Imagine a trucking company with almost 100% turnover. Morale is low, nobody builds rapport with each other, and everyone treats it like a placeholder job for their next one. It shouldn’t be too hard to picture a company like this; companies both large and small struggle with high turnover. But why would anyone want to work at a place like that? After a while, the money alone just isn’t enough, especially with other companies offering competitive pay.
Why Drivers Leave
Drivers often leave a company because they feel like they don’t matter. In fact, it’s one of the top five reasons drivers quit. They drive for days on end, never develop a relationship with dispatchers or higher ups, and come to discover that what was promised when they first were recruited and applied is not at all what they have experienced. And then, just like that, they’re gone.
Show Them You Care
It’s critical that you prove to all of your drivers, especially the newest and oldest ones, that they matter. The company runs less efficiently and loses money whenever a trucker quits, that is the reality. But more than that, you want to show that your company really does care about the people who drive their trucks. So how do you do that? Start with these five examples:
1. Driver Recognition Program
If you don’t have a driver of the month or a yearly awards recognition system, start employing one. It’s good for driver morale and will reward the behaviors you want to see on behind-the-wheel.
2. Involve your Drivers in Decision Making
Drivers can’t be involved in every choice made at your company. But it’s a good practice to consult a senior committee of drivers chosen to represent the others. This can help avoid problems in the future by creating transparency and allowing drivers to feel that their voice matters in the company. Plus, you’ll stay informed on driver opinions and morale.
3. Upgrade Facilities Your Drivers Use
Take a poll and see what drivers would like to be added to the facilities. Maybe this is a mini fitness center to promote driver health or a refrigerator the company stocks with healthy snacks. Maybe all they want is a basketball hoop and a place to shoot or some comfy chairs to hang out in. A simple Google forms survey makes your drivers involved in the process.
4. Driver Rewards Programs
Another way to promote healthy competition and keep drivers invested in their job is to implement a rewards system. Set goals and challenges for drivers to hit throughout a quarter or a year that are worth some kind of points. Certain thresholds such as LLLC Driver and Instructor Certification should be attributed to rewards and prizes, with the quarterly or yearly leader getting something bigger.
5. Conduct One-to-One Driver Meetings
We’ve always advocated for one-on-one attention to your drivers whenever possible. This might be the most effective strategy for improving driver retention because it allows drivers to get comfortable being open and honest about their job-related pain and issues. This should start on day one. Have the driver and manager both sign an expectations sheet that details the KPIs you expect of each driver. Set up weekly calls with the Driver Manager to review the KPIs and a monthly sit down. Implement driver scorecards to measure progress and success.
These are not the only ways to make your drivers feel valued. In fact, we’ve explored other ways in past blogs. Financial incentives can boost morale as well, but unlike a bonus, these five strategies all require your TIME and EFFORT. To hardworking truck drivers, time and effort are often just as important.