The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released their annual study on the industry’s top issues earlier this month. According to an article by FreightWaves, “Motor carriers, who made up 51% of the 2,000 respondents, overwhelmingly picked the driver shortage.” This is not surprising. The survey results were the same last year and signs point to the problem only getting worse. It sounds like doom and gloom, but we have good news for you: there is no driver shortage.
You might wonder, how can we say there’s no driver shortage? Are we completely ignorant of the problems facing the industry? On the contrary, the industry faces a HUGE problem. We call it the driver problem. Think of it this way: when you go to the store, are the shelves empty? When you go to the gas station, is there fuel at the pumps? Until freight rots at the docks, there isn’t a shortage. Rather, the industry suffers from pervasive retention issues.
Goods are delivered to stores because there are enough drivers to haul them. If goods aren’t being hauled by you, they’re being hauled by the competition. You might have a shortage of drivers, but the industry does not. Blaming the macro environment isn’t productive - control what you can control. High turnover and a lack of qualified drivers are big problems to fix but the good news is they are fixable. You can join our clients who choose not to participate in the driver shortage by creating a driver-centric culture.
If you suffer from a lack of quality leads and struggle to retain the drivers you already have, it’s because you’re not doing enough to attract the drivers you want. The best drivers want to work for the best companies. They want to work for a company that puts the needs of its drivers first and keeps drivers at the center of all decisions - a driver-centric culture. You’re in a zero-sum game with other carriers. Drivers can quit one company and accept a job with another all in that week. That’s why you have to differentiate yourself by putting your drivers first.
Creating a driver-centric culture is a long road. It won’t happen overnight, but you have to start somewhere. There are steps you can start taking today that will help you attract and retain quality drivers.
These tips are just the beginning. For a more in-depth look at what you can do, check out our ebook 75 Strategies to Help Increase Driver Retention. Regardless of where you start, change is difficult. It’s not fun to take a long, hard look at why drivers quit your company. The result, however, could mean that you solve your personal driver shortage while your competition wonders where all the good drivers are.
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