Six Ways to Support Your School Bus Drivers
published on June 07, 2019 by Sonia Mastros
Do your bus drivers feel well-supported by management and other employees of your school district? With the school bus driver shortage still causing problems, this is an important question! A district needs to maintain awareness of their drivers' morale. Otherwise, they could be easily poached by other districts, or decide to move into other areas of commercial driving work.
Here are a few ways your district can support your bus drivers and ensure their morale remains high.
Six Tips for Encouraging Your School Bus Drivers to Feel Supported
1. "Give'Em the Pickle"
The "pickle principle" in business management is derived from fast food management, and basically says, "Don't get into needless costly fights with customers or workers." If a bus driver, or all the drivers, have a minor request which won't be too much hassle to implement, let them have it. Maintaining morale is more important than power plays or overly strict adherence to rules.
2. Offer Additional Employment Opportunities
One big issue with school bus driving is the hours. They're short, and they vanish entirely during summer and winter breaks. This can lead to drivers looking for other jobs. Find other opportunities in your district for your drivers to make money, and help lock them in.
3. Be Willing to Take Their Side in Disputes With Parents
Few things are more demoralizing for bus drivers than seeing the district constantly side with parents and overrule their decisions - particularly where disciplinary issues are concerned. Ideally you should have video cameras in your bus, or something similar, which can be used to sort out "he said/she said" situations with objective evidence.
4. Offer Benefits
Want to make your bus drivers love you? Offer them the same benefits package that other district employees can get. This will go a long way towards ensuring they remain happy hard-working drivers.
5. Include Them in District Events
Even if your bus drivers are outsourced, don't treat them like "second class citizens." If you're holding faculty dinners, awards ceremonies, end-of-semester celebrations, or similar events, make sure the school bus drivers are invited and feel like equal participants.
6. Listen to Their Comments, Suggestions, and Complaints
Your bus drivers will have valid insights into your transportation operation, particularly on matters where rubber meets road. Be sure you have open lines of communication for them to report issues, and take those reports as seriously as you would suggestions from any other district worker.
School districts across America are struggling to hold onto their drivers. How are you supporting yours? Let's discuss it in the comments below!