Our team at WorkHound believes it is important to get a range of perspectives on the industry and this week we have a guest post by Jim Paterson, the Director for Safety and Training at the Center for Transportation Safety, a part of Element Fleet Management.
The life of a truck driver isn’t easy, as they are constantly away from their homes and families and work long hours without stellar pay. Another difficult issue many drivers face is falsified offerings from employers.
If your company is looking to improve driver retention rates, it’s crucial that you are upfront with drivers from day one. In an effort to attract drivers, many companies overpromise and under deliver. It’s an unfortunate practice when drivers are led to believe they will be home every weekend when in reality, they will be driving routes where that’s nearly impossible. Or a driver accepts a position thinking they will earn $60K annually but to actually attain that pay, he or she needs to be away from home on a continual basis.
As a former driver, I urge trucking companies to be honest when recruiting prospective employees. The industry has earned a bad reputation for not being truthful with drivers. Being truthful with employees from the start about home/family time, health offerings and pay will help build a relationship of trust and loyalty that can help keep drivers behind the wheel at your company.
Compensation, unsurprisingly, is a reason many drivers leave a company. If it is unlikely that a driver is going to make $50,000 a year working for your company, don’t give them the idea it’s doable. There is talk of legislation what would mandate drivers work on an hourly basis as opposed to the current per-mile model. This could do wonders for the trucking industry. Though it would likely force consumers to pay more for goods, it’s worth it so drivers could make a decent living. It is difficult to attract younger, tech-savvy drivers to the industry when they could be making more money sitting behind a computer and be home with their families every night.
It’s no secret that drivers aren’t typically the healthiest group of people. Last year The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health performed a study titled “Obesity and other risk factors: The National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury,” that showed truck drivers are twice as likely to be obese as the rest of the U.S. adult working population, as 69 percent of the drivers surveyed for the study were obese (relative to their body mass index). Seventeen percent were deemed to be morbidly obese. Show drivers you care about their well-being by offering preventive healthcare. Some companies now provide drivers with places to catch up on sleep and even gyms for working out.
Truck drivers play a critical role in our nation’s economy. Ensure they know their time and opinions are valued and that your company supports and cares for them. It’s time we treat this group of workers with the respect and compensation they deserve. Integrity on the part of your company and hiring process can go a long way in helping not only attract drivers, but keeping them.
The Center for Transportation Safety (CTS), a part of Element Fleet Management, a leading provider of fleet risk management and driver training solutions.