By: Robert Lawrence
With the trucking industry currently experiencing a national labor shortage and high churn, the time is now for fleet supervisors to push driver retention efforts.
Driver retention is crucial to a having a strong fleet. However, difficult schedules and work conditions can cause drivers to get restless. Retention efforts are more complex for drivers than for standard office workers, given the unique nature of the occupation, which includes long hours in a truck cab and getting paid by the mile and not by time on the job.
That being said, it’s not impossible for a company to reduce driver churn through retention efforts. Consider the following suggestions on how to keep your best drivers around for years and years.
The best way to keep drivers around is to simply ask them what they want. While many will say the obvious answer – more money – not all drivers are motivated to stick around by a paycheck. Drivers are individuals, and each individual driver has their priorities and needs.
Fleet managers that talk to their drivers may find out that female drivers want a cab that is modified to meet their particular needs, some drivers want a more generous vacation policy and some drivers would like performance bonuses.
Taking action on these customized retention measures can often be less than simply giving drivers a raise.
Mobile communication devices
Research studies reveal that dispatcher-driver communications have a tendency to take place in time-sensitive situations that put in priority operational relationships over interpersonal ones. Mobile communications devices can help promote a company-wide culture that values drivers as professionals, and helps companies move past a toxic “us versus them” mentality.
Communications devices can also help keep drivers moving. Whenever a truck is not doing anything, such as when the driver is waiting for the next load, it is wasted time. With telematics-equipped devices, planners can anticipate the truck’s workflow and allocate a return load before the trailer has completely offloaded
Mobile devices also can help decrease the time allocated to administrative tasks, such as driver inspection vehicle reports, compliance and other duties.
A good safety program is more than just a series of rules that drivers should follow. A good safety program should be developed with workers in mind and reinforce the idea that a company truly appreciates its workers.
Technology is allowing some drivers to not only work safer, but also be more productive. Technology solutions now allow both fleet managers and drivers to track information on truck acceleration, braking and speed – all of which can be used to inform safer and more productive driving habits that put less wear and tear on a vehicle. This information can also be included as part of an incentive program that rewards drivers with the safest habits.
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