If you’ve managed a fleet for any amount of time, you’re used to bringing on a new driver, taking time and money to get them going, only for them to leave after a few months or a year. It’s a never-ending cycle that has become the “norm” in the trucking industry.
While most drivers cite low pay as the reason they leave, pay isn’t the only important factor in driver turnover. The entire work environment, which includes pay, benefits, company culture, career advancement, work/life balance, and more, impacts whether a driver will stay or go.
If you’re tired of drivers coming and going, take a look at a few ways to find and keep good, happy drivers.
While a driver may have to sell you on their qualifications and skills, you need to sell your company as a place drivers want to work. Use your website and social media to show off your company and teach drivers what you’re all about. Take pictures and use video of what goes on in the company and what the people are like. You’ll attract the type of drivers who appreciate your company culture, and new recruits will have an idea of what to expect if they’re hired.
Offer Competitive Pay
You can’t always give everyone a raise across the board, but think about pay more strategically. First of all, consider what it costs to recruit, hire, and train a driver to replace someone who’s quit. If you offer slightly higher pay and create a more rigorous recruiting and hiring practice, your turnover costs will go down – making it easier to pay good drivers more money.
Another option is to incentivize the things that save your company money – fuel cost, regulation compliance, and on-time deliveries. The drivers who consistently do the right thing, drive well, and save money for your company should be rewarded for their effort. Paying more or giving drivers opportunities to earn more will increase the amount of applicants you receive so you can afford to be choosy and only hire the best.
Train and Explain
When you hire on brand new drivers, be realistic about the expectations of the company and what it’s like out on the open road. During orientation and onboarding for any new driver, explain how the company works, share policies and procedures, help them get to know other drivers, and make sure they have easy access to all the information they need.
It’s important that the lines of communication stay open once you’ve got them on the road. Follow up with new hires every 30 days or so after orientation for a few months. Schedule training for all of your drivers. Have an open-door policy and really listen when a driver talks to you. When your drivers feel heard, they feel valued and are more likely to stick around even when things get tough.
Focus on Health and Home
A happy driver is someone who feels good. Get them home on a regular basis that they can count on and give them access to the tools they need to stay healthy when they’re not at home. You might not be able to pay for a gym membership as a perk but encourage them to exercise. Offer health screenings, share healthy eating options, and offer decent insurance.
Let Them Advance in Their Career
A great driver might not work for you for 30 years, but they’ll stick around longer than a few months if they feel there are opportunities for their professional growth and development. Encourage additional education and reimburse the costs if you can. Start a mentor program to help your newest drivers and only choose your best drivers to participate. Encourage upward mobility into whatever positions may come available in the company. Offer better routes and schedules based on great performance, efficient driving, and professionalism. These things show your drivers that education and a good work ethic are valued by you and the company.
The best way to build your business and lower your costs is to make sure you hire the best and brightest drivers. You’ll keep them long-term if you offer good pay, time off, and consistent scheduling. Let them grow in their profession, and you’ll be rewarded with their new abilities and knowledge, too. Good, happy drivers are an invaluable asset to your company.