Managing your trucking company is complicated and stressful - no matter the size of your operation. You have to recruit new drivers, ensure your compliance files are locktight, respond to accidents and similar emergencies, and manage logistics and on-time deliveries. Any mistake is going to cost you time and money.
While all this is going on, the last thing that you want to worry about is your driver turnover. Not only is it complicated to search, recruit and onboard, it cuts into your funds as well. You don’t have to accept this reactive approach to driver retention and recruitment as “business as usual”.
You can use AvatarFleet’s A-Suite to fill your empty seats, pass every audit, and bring your drivers home safely.
That’s why we decided to host a webinar entirely dedicated to our secret formula for driver retention. We helped a real OTA member reduce driver turnover by over 40%. We can do the same for you.
While hiring demand is down due a soft freight market, it is the perfect time to make the drivers that cause you headaches available to the market. You need winners on your team, and if you have perpetually underperforming drivers, now is the time to kick them out.
The secret to reduce driver turnover can best be understood through our Triple-Threat Formula.
The Triple-Threat formula can be broken into three parts.
Each part of the formula is specially designed to keep your drivers happy and your seats full.
Offense is all about being proactive and setting yourself up for success with new hires. A good offense starts with proper onboarding. In fact, onboarding a new-hire is the most pivotal part of reducing turnover. We’ve already gone into onboarding in the past, so if you want a deeper understanding of those concepts, please check out our Ideas to Improve Truck Driver Onboarding.
A proper onboarding procedure can be the difference between a driver sticking around for a few weeks or a few decades.
We recommend assigning all new drivers a driver liaison. The driver liaison is someone who is already on your team (but they should not be a dispatcher). The driver liaison is responsible for doing wellness checks on new drivers. They should see how they’re acclimating to their new role, or even do small things to make their first day or week as stress-free and painless as possible. It doesn’t need to be overly formal or structured. It doesn't even have to be more than ten minutes. Driver liaisons should meet with new drivers once a week for the first month after they’re hired, bi-weekly for the next few months, then monthly when they hit a nice pace and are fully integrated into the company.
When you implement driver liaisons, you can uncover pain points your drivers are experiencing and solve those problems before the driver quits.
The next step of offense is to outline what we call a Mutual Expectations Agreement. Drivers quit when they feel as though you did not meet their expectations. The problem is, these expectations are often unspoken and assumed. A mutual expectations agreement removes this problem.
This document should be written in plain text and should include what both the company and the driver expect of each other. You should have a standard form that includes all of your expectations of drivers, but blank spaces where they can expect of you. Meet with new-hires one on one to come to an agreement on each other’s expectations.
Some examples of what might be included on your mutual expectations agreement are:
Each party should sign the document. It’s not legally-binding of course, but it shows a mutual understanding of how each party should behave. Then, if there is ever an issue, you and the driver can revisit the mutual expectations to see where things went wrong.
Discover more about the Mutual Expectations Agreement by watching the video below:
Last but not least, a good driver retention offense features After Action Reviews. In short, After Action Reviews are short sub-ten-minute meetings that take place after each completed haul. In these meetings, we suggest discussing their expectations of what would happen, what went wrong, what went well, etc.
The point is to have an open discussion with drivers and see things from their perspectives. Doing so will allow you to course correct if you need, but also to foster a connection between parties and deepen that sense of trust.
The second facet of the Triple-Threat formula is defense. If offense is about being proactive and getting ahead of pain points before they happen, defense is about solving issues your drivers bring up as they arrive.
Here are some strategies we recommend you implement to receive and resolve driver complaints:
Defense can be the hardest part to enact, but if you look to categorize the issues you repeatedly come up against as well as the trends that are featured, they’ll be easier to solve.
On average, you should try to respond to issues within 3 hours of hearing them. Don’t worry, you don’t have to solve the issue in 3 hours, but you should let your driver know you are looking into it. The average time to resolve the issue should be 1 day. If you can’t solve the issue in one day, that’s okay, but you should stay in communication with the driver this whole time and give them updates.
Lastly is compensation, or how you pay your drivers. First and foremost, drivers want fair pay. Equally important, though, is that drivers want to understand how they’re paid. If drivers don’t understand how they’re paid or your system is confusing, they will assume you’re cheating them. That quickly leads to turnover.
Clearly lay out when and how drivers are getting compensated for their time. It is important to keep things clear. Make payouts systematic - monthly or quarterly if you can - and give them tangible raw numbers, not percentages.
We also recommend taking your savings made by reducing driver turnover and putting that back into your hired drivers in the form of bonuses. As per our example payout methods and manager plans: if you are currently sitting at 30 drivers with an 80% yearly driver turnover (TO) and have a goal to reduce that percentage to 50% TO, when you achieve your goal you’ll have a lot of extra funds to distribute over 15 drivers.
This amount of money will vary from company to company, but one thing that won’t is your drivers’ ambition and their will to get their jobs done and their loads delivered in a timely manner. Especially if they know they will be rewarded for their efforts with an amount of money that they can understand in the plainest of terms.
The more you can help your drivers clearly understand their compensation and value to you and your company, the more likely they are to stick by your side.
Watch the video to learn more about driver compensation methods below:
You have lots of problems to solve for your trucking company: recruiting, compliance, safety, and attracting more business. Take driver turnover off your plate with our Triple-Threat Formula.
Use offense to stay ahead of any potential pain points. Make your drivers feel appreciated and important. Utilize driver liaisons and mutual expectations agreements to solve issues before they create turnover.
Defense is all about quickly responding to and solving problems for your drivers. Go out of your way to respond in person to your drivers’ questions and concerns - and make sure to give them updates about their issue at least once every twenty-four hours.
Compensation is all about having an easily understood payment plan. Clearly lay out when and how your drivers are getting paid and redirect any saved money into your talent. They will thank you for it with their hard work and loyalty, making sure you and your team are in the best shape for whatever challenges the year may bring.
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