Road Captains Driving Peer-to-Peer Support and Mentoring for Proffessional Drivers
At Nussbaum, we desire to encourage peer-to-peer interactions and capitalize on the experience of drivers who have been in the industry and with the company for a while. To help do this, we started our Road Captain program.
Road Captains are skilled, professional drivers who are highly engaged with the company and want to share their experience and knowledge with other drivers. Many times, co-drivers can help a driver work through a situation much more effectively than someone who has not had a similar experience. Some of the characteristics of Nussbaum’s Road Captains are:
- Highly qualified drivers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience.
- Promote new hire mentoring.
- Encourage coaching and support within the fleet
- Support Nussbaum’s vision of the professional driver
Not just any driver can become a Road Captain, they are selected based on a number of different criteria. Seniority is important as these drivers must be familiar with Nussbaum customers and processes and have been with the company long enough to establish a history of professionalism and service. All Road Captains have seniority at Nussbaum of 1 year or more.
Additionally, Road Captains are screened by their managers for overall qualities that show they can work well with others. They must have a good report from the Shop, Safety, and Operations. They must exhibit character, integrity, and be trustworthy. And they must also have a positive attitude. All of these qualities define our Road Captains and position these drivers to provide quality mentoring and support.
Road Captains can add to conversations relating to the driver scorecard by giving real-life, anecdotal information that a Driver Manager may not otherwise have access to. Some of these areas could be in fuel purchasing, out-of-route miles, SmartDrive driving habits, trip planning, and many others.
Road Captains are also available to fellow drivers in the same capacity as they are with new hires to assist with questions regarding a customer location, working with the shop, or certain functions on the truck. They are encouraged to reach out to other drivers in the fleet to build relationships so they can be a trusted resource for fellow drivers to use. There can be times of frustration where something has been miscommunicated or possibly done incorrectly and having a trusted peer to confide in and possibly “go-to-bat” for you can be invaluable.
Each year, we hold two in-person “Summits” for our Road Captains along with monthly remote call sessions. These summits and calls provide opportunities for Road Captains to provide feedback on many topics as well as become refreshed on new things happening within the organization to share with other drivers. Their feedback is one way that we can better learn what works well, and what we can improve on to better equip our drivers to serve our customers.
On top of driving, Road Captains carry a lot of responsibilities:
- Mentoring new hires
- Coaching and supporting driver peers
- Strengthening the Nussbaum driver community and creating comradery whenever possible
We are continuously amazed by the efforts of the talented drivers who have become Road Captains here at Nussbaum and are excited to see our drivers thrive and grow as some of the best professional drivers in the industry.