Why Driver Exit Interviews Miss the Mark

After your driver turns in their two-week notice, hangs up their uniform, and counts down the minutes to the end of their last day on the job, there’s one last task left for them to do.

The exit interview.

It’s the always-uncomfortable conversation your drivers have with your human resources or driver retention team—or an outside party. As awkward as it is for drivers, it can be even stranger for the interviewer, writes Jacquelyn Smith in a recent Forbes article.

For HR professionals, driver retention teams—whoever’s on the other side of the table from the driver—the verdict on the effectiveness of the exit interview is out.

Do Exit Interviews Benefit Companies?

Many exit interviews, notes Andy Teach in a Forbes interview, aren’t that effective because they can turn into bludgeoning tools by the employee against the employer.

It’s their last chance to air their grievances, he notes, and some people are out for revenge during their exit interview.

Such personal attacks don’t really provide their companies with any sort of constructive, useful feedback. And even if there was constructive feedback, many companies wouldn’t know exactly how to act upon it.

“Sometimes the company will take constructive advice to heart, but usually not,” says Alexandra Levit in a Forbes interview. “Companies may look at attrition as a whole, but generally not at individual feedback. They are just not that systematized.”

With an inability to make changes indicated by departing drivers, along with a tendency to veer off in a malicious direction, exit interviews might not be the best option for carriers.

Is Honesty the Best Policy?

Even if your company feels equipped to make changes around what your drivers tell you, you’re making those changes based around a huge assumption: your drivers are telling the truth.

Many departing employees don’t want to alienate their former employers, according to one Monster.com article, so they avoid honest criticism in exit interviews. Instead of telling you that their dispatcher makes their life miserable, they come up with bland reasons for their departure: More money, better benefits, or more time at home.

In a world where a driver’s CSA scores are just as important as their resume, they can’t afford to burn bridges. And many drivers find the grass isn’t always greener and return back to companies, furthering the urge to not tell the whole truth.

So what can companies do to get real, actionable information from their drivers that turned their truck in?

Is It Too Late to Change?

For companies looking to learn from the lessons their current and former drivers share, as well as keep their current drivers happy, there is a solution: focus on feedback.

According to the Harvard Business Review, engaged and appreciated employees are more likely to contribute valuable information that helps organizations and less likely to leave in the first place.

And, as Everett Spain and Boris Groysberg write in the article, that information is growing in importance.

“Research has shown that high turnover predicts low performance and that an organization with turnover lower than its competitors’ can be at a considerable advantage—particularly if it retains its top performers,” they write. “If people are leaving an organization in ever-increasing numbers, figuring out why is crucial.”

What’s the best way companies can get to the bottom of their drivers’ concerns before they head to the door?

Implement an anonymous feedback platform.

By collecting anonymous driver feedback, then analyzing the feedback for major concerns, companies can swiftly and adeptly address employee concerns—well before the exit interview.

Address driver issues at the speed of business, not when it’s already too late to save them, and you’ll get the bottom-line boost an engaged team of drivers can bring.

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