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Discipline, reward, retention: The grind with Jason Douglass – Taking the Hire Road

Jason Douglass is passionate about driver wellness

Jason Douglass, director of retention and recruiting at Utah-based Stokes Trucking, joined Jeremy Reymer on a recent episode of Taking the Hire Road. The pair discussed making retention a priority, the importance of fitness and how video content can build trust with drivers.

Douglass is dedicated to being the best version of himself he can be, and that same drive fuels his desire to create a work environment that helps drivers excel. One of the biggest ways Douglass does that is by getting personal.

“Empathy is such a big part of recruiting and retention,” Douglass said. “If you don’t have that … you’re going to struggle. I’m not in the recruiting business, I’m in the people business.”

Being empathetic toward drivers means meeting them where they are. With the ongoing driver health crisis — and the fact that truck drivers have an average life expectancy well over a decade lower than the average American — Douglass is passionate about creating pathways for drivers to be healthier, both emotionally and physically.

One way Douglass has achieved this is by implementing an Employee Assistance Program at Stokes. The program enables drivers to quickly access counselors and other mental health professionals, making it possible for them to get help wherever they may be.

Douglass and his teammates at Stokes have also worked to create a doable wellness program for truck drivers. The program incentivizes drivers to make healthy choices — including cooking healthy meals, exercising and meditating — by offering them a $300 monthly health savings account deposit in response to their efforts.

This level of care fuels retention at Stokes. Drivers know the company is invested in them personally, and they choose to return that investment. Stokes boasts a 14% turnover rate, leaps and bounds lower than industry averages that have, at times, surpassed 100%.

Douglass draws inspiration from his own wellness journey when working with drivers, allowing him to connect with them on a genuine level.

“My ‘why’ is to be a better me. In return, I’m a better husband, a better father, a better employee,” Douglass said. “I want to live longer and be healthy. I want to help people in the industry live longer and be healthy.”

In addition to promoting increased wellness across the industry, Douglass has focused on creating social media content — especially videos — that resonate with both new customers and potential drivers.

The videos, which cover a host of topics, allow viewers to get to know Douglass — and Stokes — through the screen before reaching out, leading to more productive conversations and new connections. 

Click here to learn more about Stokes Trucking

Other highlights from this episode of Taking the Hire Road

Book recommendations: “No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline” by Brian Tracy

Sponsors: Career Now Brands, The National Transportation Institute, Infinit-I, Workhound, Asurint, Transportation Marketing Group, Seiza, Drive My Way, DriverReach, F|Staff, Trucksafe

Ashley Coker Prince

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She works with clients to develop sponsored content that tells a story. She worked as reporter and editor at FreightWaves before taking on her current role as Senior Content Marketing Writer. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.