Retain More Drivers: Treat Them Like People

Posted by Scott Rea on June 26, 2019 in the category Retention

Improve Truck Driver Recruiting  Retention Without Spending More Money 808

Do you know the top 5 reasons drivers quit a company? Some are obvious, like inadequate pay or not enough hometime. Others however, you might not expect. Many drivers quit a company because of how they’re treated and an overall lack of appreciation. In fact, even just saying that drivers quit “the company” is misleading. Driver’s don’t quit a company; they quit their boss.

Treating your drivers better isn’t just the right thing to do morally; it’s the right thing to do your for your business. First and foremost, your drivers have the most important job in your company. Without drivers, you wouldn’t even have a job. As you are well aware, good drivers are in short supply and it’s only going to get worse as 10,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age each day. 

Drivers Are People

It’s a simple phrase, but it seems lost on most people in the industry. Even the most well-meaning advertising campaigns get it wrong. Go down the interstate a few miles and you’re bound to read on the back of several trucks something along the lines of: “Our Drivers Are Our Greatest Asset.” It’s a great attempt to value their drivers, but these ads miss the point entirely.

Assets are something you buy or sell. Assets are owned. Would you rather be an asset on a balance sheet or respected person? If you want to hold onto your drivers, you need to start showing your appreciation and treat them like people, not assets.

Your Job is to Support Your Drivers

If you’re reading this as a dispatcher, manager, or executive, you play a supporting role in the transportation industry. You don’t load the trucks, operate the bus or deliver the loads. Drivers do that. You get paid because drivers did their job. Your job is to support drivers.

Of course, every job in the world comes with some problems. That’s why we call it work. But you shouldn’t be causing them problems. You should be solving their problems. 

Here are three simple things you can do, starting today, that will help you treat your drivers like people and improve their work-lives:

1. Smile and Say Hello

Speak to your drivers every day outside of assigning loads. Give them a warm hello, address them by name, and ask them how they’re doing every day. Something as simple as interpersonal communication will make your drivers feel like they’re part of the team and give them a reason to stay.

2. Promise Little and Always Deliver

When you fail to follow-through on expectations or promises you make, you break the trust of your drivers. Your actions (or lack thereof) tell them they don’t matter. When a driver has a concern, hear them out, listen, and make it clear that you care. Tell them you’ll do what you can. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and always deliver on those that you do make.

3. Say Thank You

Thank your drivers for their hard work and point out their specific successes. It’s important to do this in person, and even more important to do so more publicly. In your weekly or monthly newsletters (video is best), give your drivers a shout-outs for specific behaviors you want others to replicate. Let the whole company know how important your drivers are to your success.

These three simple items should not be revolutionary to you. Are you doing the little stuff each day that doesn’t cost you a dime? There’s no silver-bullet to solving the driver problem. That’s why we recommend taking a peek at our e-book on driver retention. It’s free to download, and it might contain the missing piece for your driver problem. But of course, you can’t retain your drivers if you don’t treat them with respect first.

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