Stay Interviews: Expose Problems Before Losing Drivers

Exit interviews are great for learning about why drivers are leaving and using that information to make changes within the company. But what about finding out similar information from drivers before they decide to leave? The Society of Human Resource Managers shares a technique, “Stay Interviews,” that are beneficial for retaining high demand employees in industries such as technology. We thought this technique should be applied to the trucking industry in order to retain more truck drivers.

Stay interviews are casual interviews that are used to ask employees what they like and dislike about their job before it's too late. Specifically, companies should be asking questions such as, “What is one thing that you would like to see management change?” or “What changes would you like to see more of on a regular basis?” Simple questions like this can expose surprising answers that management might not realize. These questions can also generate changes to fleet operations "based on what the drivers said", as opposed to making changes because other companies in the industry are making tweaks. 

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As a company, some might be hesitant to conduct stay interviews out of fear of learning what your employees might ask for or mention. Although some responses might not always be desired, valuable information will be learned and hopefully actionable in order to retain more truck drivers. An article about stay interviews on Fortune.com highlights the importance of remembering that listening to employees is helpful even if you can’t fix their problems right away.

Another response carriers don’t necessarily want to hear is that their employees want a raise (because all drivers do). Although, this will probably be heard by most drivers, a lot of them will take advantage of this stay interview and ask for something they believe will happen.

In interviews that we have conducted with truck drivers we have heard surprisingly small things that the driver would like to see change within the carrier they drive for. One response that has been heard quite a few times is that they would like the dispatcher to call them by their name instead of their driver number. This emphasizes that little things can make a big difference in the overall happiness of company drivers. Stay interviews can give drivers the ability to ask for these small changes instead of building up frustrations, which will eventually lead to turnover and another empty truck. If you provide your drivers with an opportunity to have a voice, it will lead to less turnover and happier employees.

Have any questions or comments about stay interviews? Let us know!
Keep on Truckin'!