On September 16th and 17th, leaders in the transportation industry will gather in Cleveland, OH for The OTA Annual Conference. Held by the Ohio Trucking Association and the Ohio Association of Movers, this conference focuses on finding solutions to the many problems that the transportation industry faces. Perhaps no issue is more urgent than the driver problem. That’s why you should catch Avatar Fleet president Scott Rea at the conference for his presentation on “Driver Retention Re-Invention.” The hour-long discussion will offer best practices for improving your driver retention and solving the driver problem for your trucking company.
It’s Time to Change How Drivers Are Treated
Last week, we shared the first part of our Retention Re-Invention three-part blog series. The article discussed one of the most simple and powerful ways to improve driver retention: treat your drivers like people. Your drivers aren’t just quitting because of pay or hometime. They’re quitting because of how they’re treated. The good news for you is no one’s doing any better. Small improvements in driver treatment can yield powerful results. It’s a blue ocean strategy. Practically no one else is doing it.
A Driver-Centric Culture Leads to Quality Drivers
If your company is a great place for drivers to work, you’ll attract, hire, and retain quality drivers. They’d have no reason to leave you for the competition. What this describes is a driver-centric culture. A driver-centric culture is one that puts your drivers’ needs and wants at the center of all decisions. A driver-centric culture recognizes that the reason anyone in the transportation industry has a job, from dispatch to manager to owner, is because of drivers.
Three Ways to Build a Driver-Centric Culture
Building and sustaining a driver-centric culture is a long road. You need to make a plan and stick to it. You need buy-in throughout the company. You need to dedicate time to it. More than anything, though, you need to stop plugging leaks with more drivers and get to the source of the problem. Here are three ways you can do so.
- Make a Declaration from the top to the bottom of your company. Change starts at the head because people do what their boss inspects. In other words, your employees will do what they think you care about. Make it clear across your leadership team that driver retention and driver treatment are important. A great way to do so is assigning driver retention performance to the highest possible executive in the company.
- Set retention KPI that affect executive bonus pools and dispatcher/recruiter compensation. This sends the message that driver retention is everyone’s job. Plus, it rewards employees who go above and beyond for your drivers.
- Take the pulse of your drivers with direct, weekly, and consistent communication. Discuss quality of life and work issues with your drivers by conducting short surveys. Set a goal of talking to a set number of drivers every week. Use this information to make their work lives better and let your drivers know you care.
Get Ahead of The Competition
You can’t change your culture overnight. It takes dedication, perseverance, and lots of planning. If it were easy, everyone would do it. And since no one else is doing it, that makes it all the more valuable if YOU do it. If you build a driver-centric culture (and do a good job bragging about it in your marketing campaigns) your retention will soar. Meanwhile, your competition will be left behind wondering where all the good drivers went.