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Driver Retention: What’s the Key?

10/08/09

Driver Retention: What’s the Key?

  02:59:09 pm, Categories: efficiencies , Tags: driver retention

With the cost of hiring a new, never-before-seen-or-tested truck driver, purported by some employment specialists to be approaching $5000.00, how can I keep the good drivers I have now? This is a good question. Hardly any trucking company today, large or small, can afford to part with $5000.00 looking for a driver to replace a valued employee who decided to "get off the road."

From my early days in the trucking industry, I have always said, "Driver turnover is as common as changing one’s socks. It seems it's the very nature of the beast. Drivers are so used to moving from one location to another in their daily activities – pickups, deliveries, etc. – that moving from one company to another seems to be an acceptable behavior." How do we change that?

What is the key or keys that will keep a good driver happy enough to stay with your company for 20 or 30 years? Here are a few suggestions that I have found successful and might help you as well.

1) Remember your drivers are people! They have feelings, desires, expectations, and goals. If you and your dispatchers show genuine interest in these feelings, desires, expectations, and goals, your drivers will understand that you care about them. When employees feel the company cares about them, they are less likely to look for other employment.

2) Be realistic in your expectations. Remember your drivers are not you! They are trying to do the best they can amidst all of the government regulations that are directed specifically at them.

3) Keep your equipment in good working order. No one likes to drive a piece of junk that has to be herded down the road. If you have ever driven long haul and had to fight or repair the equipment every step of the way you know what I mean. If you haven’t had this unpleasant opportunity, consider the last time your automobile broke down…was that a pleasant experience?

4) Ask your drivers for input. I am not suggesting that you let your drivers run your company. On the contrary, I strongly state that drivers should not be allowed to run your company, but they have ideas that can help. They are the ones talking to your shippers, receivers and brokers; they are the ones that portray your company image, regardless of what you think your company image may be. And finally;

5) Be competitive in your pay scale and the benefits you offer. Remember points 1) thru 4) will help keep the drivers, but you have to be competitive enough for any driver to want to look at you in the first place.

Good drivers are worth their weight in gold. If you will treat them as if they are gold, your drivers will be content, happy, eager to help grow your business, and less likely to "look for something better."

Dale Clark
TruckMaster Solution Provider
TruckMaster Your Trucking Company

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