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Bison Shares Trucking Success Recipe

Posted: August 1, 2014

WINNIPEG— Last week, Bison Transport was ranked one of the top-10 most admired companies for their corporate culture in the mid-market company. They are the first-ever trucking company to make the list of most admired companies from the Waterstone Human Capital.

But that’s not the only award they recently received. Bison, which ranks ninth in Today’s Trucking top-100 carriers, is probably running out of shelf-space to place its awards: multiple Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) National Fleet Safety Awards, Transport Canada’s Green Supply Chain award and First Place in National Fleet Safety Awards in 2012, just to name a few off the top of our head.

So what makes them so special?

Today’s Trucking spoke with Linda Young, the vice president of people development at Bison Transport.

Here’s what she had to say:

What’s it like working at Bison?

I come from various industries and transportation has been my last stop and my best stop. I think it’s a well-kept secret that there are tremendous career opportunities in transportation.

At Bison, we’re very performance driven. There are the normal stresses of deadlines and getting freight delivered on time, but there’s also a family atmosphere. We all know each other, we have a great team and we’re all working towards the same thing, so we support each other though those pressures.

It really starts with Bison’s founding family, the Jessimans, who instilled some great philosophies and practices when they were actively managing— right now there’s an executive team that’s managing— but we take our core values from the Jessimans.  

What’s the management like?

As you advance through the ranks, most of our presidents and vice presidents have done the job that they now oversee in their portfolios. So, there’s a good understanding of what the pressures are and what steps should be taken in a difficult situation. 

Why did the folks at Bison apply for the award?

It wasn’t for the award itself— we did it more to see if there are opportunities for us to do things better and different and to reinforce that there are some good things and to keep those going.

What was Bison evaluated on?

Vision. Leadership. Recruiting and hiring, so what are your practices, how do you bring people to fit your culture, how do you continue to feed that culture with new resources, how do you measure it. They also look at retention, rewards, recognition— how you handle that social responsibility is important and also, organizational performance.

What do you do about driver and employee retention?

We have a very low turnover rate; for our driving workforce it’s 15.89 percent and by Canadian standards and definitely by U.S. standards, that’s exceptionally low.

We have a very active, effective referral-program. We think the best ambassadors for our business are those who are currently working here. We have a 42-percent referral rate among drivers because they know best who will fit into our culture. 

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