We told you in last week’s post that it’s critical to have your experienced drivers explain to your new ones the way things are at your company. We’re confident that you will retain many more drivers this way since there will be fewer surprises once they start working for you. But what kinds of things should you make sure that they know? Here are some of the most important areas to have your veterans address:
At Avatar Fleet, we love safe drivers and so should you. No matter how many videos you have a driver watch, there is no substitute for a firsthand account of what safe driving looks like. Have drivers go through LLLC procedures and explain why each one is so important. If you have a driver who has had a lot of experience driving in inclement weather, have them talk about the challenges of rain and ice. If they have been through an accident, have them tell the story and go through the protocol they followed. Your new drivers will be more attentive if someone speaks to them directly and has been there, and they will have even more tools to become safe drivers.
Anyone who has ever worked in a service industry like trucking knows how important and challenging customer service can be. Your customers need to be happy for you to continue to make money. But not every customer is pleasant or fair. Perhaps one will blame your driver for an incorrect shipment or a messed up delivery time. Your new drivers need to know that this WILL happen. Humans make mistakes, and even when the customer blames the driver unfairly, it’s on the driver to remain professional. Make sure your experienced drivers teach the new ones how to handle those situations along company guidelines.
Even more common than an unruly customer is a poor civilian driver. Reckless, unprofessional drivers will be everywhere. Your drivers can spot them a mile away after a while. Tell new drivers how to remain patient and try to avoid these people if at all possible. Getting mad never helps and driving aggressively can only lead to more accidents.
You can have the best training in the world, but there will still be issues that drivers need to deal with. They need to know you have their back. This is especially true of your dispatchers. Dispatch is there for support and assistance; they aren’t just a god voice that barks out orders to the driver. A new driver needs to know that they can rely on dispatch if there are issues.
By now, you should’ve already stressed that you’re looking out for your drivers. That’s how it works at your company. But specific examples of past problems are necessary to clarify this concept for the new guy. Have one or two of your drivers describe a time you helped them with an issue, work-related or otherwise. Maybe it was just getting Steve home for his daughter’s birthday or letting an overworked Larry take an early vacation. Those things matter to the new driver and they need to know they can come to you.
Safe drivers are the number one priority. Tell all of your drivers a hundred, a thousand times, it won’t be too many. You are serious about safety and your new drivers should be too.
If your drivers aren’t saying these things to the new driver, it means you aren’t doing something right and need to make a change. A driver-centric company does all these things in their sleep and can convey these to your new drivers, and you will retain more of them. The new driver will get what your company is all about and be much less likely to book it for Joe Schmoe’s Trucking Company down the road who may not do things the same way.
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