The OTA Annual Conference took place in Cleveland, OH September 16th and 17th. Held by the Ohio Trucking Association and the Ohio Association of Movers, the conference focused on solving the many problems plaguing the transportation industry. If you know us, you won’t be surprised to find out we were there talking about the driver problem. AvatarFleet president Scott Rea presented on “Driver Retention Re-Invention” and how retaining your top talent can solve YOUR driver problem. If you didn’t attend, then you missed a golden opportunity to learn some retention strategy. Lucky for you, this article gives you a snippet of what Scott Rea presented.
Improving Your Drivers’ Work Lives Improves Retention
Last week, we shared the second part of our Retention Re-Invention three-part blog series. We covered the importance of building a driver-centric culture, why you should put your drivers at the center of all company-decisions, and how to leverage your culture to retain and hire high-performing drivers. Building a driver-centric culture means you improve the work lives of your drivers. This will entice your drivers to stay with you instead of go down the street and work for your competitors. Thus, when you help your drivers, you’re really helping yourself.
Why Do Drivers Quit?
Rarely do drivers quit because of a singular event. In reality, drivers quit because problems stack-up. We call it death by 1,000 cuts. When a driver quits, he or she probably experienced countless annoyances, inconveniences, and set-backs at your company. Eventually, there was a straw that broke the camel’s back. There’s good news and bad news here. The bad news is that even a small problem for your driver can cause them to quit. The good news is that you have lots of chances to redeem yourself. If you can make the good outweigh the bad at your company, you’ll retain more quality drivers. That’s why it’s important to improve your drivers’ work-lives.
Three Ways to Solve Your Drivers’ Problems
- Establish an open door policy and make it clear to everyone. Your drivers should know they can come to leadership with problems and concerns. Similarly, everyone on the leadership team needs to be expected to maintain an open door policy. Doing so will make it easy for drivers to trust leadership and seek solutions to their problems rather than seek other employment opportunities.
- Never make a promise you can’t keep and keep every promise that you do make. You’re only as good as your word. If you make promises to drivers and fail to follow-through, they’ll grow to resent you. On the flip side, if you always follow-through, your drivers will enjoy working for you. They’ll be less likely to quit and look for another company when issues arise because they know they can count on you.
- Create a driver mentorship program that pairs veterans with new-hires. Ask your veteran drivers to show the newbies the ropes and help align them with company culture. This helps you in two ways. First, new drivers will have someone to turn to for guidance if they have a rocky start. Second, new drivers will feel more attached and committed to your company because they’ll build a strong relationship right off the bat
It’s Time to Try Something New
With driver turnover in the ninetieth percentile nation-wide, it seems impossible to fix the driver problem. We say it’s absolutely possible, but it takes trying something new. Focus on improving the work-lives of your drivers. Treat them like people. Many companies think they are, but their turnover numbers say otherwise. If you focus on solving your drivers’ problems, you’ll solve your own driver problem.