple departments, and proactively communicate.
For more tips and information about the process, view our Best Fleets podcasts at https://www.bestfleetstodrivefor.com/media.
For best practices from last year's program, visit https://www.bestfleetstodrivefor.com/.
Follow the contest on social media by searching the hashtag #BestFleets23. To view the program's Facebook page, visit https://www.facebook.com/BestFleetsToDriveFor.