Truck driver retention continues to be one of the biggest challenges you face on a day to day basis. If you have read our other blogs on retention, you have come across a few ideas to try in your company to keep your drivers around and content. But time is not a renewable resource. What do you do about implementing new ideas when you already have a crazy schedule every day on the job?
If you want to build a driver-centric culture, you always have to have time for your drivers. It becomes a matter of getting creative with the time you do have at your disposal. The ability to have one on one meetings with all of your drivers and personnel is ideal to keep drivers. Monthly meetings are ideal, but may not always be possible at your company. So why not just knock out two necessary conversations at the same time?
DOT regulations require that your safety manager meets with each of your drivers once a year to conduct an annual review. Normally, this would be just a brief review of the driver’s MVR and two people sign a paper. If a driver had no tickets or accidents, that meeting could take under a minute. But suppose you made that meeting just a few minutes longer and allowed each driver to talk about the job on a personal level. This creates an opportunity for you to get feedback from your drivers behind closed doors in a hopefully comfortable environment.
Some companies have a tendency to treat these annual reviews lazily, with a handful doing so little as just making a ton of copies of the same form with their signature and just having the drivers sign them. Not only is this horribly non-compliant and runs the risk of a nasty DOT fine if discovered, but it’s a wasted opportunity also. The annual review is a dull bit of business everyone has to go through every year. But you have the chance to make it more productive by actually talking to your drivers.
Informally have a conversation with each driver. You may not have that many chances day-to-day to talk to them in person while they’re out on the road or you’re consumed with the demands of your job. You have an opening to connect with your drivers here, so you should take it. Ask them how things are going in general on the job and how your company is doing in supporting them. Ask them what needs to get better. Let them know their opinions matter to you and they will be more willing to share them.
While this may only be a few minutes of your time, conducting this type of meeting with each of your drivers could save you a huge headache down the road. If you let your drivers know you care about their well-being, they will be less likely to leave. They will appreciate your compassion and the fact that their word has some value in the company. A meeting of this kind is a small gesture and hardly world-changing. But it’s an important step in the right direction. And ensuring you don’t develop bad annual review habits at the same time is a good bonus.
Time is hard to come by and finding the right time to sit down with your drivers to discuss the job with them is even harder to do. But it’s absolutely necessary if you want your drivers to stick around. The law requires you to sit down to talk to drivers about their records every year; use that assigned time to its fullest potential. Just a few extra minutes of conversation might convince that driver to stay in your truck and reduce the hassle of day to day driver retention.