Macro solutions to solve the shortage of drivers aren’t working. The demographic forces creating the shortage are too strong and national organizations like American Trucking Association will never have enough funds to change that. You and every trucking company in America have more freight than drivers.
It’s up to individual transportation companies to “put their best foot forward” and manage their driver problem. Those who work hard at it will succeed. Others who grumble, protest and complain will fall by the wayside.
Perry Townsend of Ryder Dedicated Transportation Solutions believes there are seven best practices for fleet managers:
- Establish a driver council
- Speak to all drivers regularly
- Perform management ride-alongs
- Create a consistent driver onboarding experience
- Hold monthly driver meetings
- Ensure accountability at all levels for employee engagement
- Implement driver recognition programs
These are two-way communication solutions. Two-way solutions mean both parties are invested in the fix. These seven practices bring drivers to the decision-making table for strategic planning and provide a consistent process for your managers to see life from the driver’s eyes. These practices build empathy on both sides when each person sees the others perspective. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is powerful experience when it’s routinely baked into your company’s monthly cadence.
Trucking is full of mistakes and will always be part of the business. Empathy breaks down sides, or silos, and you start to solve problems as a team – it eliminates “us versus them”.
"Trucking is full of mistakes and will always be part of the business. Empathy breaks down sides, or silos, and you start to solve problems as a team – it eliminates 'us versus them'."
All seven solutions require a heavy time investment. If you don’t feel that drivers are worth this investment, then you might as well fold your business now while you’re still making money. You’ll have no drivers to haul freight in five years if you continue to put operations ahead of drivers in your internal hierarchy.