Driving trucks is so much more than just a job or a career. It's a lifestyle -- and, it’s not always an easy one. The average truck driver often works into the wee hours of the night, spending the majority of their days in cramped quarters. Not to mention the fact that they also brave aggressive drivers in high traffic areas while safely maneuvering massive rigs in and out of metropolitan districts. And, yet people still wonder why truck driver turnover is so high.
Carriers facing the ever-growing problem of driver shortage are now turning to smart -- and simple -- recruiting and retention strategies that not only encourage talented drivers to sign up, but to also STAY. Carriers are starting to recognize that one of their ongoing priorities is to make the workplace environment (both on and off the road) so exceptional that their drivers stick around for the long haul.
More Than Just Money
Everyone enjoys being paid more, BUT it’s about more than just that. Carriers now realize that making an investment in its driver fleets demonstrates both respect and appreciation for its people. This change in perspective can go a long way especially when it comes to attracting and retaining drivers.
Let’s look at a few simple driver retention strategies that may help you keep your best people without hurting your bottom line.
Expand Your Incentive Programs
Most companies offer some type of monetary reward for passing cleanliness inspections, staying compliant with logs, conserving fuel, ensuring no accidents, and the like. You can also consider offering gift cards for grocery stores and even restaurants. Want to go a little further and separate yourself from the crowd? Consider doing something nice for the driver AND his or her entire family such as offering a day trip to an amusement park or perhaps an all expenses paid boating excursion for a couple of hours.
Ask Your Drivers For Vehicle Feedback
Many carriers believe that newer equipment will make their drivers happy. Are you sure? Before rushing off to buy new and expensive vehicles and parts, we suggest you simply ask your drivers what they want. By keeping an open line of communication going between your fleet drivers and your shop management, you may find that some drivers are more than happy with their vehicles -- they simply want certain elements upgraded or in better operating condition. Replacing seats so that they’re more comfortable and ergonomic or swapping out other aging parts could save you money while also keeping your drivers happy.
Train Your Managers For Success
Fleet managers are an important piece of the retention puzzle. They aren’t just dispatchers or messengers from upper management. Fleet managers act as salesmen, friends, and resident problem solvers. Ensure they have the business and communication skills needed to be successful in their role by offering ongoing training courses on topics that are relevant to managing -- and understanding -- a changing, multi-generational, and potentially technically savvy driver workforce. Great managers are more likely to be able to effectively communicate with and motivate drivers. And, the more happy and effective your drivers are, the more freight gets moved. It’s a win-win.
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