With high driver turnover rates and a worsening trucker shortage, it is more important than ever to have an effective strategy for keeping your drivers happy. While pay and benefits are key factors for driver retention, it is also essential to have a strong company culture.
Some best ways to show your drivers that you care include a mentorship program, flexible scheduling and a safety culture.
Reward Your Drivers
When a company invests in its drivers, it’s an act of goodwill that develops loyalty, which reduces turnover. This does not mean a large cash infusion but rather small tokens of appreciation that let the driver know their contribution is appreciated.
Many trucking companies already have systems to monitor driver performance and reward good driving habits. They may use a league table of drivers, for example, updated weekly based on accident rates or MPG averages related to official combined figures. These can be displayed on noticeboards, intranet sites or in company newsletters. Similarly, some fleets will award drivers a trophy or an annual certificate for their top-performing driving skills.
However, it’s important to get the timing of these rewards right – too soon and you risk overdoing it, while too long and drivers can become desensitized to the incentives on offer. Additionally, the best way to influence a driver’s behavior is not just by rewarding them but through ongoing monitoring of their performance. This will help to encourage good behaviors, draw attention to a lack of good ones and create a culture where the company values its drivers.
Communicate With Your Drivers
With a driver shortage on the rise and turnover rates high, keeping drivers happy is more important than ever. A strong communication plan with your fleet can help keep drivers satisfied. This isn’t just about letting them know what is going on with their loads or how to contact someone in case they need to talk; it is also about listening.
Ensure you deliver what you promised to your drivers when they sign up for the job. Mismatched expectations can be a big reason people quit their jobs, so if you aren’t doing what you said you would, that could be a push factor for them to find another fleet.
Communicating with your drivers can be done in multiple ways, but it should always be professional and clear. Using text for quick questions or urgent matters, phone calls or video calls when something needs to be explained thoroughly, and dispatching software that cuts down on time spent checking in with your drivers will help you create better relationships.
Invest in Technology
Trucking is a demanding job, so it’s essential that drivers feel satisfied and supported. Companies can unlock various benefits by prioritizing driver retention strategies, including increasing pay and benefits packages, providing career growth and development opportunities, and offering technology that improves safety and productivity on the road.
When fleet managers implement these strategies, they demonstrate that they have the driver’s best interests and are committed to maintaining fleet health. They can also improve communication with their drivers by developing effective surveys and responding to employee feedback quickly.
Many mobile technology solutions can improve the driver experience and increase fleet efficiency. For example, equipping each driver with a rugged tablet purpose-built for the industry and loading it with vetted and proven mobile apps can help to streamline communication and simplify on-the-road tasks. From logging fuel reports and electronically verified inspections to submitting ELD compliance documents, your drivers will appreciate the time saved by having these critical tools at their fingertips. This will give them more confidence that their employers have their back and understand the unique rigors of their on-the-road careers.
Involve Your Drivers in Decision-Making
When a fleet implements technology such as dash cams, document scanning or fuel tracking, drivers must have an opportunity to provide input and feedback before implementation. This will help ensure that the product is used effectively and that potential problems are identified and addressed early. Otherwise, a driver may resent the decision to implement a new tool and push back on the initiative, which could lead to churn and a strained relationship with management.
Providing input to drivers on an ongoing basis can also be a great way to build loyalty. Whether through formal surveys, 1 1 interviews or open communication channels between corporate and field management, listening to drivers helps identify push and pull factors that influence their decision to stay or leave your company.
Once the feedback is received, acting on it efficiently is critical. The best way to do this is to incorporate it into your planning, policy-making and consideration processes so that changes can be made quickly based on the needs of your driver population.
Create a Safety Culture
It’s important that drivers feel like they’re part of the team, especially regarding safety. Creating a safety culture that involves every level of management and employees is a great way to make everyone feel invested in the fleet’s success. This can be done through various methods, including meetings, newsletters, safety challenges, or team-building events. Providing consistent communication about the safety measures being implemented can also help.
Ensuring all employees understand how their actions impact the company’s safety record can motivate them. For example, suppose a driver knows that their decision to take a shortcut on the highway will cost the company money due to a regulatory fine. In that case, they may be more inclined to stay at the job if they know management is taking the issue seriously.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent high turnover rates is to clarify that your company puts its drivers first. This can be done through competitive compensation, flexible home time policies, and an investment in quality equipment.