Driver Retention is the Sixth Biggest Concern for the Trucking Industry

Turnover can cost a company $5,000 per driver. Learn how to keep your good drivers from leaving.

If driver shortage is the #3 concern on the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) survey of trucking executives, it logically follows that driver retention would also be a major issue. And that’s even more so with the added burden of the new HOS rules.

If you’ve managed to find and hire those good drivers, how do you keep them, especially in an industry where turnover is so high? An American Trucking Association (ATA) report issued in December estimated that turnover can cost a company $5,000 per driver. Multiply your current driver pool by $5,000 and you can see what this could cost you and why it’s so important to keep your good drivers. What keeps drivers from leaving?

Although no one can downplay the importance of good pay, when you look at the best companies to work for in all industries in the U.S., those companies that have extremely low turnover, money is often not the deciding factor. More often, it’s a combination of things that lead to a satisfying (or unsatisfying) work environment, including pay, benefits, work/life balance, open communications, professional development, and more. In May of last year, published an article detailing nine ways companies can find and keep their drivers. Eight of these ideas specifically deal with retention.

Pay smarter – If you can’t afford across-the-board increases, tie bonuses and increases to better fuel mileage, on-time delivery, good inspection results, minimal hard-braking incidents, and more. Some companies offer a minimum guaranteed number of miles/week.
Get driver input – Everybody wants respect and everybody would like to be listened to. Smart companies with low turnover will get drivers’ input before they make major changes to the business. If drivers feel their ideas and thoughts have value to the company, they feel appreciated and more inclined to stay.
Be honest – This is something that needs to happen upfront, during the hiring phase. Truck drivers have a tough job…long hours of sitting in traffic, extended time away from home, increasing fuel prices, vehicle inspections. Don’t overpromise or underplay. Let your drivers know exactly what to expect. And if you use recruiters, make sure they tell prospects the details.
Start off right – First impressions matter, so when your drivers start, make sure you do more than explain policies, rules and regulations to them. Arrange for face-to-face meetings with as many people that the drivers will have contact with as possible. Some companies have mentors who help out new drivers with any paperwork or policy issues.
Encourage healthy lifestyles – Last year, we posted a blog that detailed the many health issues experienced by truck drivers. Employers know that unhealthy workers are less productive and end up costing the company in time and money. Some companies have on-site gyms and fitness trainers. If your fleet doesn’t have that kind of budget, there are still important things you can do to keep your drivers healthy and happy. Initiate healthy eating and weight-loss programs; offer health screenings; negotiate with a local health club for discounted memberships for workers.
Make home a destination – One of the toughest things drivers have to deal with is the extended time they spend away from their families. Fleets with low turnover rates try to get their drivers home as frequently as possible. This can be costly, but not as costly as constant turnover and the loss of good, dependable drivers.
Don’t let issues fester – When a driver has a work-related problem, regardless of what it is, try to resolve it promptly. At the very least, if you can’t resolve it quickly, at least start the process. Make clear to your drivers that they can communicate these problems without fear of retaliation. Unresolved issues can often lead to resentment and that can lead to a driver finding another job.
Choose the programs that work for your business – Sometimes companies feel they need to do it all…all at once. But a program that works for one company won’t necessarily work for another. Consider your company’s culture and choose one to three programs to start. You may have to try a number of programs over time before you find the ones that are most effective. The most important thing is that you start.

To learn more about this important issue, read the full article.

Also, please find the original post on the AmeriQuest Blog Website.