You might think driver recruitment and retention revolves only around perceived motivators like base and bonus pay, the amount of scheduled time spent away from home, and fringe benefits like comprehensive healthcare and 401(k) plans.
We are in 100 percent agreement that the above items are excellent motivators. But, we’d like to add one more critical piece that shouldn’t be forgotten in the motivation equation: Communication. Positive communication between drivers and their employers is paramount to attracting and retaining the best qualified drivers. Great communication isn’t just a one-off phenomenon. It starts with the hiring and training process and is prevalent throughout the driver’s whole career with the carrier.
Great Communication: Basic Truck Driver Training Programs
Clearly communicating expectations, regulations, and codes of conduct with drivers begins at basic training. Some carriers use the “Skill Standards for Professional Solo Tractor-Trailer Drivers” handbook, which is issued by the Professional Truck Driver Institute in Alexandria (PTDI), Virginia. This 55-page manual can serve as a detailed overview for creating a comprehensive program designed to train drivers on all the different facets of their job. This handbook covers everything from performing inspections before heading out on the road to thriving in their lives while on the road.
The basic purpose of any training manual is to let drivers know exactly what is required and expected of them. Some carriers may think their drivers don’t require this level of detail to do their job. We disagree. Communicating expectations and performance criteria and being open and honest with your drivers can motivate them to work more effectively and amiably with employers throughout their careers.
Ongoing Training And Driver Engagement
It’s important for drivers to receive ongoing training and skill development throughout their careers to stay engaged with their job and their employer. Some examples of this include getting industry certifications or taking part in professional development courses in remedial and driving-skill training in specific areas where the driver may need additional assistance. Carriers who support a driver’s continuous development demonstrates to that driver that their role and place in the company is valued.
Aligning The Goals Of Drivers And Carriers
Communication is critical when training and providing ongoing professional development for new hires and veteran truckers alike. Why should carriers take the time to share with their staff how to operate safely, effectively, and profitably within the operating parameters of their fleet? The answer is simple: Driver manuals, basic training, and ongoing professional development that explicitly communicates to drivers how they can go about their work at minimal personal risk and with optimum financial gain will not only help recruit great drivers, it will also help retain them.