The Importance of a Thorough Driver Orientation

a sign for new driver orientations

New hire orientation usually conjures up an image of a nameless person standing at the front of a room, droning on and on about company policies. Most people imagine excruciating boredom in freezing cold conference rooms while drinking lukewarm, stale coffee. New hires often leave with the bare minimum of information and little understanding of what their job will be like. Your fleet’s new driver orientations don’t have to be death by PowerPoint slides.  

With a technologically advanced, thorough driver orientation, you can reduce turnover and set your new drivers up for success.

 Reduce Turnover 

Even from the first day of orientation, a new driver is already thinking about whether they should stay with your fleet or if they need to look elsewhere. Orientation is supposed to do more than make sure new drivers comply with federal regulations and company policies. It’s the first real chance they have to get to know the fleet, the company, and each other. The information you provide and how that information is delivered can help keep your (soon-to-be) best drivers with you for the long haul.

Set Expectations

Orientation training for new drivers is your first chance to set your expectations from them. But it’s also an opportunity for drivers to learn what they can expect from you. Orientations set the tone for what your company is about and they set the tone for how your drivers can expect to be treated and how to interact with others within the company — or they should. Surveys show that 25 percent of drivers don’t learn what they expect to learn in orientation, and this can lead to problems with turnover and performance later.

What to Include in Your Orientation

To make sure your new drivers get the best start in their career with your fleet, give them an orientation that sets them up for success.

Teach with technology. You can shorten the time needed to complete training and offer interactive, personalized training that fits their needs. Bonus: they’ll be more likely to remember what they learned. 

Communicate clearly. Make sure all trainers and the members of your leadership team are on the same message. At the same time, make sure to be clear and transparent with the information you share. Many drivers often receive incomplete, inaccurate, or conflicting information about home time, pay, and runs/routes during orientation. 

Teach to each driver’s level. When you have an orientation class with a mix of first-time drivers and long-time drivers, their needs are vastly different. An experienced driver is going to feel like their time is wasted if you only teach to the newest driver’s level. This is why technology that allows for individual training is crucial.

Build personal connections during orientation. This may be a new driver’s only chance to really connect with the fleet and the people they work with. After this, they’ll be out on the road and be on their own. Give new drivers the opportunity to meet key people from across the fleet: payroll, operations, safety, people they’ll report to directly, someone from the service department, and at least one long-term, experienced driver. They can receive information and ask questions while putting faces to names.

Give your drivers an orientation that gets them excited to work for you and confident about getting out on the road. Make sure part of your orientation process is spent teaching your drivers how to use their ELD system. If you use Gorilla Fleet, we make educating new and existing drivers as easy as possible! Sign up, today.