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Giving Our Agents a Voice: Why We Launched A Steering Committee

Being an entrepreneur is exciting, challenging, exhilarating—and sometimes, it can be isolating, especially in those times when you need guidance, feedback or simply a sounding board. The good news? There’s a better way. Our network of freight agent entrepreneurs not only gives freight agents the freedom to grow their own businesses; it also connects them to a dynamic, vibrant group of professionals united by our collective partnership.

To encourage our freight agent network to prioritize communication and feedback—and ensure we’re offering the best career opportunity possible—we recently kicked off a new steering committee initiative. Our steering committee includes four agents: Bill Hagan, Ecuador; Paige McGregor, Kansas City; Lindy Knapp, Arizona; and Tom VanComprenolle, Tallgrass Freight University. They, along with our company leadership, meet quarterly to share and discuss ideas, feedback and opportunities for improvement. Then, our company leadership evaluates the discussion topics and commits to an action plan to make those suggestions happen.

Take, for example, the discussion around lock shipments that occurred at our November steering committee meeting. Being a part of Tallgrass Freight’s agent network means that we do the heavy lifting when it comes to managing an agent’s back office responsibilities, including invoicing. Yet once a delivery is complete and deemed satisfactory, it’s up to the agents to perform a simple task—locking the shipment—which signals that shipment is ready to be invoiced.

Sounds fairly straightforward, right? Yet thanks to feedback we received firsthand during the steering committee meeting, we discovered an opportunity to introduce a better solution for the locked shipments functionality, which would minimize delays in invoices and payments. That discovery prompted a discussion of ways that we, as a company, could improve the agent experience to encourage faster lock shipment completions.

And the outcome? We’re now actively working on an invoicing process that streamlines the accounting process for faster payments, something that will benefit both our company and our freight agent network.

The November steering committee included a discussion of several other topics, ranging from continuing education to the introduction of resources like a company intranet and message boards to planning the company’s holiday party (you know what they say about all work and no play, right?). Our leadership team has since met to discuss the steering committee topics and, where applicable, make a plan to implement the suggestions. It’s just one of the many ways we want to add even more value to our freight agent network, by sending a clear message to our agents that they’re valued, they’re respected and they’re an integral part of our company’s future growth and success. What better way to ensure we’re delivering the best service possible than by enlisting the help of our agents who are doing the work, across the globe, every day?

“Our freight agent network is a partnership,” says David Barnes, Chief Operating Officer and co-owner. “You’re not working for Tallgrass Freight. You’re working with us.”

Want to learn more about becoming part of our freight agent network? We’d love to hear from you. And stay tuned to the blog for additional steering committee recaps and other Tallgrass Freight and industry news, commentary and insight.