The Kenan Advantage Group (KAG) is North America’s largest tank truck transporter and logistics provider, delivering fuel, chemicals, merchant gases and liquid food products. KAG has more than 7,000 power units and serves hundreds of markets.
KAG’s challenge is to find, attract, hire and retain safe, professional drivers. On the one hand, while KAG’s turnover rates are better than industry averages, there is room for improvement. Primarily, because it is extremely expensive to replace a driver. The cost to provide up-front training for tankers, and in particular fuel haulers, exceeds $10,000.
Knowing that employees often “quit their boss” rather than their company, KAG engaged Avatar to develop a comprehensive front-line leadership curriculum. By using a blended approach to adult learning, Avatar created 16 discrete units of study, delivered on a monthly basis and supported by personalized, on-the-job, structured skills-building exercises. Units covered both soft and hard skills:
- The Driver Problem
- Adult Learning
- Communication Techniques
- Creating a Fair Work Environment
- Coaching the Adult Learner
- Leadership Techniques
- Time Management
- Operational Efficiency
- Understanding Human Behavior
- Communication Principles
- Building Trust
- Conflict Resolution
- Leadership Principles
- Becoming the Employer of Choice
- Problem Solving
- Building a Driver-Centric Culture
To further support this change initiative, Avatar hosts The KAG Connection, a web-based employee portal that has all of the policies, procedures, processes and access to advice. Every Monday, the KAG president appears on video to deliver an inspirational message to KAG leaders.
In 2017, dispatchers and managers will attend quarterly skills building workshops to further develop their leadership skills.
The results have been mixed. While senior leaders at KAG are pleased with the professional quality of the instructional designs, the subject matter, the on-going delivery and change management support, the actual impact has been difficult to measure. Several outside dynamics may be at play, therefore affecting driver retention. Thus, results have remained static. More evaluation is needed, though, as it is likely that the turnover would have worsened without this initiative.