Happy hub group champions
Seeking to Improve the Safety Culture
In late 2015, the freight management company, Hub Group Trucking, sought change. The company, which includes more than 2,500 employees nationwide, consistently aims to improve the quality of life of their employees. However, the company’s leaders recognized that Hub’s safety education was falling short.
They believed there must be a better way to address injury rates, related insurance costs and productivity losses, so drivers return home in the same condition in which they arrived to work. It was time to emphasize a culture of safety.
Two of Hub Group’s leaders, Luke A. Simendinger, Regional Vice President, and Ariel Orozco, Regional Operations Director, proposed a solution: Worklete, a company that fights injuries in the workplace by teaching the principles of optimal human movement mechanics.
A New Approach to Safety Training
Simendinger and Orozco had been impressed by the program, because the trucking and freight industry generally lacks sufficient safety education outside of driving. “Everything has always been about the truck,” says Orozco. “Drivers are taught to be safe and not hit anything. He was pleasantly surprised to learn how Worklete’s products and programs addressed more than just safety training. “This program doesn’t just teach you how not to get hurt,” he explains. “It teaches you how to place your body in a position that helps you get stronger while you work.
“It makes workers more aware of their bodies and movements - which makes them less likely to get hurt.”
Worklete’s programs emphasize learning the basics of proper human movement, and how to apply these principles to work-related tasks with greater safety and ease. This human movement training was developed after years of working with skilled athletes, leaders in physical therapy, sports medicine, as well as 1,000’s of individuals in physically demanding jobs, explains Worklete CEO, Benjamin Kanner. “The core concepts are then applied to meet the unique
demands of the company,” he says.
At Hub Group—which counts massive retailers like Amazon, Macy’s and Walmart in its robust client portfolio—the drivers apply the core concepts they have learned to job-specific functions, like opening and closing bay doors, unhooking trailers and raising and lowering landing gear - without damaging their bodies. “This is unheard of in our industry,” explains Orozco.
“Worklete has the ability to make the product fit the company, instead of trying to make the company fit the product. There aren’t many programs that are flexible in that way.”
Stronger, Happier Employees
During the 6 month Worklete pilot, zero injuries were reported, compared with sixteen injuries reported at the same terminals in the same time frame during the previous year.
Ryan Kotaka, manager at the Stockton, California terminal—one of the pilot program locations—is impressed with what he has seen. “It’s been really good. So far, we haven’t had any minor or major injuries,” he says. Kotaka adds that a significant percentage of his drivers report feeling better physically and that the work demands even feel less dicult to complete. He thinks that this is largely because Worklete has inspired the drivers to become more aware of how they move throughout the day. There’s also been a significant uptick in morale.
“The drivers are very appreciative,” says the Stockton manager. “They seem to be more loyal to us because they see that we do care about them and that we’re thinking of them long-term both on the job and in their personal lives. The culture here has definitely improved.”
Orozco explains, “It’s all about what we can do to retain employees. We care about giving them a good job. We also care about their quality of life while working here. Worklete shows we care. It’s an expense that pays back, 10, 20, 30, 100-fold.” He says that, as a manager responsible for hundreds of employees, Worklete has provided him with greater peace of mind. “I am very comfortable that these drivers can complete any task we throw at them—we’ve given them the education, abilities and tools to do it right and safe every single time. There are many organizations out there that can’t say that. But we can.”