Driver Retention Strategies That Work
A shortage of qualified drivers has been plaguing the transportation industry for years, and the trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. According to a 2019 American Trucking Association report, the shortage increased from approximately 20,000 drivers in 2005 to roughly 60,800 in 2018. At the current pace, the number may grow to 160,000 by 2028.
Besides struggling to find enough drivers to transport their loads, companies are having trouble keeping truckers on the payroll. The spike in online deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in drivers bouncing from one company to another to take advantage of higher wages, as evidenced by the 95% turnover rate. The grueling lifestyle that requires long hours on the road can also cause some drivers to burn out and pursue other career paths.
What Are the Benefits of Improving Driver Retention?
While keeping qualified drivers is challenging, companies that make an effort and achieve successful outcomes can experience numerous benefits.
- Better service: When a driver leaves, it creates an open route that can lead to delayed shipments — and unhappy customers. Retaining drivers can prevent this issue and ensure your customers are receiving their loads on time.
- Lower costs: It typically costs a company around $11,500 to hire, onboard and train a new trucker. You can avoid this prohibitive expense by hanging onto capable drivers.
- Boosts morale: Working hard to retain drivers shows you care about them and value their service. You'll foster a positive attitude that leads to increased productivity. You'll also create a favorable reputation throughout the industry that allows you to attract qualified candidates.
- Saves time: Higher driver retention reduces the time you'll need to spend on staffing. You can devote more of your energy and resources to other areas of your operation.
Tips to Improve Truck Driver Retention
Is your business one of the many struggling to hold on to skilled, experienced drivers? Implementing the following driver retention strategies can increase your success rate.
Allow More Time at Home
One of the trickiest parts of the job for many drivers is being away from home for several days or longer. By working with your team to create more accommodating schedules, you can help them attain a more suitable work-life balance. They'll be happier, experience less stress and family-related issues and reduce their risk of health problems that often result from long hours on the road.
Route optimization software can prove invaluable when attempting to shorten trip times. You can use this tool to plan routes more efficiently and enable drivers to get home sooner.
Adjust Your Compensation Package
Because the labor shortage has increased the demand for their services, competent, experienced truckers are in the driver's seat — literally — regarding compensation. If you're not paying your freight haulers as much or more than your competitors and offering them a comprehensive fringe benefits package, it's only a matter of time until you lose them.
Don't wait until it's too late to sweeten the pot for your drivers. Besides increasing their mileage rate, you can also offer more health plan options and extra paid time off. You can also get creative by providing bonuses for safe driving and reaching specific service time milestones.
Make Training a Priority
While spending more time training drivers might create an additional upfront cost for your company, it can generate a significant return on investment by improving driver retention. Training demonstrates to drivers that you care about and have invested in their success, increasing the likelihood they'll stay with you longer. It also helps cut down on mistakes that can lead to costly accidents.
Your driver training program should be ongoing — even experienced drivers can benefit from a refresher. You'll also have more opportunities to interact with them and exchange valuable feedback.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
It's crucial to communicate as much as possible with your drivers. The job's solitary nature can sometimes make truckers feel isolated. By regularly keeping in touch, you can determine if they're encountering any problems while on the road. Communication also eliminates guesswork, preventing confusion and enabling drivers to execute their routes more efficiently.
What's more, reaching out to drivers makes them feel like the valued team members they are. When retaining skilled workers, this matters nearly as much as money and working conditions.
Maintain Your Fleet
Operating trucks that underperform or frequently break down is frustrating for drivers. If it happens too often, they'll likely seek employment at a company that takes better care of the equipment.
Implementing and adhering to a regular maintenance schedule can minimize repair issues that take truckers off the road and make their work lives less enjoyable. It also leads to safer vehicles and fewer accidents and disruptions to your customers' crucial deliveries.
Hold Drivers in Higher Esteem
The public — and in some cases, the businesses — that employ truckers sometimes take an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" attitude toward drivers or don't treat them like the professionals most of them are. You can make your drivers feel more wanted — and more likely to stay around — by treating them respectfully. Include mentions of your driving team in marketing materials and other promotional publications when possible.
Use the Latest Technologies
These days, transportation companies and drivers have access to numerous technological tools and resources to make the job easier and increase productivity. They can help drivers adhere to the new ELD mandate, which requires them to use electronic logging devices to record various operational and driver activity data.
Mobile apps are also available to assist drivers with the various tasks required for maintaining compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines. And you can use fleet management systems that can assist drives with start-of-day inspections, generating and submitting fuel reports, recording delivery proofs and much more.
Your drivers will benefit by investing in advanced, easy-to-use technology solutions that meet their unique on-the-road requirements. They'll also have more confidence that your company has their best interests in mind.
Contact Track Your Truck to Learn More
Track Your Truck offers an innovative GPS fleet truck tracking system that will help your drivers improve performance and enjoy a safer and less stressful work environment. You'll have happier, more productive drivers, which will reduce costly turnover in your organization.
Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can positively contribute to your driver retention strategies. We'll also be happy to provide a no-obligation quote.