Hiring new truck drivers comes at a high price. If you want to significantly cut costs and maintain a healthy work environment, focusing on driver retention is your best bet. Not sure how to retain truck drivers? Keep reading.
Trucking industry demands are high, and they’re increasing each year. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), trucks transport about 72.5 percent of American freight (by weight). Despite the demands, there is still a shortage of drivers—and current drivers rarely stay in one place long. ATA reported that the turnover rate for large fleets was a whopping 92 percent in 2020, while the rate for smaller carriers was 72 percent.
If you want to keep truckers longer (which every company should wish for, if they know what’s best for them), you might need to get creative and thoughtful about your processes. Basically, drivers need to feel happy enough with you to stick around.
Here are some of the best places to start.
1. Show (and Remind) Drivers That You Care
It’s about more than saying your company values drivers—you have to show it with your actions, too.
Drivers mention respect as one of the most significant issues after the hiring process. A shocking number of truckers report that they feel they’re working a thankless job. Companies must recognize that working hard with little recognition will cause stress and resentment in any employee.
Stand out by being the company that does better:
- Look for ways to increase driver appreciation, such as a mentorship program for new hires where they learn from more experienced employees.
- Prioritize better work-life balance, especially for employees who get married or have children after being hired.
- Routinely check in with drivers about their level of job satisfaction, and ask what they need.
- Be understanding about the need for time off, and try to provide proper notice regarding work schedules.
Of course, the job requires being on the road for long hours. Drivers should understand this, but they’re also human. Create an environment that is sustainable if you want to retain truck drivers the longest.
2. Pay Better (Plus Benefits)
Besides a lack of respect, pay is another big factor in poor driver retention. Improve your retention rates by improving your pay and benefit options. For example, you might offer a minimum amount of guaranteed miles per week. Even when a per-mile rate is fair, paying by the mile can lead to low overall compensation if weekly miles are low.
Other pay improvements can include:
- Higher pay rates on weekends
- Yearly raises
- Performance and sign-on bonuses
- Switching from per-mile to hourly pay
You can also stay competitive by paying for retirement and health insurance benefits. Many companies put the burden of premiums on drivers. Covering the costs, if you can, will set you apart, especially with younger drivers who have fewer health-related costs. And while you’re at it, think about the quality of what you offer for vacation, sick pay, and more.
3. Upgrade Your Technology
Every year, there are updates in technology that make life easier. Trucking is an enormous and necessary industry; why not make things simpler for your drivers? They’ll stay longer if they feel you’re keeping up with modern processes that help them do their jobs best.
New trucks and advanced systems can keep drivers safe, provide more comfort and less stress, and make the vehicles easier to operate. Take a look at what might be possible as far as upgrades.
4. Freshen Up Your Recruiting Methods
Traditional recruiting methods can work, but they shouldn’t be your only strategy. The newest generation of drivers was raised with technology and social media. They also expect more from their employers. Consider both of these points when recruiting new drivers.
If you want to attract and retain quality employees, you have to go where they’re spending time—and speak their language.
When a job isn’t working, drivers notice it fast. That includes their experience with the recruiting process. That’s why, at AMG Driver Recruitment, we use a unique, multi-channel recruiting strategy to get you in front of the best potential candidates. Reach out today to learn more.