Our conversation continues with Kim Richardson of KRTS to talk about the importance of creating career paths for your drivers and the role orientation plays in driver satisfaction and retention.
Watch the talk in the video and read the summary in the second part of our series, For the Love of Drivers.
Career Paths Give Drivers a Reason to Stay
“That driver could someday be your Vice President of Operations. I think we need to be a little bit more clear in the opportunities that are available within our organizations and create that path.” - Kim Richardson
For decades, being a professional truck driver was a coveted position. It came with good pay, high regards, and respect. It seems those days are over. New generations do not view truck driving as the Knights of the Road like former generations did. Whether or not it’s warranted, that’s the truth, and as a result, trucking companies have to work harder to attract and keep drivers. One way to do that is by developing and showcasing career paths for your drivers.
As Scott Rea puts it, if you’re not offering drivers something to work towards, they’re likely to leave. While some people are content with spending their career on the road, they still want to grow as a professional driver. It could be as simple as earning a Defensive Driving certification for a Driver or Instructor in a program like LLLC Defensive Driving Certification.
You’re keeping your drivers engaged and focused on safety. They feel valued because you’re investing in them. There are very few companies out there who clearly define a driver career path. If implemented properly, driver retention will improve because they appreciate your investment in them. Driver recruiting leads will increase as word gets around about how you invest in your drivers.
And last but not least, you be reducing accidents because you’re teaching and rewarding proper defensive driving techniques. We struggle to comprehend why more carriers are not investing in a driver career path.
Orientation And Driver Retention
“Orientation is not the first day and a half or three days. It’s the first year that they're on the company.”
- Scott Rea
Most don’t have an orientation process at all; they have a sheep dip. Orientation is not filling out paperwork and applications then hitting the road - that’s processing a new driver. Orientation is a welcoming party. And, when done right, orientation is a major piece of driver retention.
An effective orientation process actually starts with the hiring process. You need fast, easy-to-use online applications that drivers can complete up front. This cuts down on unnecessary and duplicate paperwork on their first few days with your company. If you aren’t using one already, products like A-Suite can cut your hire-time in half and reduce new hire/contractor paperwork to 20 minutes.
With a streamlined application process, you can spend time on the things that matter: company culture, values, and expectations. Show drivers some love for joining your company. When you do, you’re setting yourself up for success. Your drivers will feel a personal connection to your company. They’ll want to work harder for you and they’ll want to stay on board for longer.