(4 minute read)
Our team at WorkHound interviewed experts from 35+ trucking companies to learn about their innovative driver retention ideas. This article highlights the best approaches companies are taking to increase driver retention rates.
Recently, we highlighted the first 9 ideas driver retention initiatives that stood out to us at MATS 2016. This post highlights additional tactics that can be a game changer for your company.
As you can guess, there’s no silver bullet to driver retention, it takes a buckshot approach. This makes it important to combine driver retention ideas. The end result should be happier drivers, increased retention rates, and a more efficient operation!
Here are 9 more of our favorite driver retention ideas from MATS 2016:
We’ve seen reports that show 51% of drivers leave trucking companies because they don’t feel respected. A great way to bring respect to drivers? Give them a stronger voice within the company. Several companies value feedback and have several approaches to creating a dialogue with drivers.
1. Driver meetings across many locations:
For many companies, drivers are everywhere but the office. Setting aside time for in-person meetings has been key for a few carriers. These meetings focus on providing company updates direct to the drivers. This keeps the team on the same page and empowers drivers to share real-time feedback. It’s a great way for office staff to get in-person driver feedback and address issues head-on. (Continental Carbonic)
2. Monthly conference calls:
Since drivers are on the road, some companies bring the office updates to the driver with large-scale conference calls. These calls provide updates about the trucking industry and the company. They also provide opportunities for driver feedback and the chance to address these issues in real time. Some may see it as a phone call, but it's an important touchpoint to establish collaboration. (Letica)
3. Driver councils:
Driver councils provide a “voice of the drivers” by having a select few drivers represent the entire fleet. Companies choose representatives based on seniority or merit. The driver council serves as a filter for the drivers when gauging drivers. This is helpful when the company is considering changes or wants to best improve the driver experience. (Multiple carriers)
Sometimes drivers need a little bend in “the way we do things” at a given company. A few companies add some flexibility that can be the difference in retaining a driver or losing one.
4. The $500 reflection:
Instead of handing departing drivers an exit survey, one company hands them $500. The goal for this company is to encourage a top driver to reflect before leaving. When a driver turns in his or her notice, the company offers $500 to wait a week without working and reflect. The company asks the driver meet with them a final time after the week for final evaluation. Surprisingly, around 80% of drivers would decide to stay after this week of reflection! By providing the driver a week of reflection (and some extra cash) the company showed how valuable the driver is to the company.
5. The 5-on-5-off program:
One company recently unveiled a 5-on-5-off program for drivers. This program allows for drivers to have a consistent schedule of 5 days working and 5 days off. One of their driver dubbed it “a semi-retirement for drivers”. The program operates with slip-seating, but provides drivers with a combination of good pay matched with ample home time. (Mast Trucking)
Drivers always say “I want to work where I’m a name, not a number” and a few companies go out of their way to show drivers they are a key part of the company.
6. Internal driver profiles:
Knowing drivers beyond their truck number or first name is crucial. Many companies highlight driver birthdays weekly on Facebook, but a few reach out to directly to a driver. One company has internal driver profiles with key info like a driver’s birthday. The company uses this information to call the driver on their special day! (Crane Freight)
7. Driver-specific support staff:
An emerging trend amongst trucking companies is offering a dedicated team to driver-specific needs. Consider it customer support for drivers or a driver liaison. It's a team that’s sole duty is to help drivers work through issues in and out of the company. Having an neutral staff member to show empathy to drivers can be a real difference maker. (Multiple carriers)
8. Dedicated dispatch for new drivers:
One company has a dedicated dispatcher only for new drivers. This dispatcher understands the unique needs of new drivers and coaches to success. These dispatchers understand the value of extra touch points necessary to ensure the new driver’s success. (Koch Trucking)
9. Personality over paper:
When it comes to finding the right fit, a few carriers ensure a driver’s needs are met before they hit the road. One company asks a driver about their personal needs beyond what’s listed on a resume. This allows for both the driver and the company to have an extra filter to determine if the working relationship is the best fit. Another company requires in-person meetings between driver and fleet manager before the first load. This allows the fleet manager to address the driver's concerns, needs, and desires to customize the road experience. Customization makes the driver feel special and gets any needs addressed to ensure success on both sides! (Gypsum Express, Koch Trucking)
Does your company use some of these tactics? What did we omit? Share below in the comments or email us to discuss more!
Special thanks to these companies for spending time sharing their wisdom:
Cargo Transport, Dana Transport, Stage Call, Fraley & Schilling, US Bulk Transport, Letica, Bolt, Crane Freight, Packard Transport, Area Transportation, Ozark Motor Lines, Churchill Transportation, Ashley Distribution Services, Classic Carriers, Gypsum Express, Koch Trucking, Driving Ambition, Daily Express, Christenson Transportation, Styline Logistics, Clark Transfer, Transport Investments, Tri-State Expedited Services, Continental Carbonic, Containerport, Rush Trucking, Mast Trucking, and RWI.