How to Decrease Truck Driver Turnover & Improve Retention
4 Ways to Decrease Truck Driver Turnover
Truck driver turnover is a challenge faced by many businesses in the commercial transportation industry. In 2018, driver turnover rates reached 94% in the first quarter. Though this number is discouraging for fleet managers, there are effective ways to reduce truck and fleet driver turnover.
To reduce driver turnover, we must first understand the cause. Some of the reasons given for leaving a driving position include:
- Excess working hours: Humans crave social interaction, and long-haul drivers spend a lot of their time on the road by themselves. The impact of loneliness on the mental health of truck drivers is an increasingly discussed topic that contributes to high turnover rates.
- Unfair compensation: If paid per mile, truck drivers can have inconsistent wages, which causes their income to fluctuate. Providing stable wages can help them budget.
- Health risks: Fast food is often the most viable fare for truck drivers, which can lead to health complications such as poor nutrition and weight gain.
These are just a few of the reasons behind the high fleet driver turnover rate. Understanding the source of the problem will help you combat it.
Benefits of driver retention
Consider the benefits having a solid crew of drivers can provide. Since the gap between the number of drivers and the demand is increasing, investing in truck driver retention will set you apart from competitors. While others struggle to maintain positions on their team, you can meet supply and demand requirements and grow your business.
The influx of e-commerce business presents high demand for shipping companies and truck drivers. You can stay on top by having a reliable number of drivers to keep up with shipments and deliveries, which will help retain business so you can focus on growth instead of maintenance.
The average cost to hire a new truck driver is approximately $8,000, and wages are a primary reason for driver turnover. When turnover is high, fleet managers will often pay to hire repeatedly rather than raising wages for current employees. It's possible to address both issues at once and save thousands of dollars by paying your employees a higher wage or offering performance bonuses.
Improving driver retention saves you money, time, and labor costs, and it boosts company morale. Focus on creating a community amongst your staff and give your employees job security. You will build a reliable network of drivers and provide excellent service to your clients.
4 ways you can improve driver retention
There are a few key ways to decrease fleet and truck driver turnover and improve your business's performance. Start by finding a system to maintain driver satisfaction that works for your company.
1. Improve workflows
Streamline your workflow with user-friendly technology. Fleet management systems can remind truck drivers to do a start-of-day inspection, submit fuel reports, and record delivery proofs. Installing new technology to connect dispatchers and drivers can keep everyone working in sync.
Truck drivers have many tasks to complete during the day to ensure FMCSA compliance. A mobile application or in-cab technology makes completing these workflows throughout the day significantly easier. Productivity and job satisfaction will increase with simplified tasks and clear expectations.
2. Increase communication
Creating open channels of communication can help every person in your business. Even if the information does not pertain to a specific group, they will feel important because they know everything going on in the company. When you introduce new procedures, be sure you take the time to inform everyone who might be affected — your drivers will feel respected and involved in the company processes.
Keep an open line of communication between fleet managers and drivers as well. Building trust will open up conversations about the problems the driver faces, and then you can address these problems to show you hear them. Even in instances of disagreement, increasing communication will strengthen a feeling of unity within the team.
3. Increase engagement
Employees are more likely to stay at a company when they feel engaged with their work environment. Being honest and open in interviews about the job and its expectations, promoting ongoing communication, and focusing on feedback is vital to increasing employee engagement.
You should remind your drivers they are part of the team, even when they are on the road. If you recognize their hard work, they will feel appreciated. To engage workers, you can:
- Create productivity goals for drivers.
- Acknowledge when an employee excels at a task.
- Note any personal bests or accomplishments.
- Use surveys to ask your employees how you can improve their work environment.
The key behind employee engagement is to remind drivers that their work matters and you value their contributions to your company. Treat workers like they are irreplaceable and come from a place of knowledge. When you concern yourself with their wellness, they will be more inclined to stick with your business.
4. Provide education or training
Show your drivers you care about their safety with ongoing training in best practices for the industry. Ongoing training with the latest information will help protect your drivers and make them feel valued. Written and video training should be used together for a detailed approach.
Instead of limiting professional development to a single session when an employee is hired, executives should implement regular training. Using video telematics to highlight unsafe behaviors and promote positive alternatives is one way to engage your employees, reward responsible drivers, and limit your liability.
Dedicating time to research and learning will also save you time later on, as hiring new employees will require you to repeat training.
How fleet management solutions can help
Software and improved technology can create a connection between a driver and their manager, no matter how far away they are. Investing in in-cab technology will help with safety, uniting the team and improving communication.
Rand McNally fleet management solutions allow fleet managers to monitor drivers' performance and other metrics with ease. Digital tools such as Rand McNally Fleet Portal help streamline deliveries and workloads and ease hands-free communication between dispatchers and drivers. You can use these services to monitor any dangerous behaviors and reward excellence, both of which show your consideration for your drivers.
Rand McNally provides fleet management solutions to help unite your team. Contact us today to request pricing and a demo of our products.