It’s not common to see companies willing to publicly share specific details as to what they’re doing to be successful. Typically, that information is held close to the vest. After all, that’s why Non-Disclosure Agreements were created–to prevent ‘insider’ information from spreading and losing competitive advantage. But the trucking industry plays by a different set of rules when it comes to sharing best practices, particularly when it comes to how companies are creating industry-best workplaces for drivers through the Best Fleets to Drive For program.
Each year, the Best Fleets program, co-produced by CarriersEdge and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) sets out to identify the top for-hire carriers operating across North America with the best workplace culture and programs for drivers. Fleets are nominated for the award by their drivers, with the Top 20 award winners recognized at the annual TCA Convention.
To determine the Best Fleets Top 20 list, overall winners for the small and large carrier category, Hall of Fame inductees and Fleets to Watch, program evaluation includes a management questionnaire and interview followed by the completion of driver surveys.
What’s different about this award compared to most industry awards is that the Best Fleets program publishes a results booklet that highlights exactly how each Top 20 fleet scored. It’s essentially a roadmap for the industry that shows how these top companies approach key driver-related topics including, compensation, benefits, work/life balance, career growth opportunities, safety, HR, and more.
The insights shared each year are intended to help carriers learn how to become more driver-centric and push the needle forward when it comes to bettering workplaces for drivers in the industry. It’s why key program sponsors–EpicVue, TruckRight, and Eleos partnered with the program to help recognize the best places for drivers to work.
“As a former driver and owner-operator, I would have loved to have known who the best fleets for drivers to work for are,” said Dirk Kupar, co-founder and CEO of TruckRight. “Drivers have very different work challenges and life needs compared to someone working in the office. Because of that, companies need to know their drivers on a personal level and understand their needs. The carriers in the Best Fleets program are definitely the best at creating a culture that does right by the driver. It’s why we wanted to get involved.”
As a cloud-based software for recruitment, applicant tracking and automated compliance management provider for the transportation industry, TruckRight works with companies seeking to simplify HR and other business-related tasks. According to Kupar, it’s not uncommon for the company to be asked for advice on what else they can be doing to foster better relationships with its drivers.
“Every fleet has their own unique way of doing business and problems they’re faced with,” Kupar said. “As a baseline guide, I encourage fleets to look through the Best Fleets results booklet to learn about what other fleets are doing to address driver-focused programs. It’s a great resource.”
Since the Best Fleets program’s inception in 2008, what was viewed as major driver policy changes by some fleets then, like guaranteed pay, is now standard practice among many carriers. According to Kyle Hales, EpicVue partner and vice president of sales, the trucking industry’s willingness to continuously evolve to improve the livelihood of drivers is something special he has seen through the program.
“Trucking companies face a number of unique challenges that companies in other industries simply don’t have to worry about, and because of that, I feel trucking companies are more inclined to help each other out for the good of the industry,” Hales said. “The Best Fleets program helps facilitate this by sharing useful program information which can help other fleets improve their own operation.”
EpicVue, a provider of premium in-cab satellite TV through its partnership with DirectTV, was the Best Fleets program’s first sponsor. According to Hales, EpicVue’s alignment with the program is in sync with its business model and the values of its customers.
“The product and service offerings we provide fleets aren’t necessary for a driver to do their job, rather they’re to improve the in-cab experience for the driver when they’re done driving and looking to decompress after a long day on the road,” Hales said. “We work with many driver-focused fleets that want to create a better ‘home away from home’ environment and culture for its drivers. For us, it made sense to partner with a program that highlights the best practices in the industry for drivers and an advocate for companies to do more for drivers. Drivers are the face of the industry.”
In 2022, the Best Fleets program received more than 200 fleet nominations from drivers – a new record – and expanded by adding a Hall of Fame category to recognize fleets that have been named in the Top 20 for 10 consecutive years or 7 years with at least one overall award. The program also brought on a new sponsor–Eleos, a provider of SaaS driver workflow solutions–for support.
“From attending the TCA conventions and watching the Best Fleets presentations, learning what the program is all about, and seeing some of our customers being recognized on stage, we decided we should get involved,” said Wes Pollock, Eleos vice president of sales and strategic partnership. “Our services are intended to help drivers communicate with back-office staff and simplify daily driver tasks. It seemed like a natural fit to support a program that promotes best practices and work culture for drivers.”
According to Pollock, the atmosphere at the Best Fleets award ceremony is special. “You can tell how genuinely proud each company representative is to be there and to be nominated by their drivers and recognized as one of the best places drivers want to work,” said Pollock. Even the companies that have been honored several times in the past continue to find new opportunities to improve their culture in all areas of business for drivers. It’s a lot of hard work to become a Best Fleet, but it’s worth it.”