Debating Reactive vs. Proactive Driver Retention Strategies

If you worry about recruiting and retaining new drivers for a living, you don’t need to be told that driver turnover is a nightmare for fleets. Most fleets are in a constant struggle to recruit and onboard drivers faster than they turn over.

A Vicious Cycle

This can create a vicious cycle for fleets in which the need to recruit drivers faster takes the focus away from retention, which only creates more turnover and a more urgent need to recruit more drivers. Fleets around the country are stuck. Retaining more drivers sounds like a great idea, but often incentives, increased flexibility, and even bonuses fail to make a significant dent in the constant churn of drivers leaving for “greener pastures.”

What some fleets fail to realize is that making the decision to leave and go drive for another fleet isn’t a snap decision. Leaving any new job and starting a new one is stressful, risky, and potentially expensive. Drivers don’t leave without a reason, and they don’t make the decision over night.

Prioritize Proactive Driver Feedback

This is where being proactive can change the way your fleet approaches retaining truck drivers. Finding out why a driver left in an exit interview is certainly helpful data. However it is by definition too late to help you retain that driver. You may have been assuming that drivers are leaving because your fleet struggles to get drivers home every weekend, but is that really the case?  

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We all know conflicts with dispatchers or fleet management can create friction, but is this the true cause of your turnover or is it just another symptom of a larger problem? Correlation can only get you so far when it comes to understanding a decision as personal as changing jobs. In reality, every driver has their own reasons for leaving, and in order to retain those drivers, the issues they have need to be addressed on some level.

Closing Thoughts

Your fleet can’t address issues it doesn’t know about. The hard part isn’t adjusting a few policies, the hard part is knowing which ones to adjust. Gathering the data you need to prevent turnover BEFORE that driver leaves is the key to reducing turnover and ultimately keeping your fleet’s trucks on the road 24/7.

Learn more about proactive driver retention in this white paper: “Why Driver Feedback Matters”