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5 Truck Driver Retention Strategies to Boost Fleet Performance

Isidora Markovic
Isidora Markovic

Retaining employees is an ongoing endeavor for companies across sectors, and with good reason. Holding onto the talent you have is key to reducing business costs and improving company-wide performance.

In the last quarter of 2020, smaller freight businesses saw a churn rate of 72% while large fleets averaged a 90% annualized churn rate.

This actually marked a percentage point reduction in turnover, but according to the American Trucking Association’s Chief Economist, this was simply down to truckers’ workloads making it difficult to find time to switch jobs, rather than out of any great loyalty to their company.

In a climate when more pressure than ever is being put on truckers, retaining employees within transportation and logistics should be top of mind.

Read on for strategies companies operating in this space can employ to improve driver retention…

1. Ask for (and act on) driver feedback

Employees are the backbone of any organization. By asking for driver feedback, you empower them with a voice to be heard. Seeking feedback from employees signals you value their input, and has been shown to improve their on-the-job performance by 2.4 times.

However, asking is not enough - feedback must be acted on, or at the very least acknowledged, otherwise it can have the reverse effect and detriment engagement, performance and loyalty.

Use pulse surveys to establish clear communication with brief but regular check-ins. Pulse surveys get up to 55% more engagement than a conventional employee engagement survey does.

How do you administer these? Ideally via mobile - straight to your fleets phones, so they can quickly check and complete the single-question pulse while at at a service station, or prior to their shift.

Mobile training technologies free you from the limitations of face-to-face information sessions and mean can go paperless with your communications - a boon when you have a largely remote ‘deskless’ workforce.

2. Consider the wellbeing of your fleet drivers

Transport and logistics workers have been essential for keeping the global economy moving this past year. And truckers have been one of the groups at the forefront of the crisis.

Despite this, many don’t get the support or benefits many other workers take for granted e.g. sick pay. While you can’t buy loyalty, staying competitive on pay rates and benefits is an obvious way to keep great drivers on board.

A survey of 2000 employees by Aviva found that traditional benefits could help employees choose to stay in their role. Other benefits such as a wellness allowance to support mental and physical wellbeing was more highly regarded than ‘soft benefits’ like social events.

The perks that initially attract employees change in importance when it comes to deciding whether or not to stay. Work-life balance, people, and the benefits package all rise in importance once someone has joined your team.

3. Provide upskilling opportunities

Transport and logistics companies tend to have a bad reputation for offering ‘dead-end’ roles. This image can easily be turned around by developing drivers with regular training. The benefits are multiple - increased engagement of your workforce, a company brand that attracts higher quality talent, and best of all, retention of your top trucking talent.

Clear lines for career progression matter to employees in many sectors. When it comes to logistics and employee retention, it’s no different. Companies rated highly on their employee training see 93% less attrition. Access to knowledge facilitated by employers is becoming increasingly important to the workforce at large.

Opportunities to advance skills and grow professionally engender feelings of loyalty. If a company is willing to deliver strong onboarding, training and provide ongoing driver training and professional development opportunities, people are far more likely to stick around.

4. Encourage workplace connections

Healthy workplace relationships and feeling like an integral part of a successful team matter. 50% of employees with a ‘best friend’ at work feel a strong connection to their company.

Gallup found that having a friend at work improves performance, employee retention, and even a business’ bottom line. And a more recent study by an HR firm found that the more friends an employee had at work, the more resistant they were to offers from competitors.

Traditionally, workplace relationships at haulage companies and other logistics businesses can be fostered through employee mentoring programs. E.g. ‘buddying’ a more senior employee with a new recruit.

Another option lies in remote learning solutions, which help keep distributed workforces up to date on the latest, feeling connected to the company, and even enable an exchange of top tips or best practices between peers.

5. Provide ongoing equipment maintenance

Having the right equipment to do the job increases employee satisfaction and safety. Happy employees are far less likely to leave.

Ensuring equipment is maintained to a high standard with up-to-date tools for drivers are provided are part and parcel of driver safety. Regular preventative maintenance of trucks and other equipment should be part of any logistics business’ schedule.

Technologies such as forward-facing dashcams, and electronic logging devices can empower drivers while protecting them from false claims. Similarly, regular safety training lets drivers know that their safety and wellbeing are important to the business.

Along with ensuring all equipment is in good working order, drivers should know how to use any new technology that is introduced. Not only will this keep you legally compliant and reduce costs (on account of fewer workplace incidents and injuries), companies with safety first cultures have higher retention rates.

The takeaway…

There is no quick fix, or silver bullet solution to truck driver retention. Instead, a range of strategies must be employed, and employed in an ongoing manner.

Start by considering drivers’ needs and supporting their wellbeing, acting on feedback, encouraging greater workplace connections and delivering engaging learning, and you’ll create an environment in which people truly feel safe, valued and are empowered to perform at their best, delivering the business results you desire.

eduMe is a mobile-based training tool that puts relevant information of the hands of those who need it, wherever they are. Our Workforce Success platform is used by leading brands worldwide, and has achieved results like fewer injuries, less money and time spent on training and higher engagement for logistics companies.

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