healthy trucker

As an industry, truck driving isn’t known for offering the healthiest lifestyle. Between the odd schedule and the long hours spent behind the road, the job takes a toll on truck drivers’ sleep, diet, and exercise. The good news is that recruiters and fleet managers can help turn their drivers into healthy truckers. There are many reasons to encourage healthy lifestyles. New drivers will be more likely to join your fleet once they know that you make health a priority. Your current drivers will be happier, healthier, and more productive. Healthy truckers will be less likely to leave because of chronic illnesses and more likely to drive for your fleet longer. While you can’t require or force healthy behavior from your drivers, there are other ways to encourage and influence it.

1. Inform and educate

The earliest and most important influence you can have is to inform and educate your drivers about how to engage in a healthier lifestyle. You can create an entire awareness campaign around topics like sleep, regular exercise, and proper diet. While drivers may know the importance of these factors on their health, they may not be aware of the specifics. As a fleet manager, your role can be to collect and distill this information into the most important points, and then distribute this knowledge among your fleet.

There’s no lack of information out there about which exercise routines and diets are the best. Make sure to keep your research simple and use reliable sources.

When sharing this information with drivers, make sure to keep it short and sweet. Too much unnecessary information just serves as noise and will drown out your message. Sharing simple videos or graphics is a good practice which adds a visual element to help remember. Finally, your awareness campaign should be constant so that drivers hear the message repeated many times. Informing drivers about a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be something that you implement only during onboarding and then never mention again.

2. Empower and provide

Creating a fleet of healthy truckers isn’t going to magically happen after just educating drivers about it. Once drivers know the details about how they’d like to be healthier, they often get stuck in the actual implementation. In order to implement a healthier lifestyle, drivers need to be empowered by resources you can provide.

We know not every carrier can provide the best gym equipment or the best work schedule. However, that doesn’t mean that your fleet can’t provide anything at all either. The truth is that every fleet can provide some resources that will help their drivers be healthier.

Given the importance of health to your fleet’s success, it’s crucial that carriers provide resources as much as they can. This could be as simple as a map of truck stops with the best gyms, or a list of healthy restaurants on the routes your drivers take most often. If you have even more resources, you could invest in providing each driver with some basic exercise equipment like kettleballs or jump rope. Many drivers have turned to cooking their own meals in the cabin and basic amenities like a crockpot or microwave would empower them to cook healthy dishes.

3. Nudge and incentivize

Remember that it’s not just up to drivers whether they choose to be healthy truckers or not. The environment and other people are factors as well. You shouldn’t require or force your drivers to do anything, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive influence in small ways. The latest social science shows us that people can influence desirable behavior without being coercive. Use the power of habit and routine to encourage drivers to change behavior.

For example, you can leave a friendly package of healthy snacks for drivers before their runs during their first few weeks on the job. Soon they’ll form the habit of preferring those snacks to sugary sodas and salty chips.

Drivers will start looking for those snacks at the truck stops themselves. Or you can leave coupons to healthy restaurants for the same effect. You may persuade your drivers to prefer getting deli sandwiches and cold cuts instead of greasy burgers. You can also create friendly competitions or games among your drivers to incentivize healthier behavior. Offer simple perks for those who win- remember that it’s more about the process than the specific reward.

4. Motivate and inspire

No matter how hard people try and succeed in changing their behaviors, it doesn’t stick unless they feel motivated and inspired to keep it up. Providing incentives to be healthier won’t be as effective as recognizing positive changes. Make sure to find ways your carrier can recognize healthier patterns of behavior such as a different diet, change in exercise routine, or other measures. This way you can use company culture to inspire more drivers to become healthy truckers. Careful in using recognition because it can often backfire if not done well!

One method is to use the feedback “sandwich”. Your feedback is best when it starts with something positive, then includes mentioning how to improve, and ending with something positive again. Aim to reward positive changes, and not punish undesirable changes. You may want to recognize a driver who has lost weight or combated an illness, while not putting others down at the same time. This way you can encourage support systems between drivers instead of individual competition. Using company resources to motivate and inspire your fleet reminds drivers that they are all in this together and can all become healthy truckers.

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

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When putting together your driver incentive programs package, there’s a few things to keep in mind. Think about what is a perceived benefit to your drivers, and whether it will also help you attain your overall company goals. Striking a good balance between the two is where the best incentive programs will be created.  Regardless if you’re putting your first incentive program in place, or looking to tweak your current offerings, we can help. Here are the key ideas you need to evaluate for your truck driver incentive programs.

What Are the Best Types of Incentives?

You should have a handle on what motivates your team of drivers. Listen to your drivers’ needs. Work to understand what encourages them. Then you can find a relevant set of driver incentive programs to put into place.

Are you falling short with on-time deliveries? Are your fuel efficiency metrics not being met? Is turnover too high? These are great places to start designing incentives to encourage change.

  • Additional Compensation: This is usually the go-to for any driver incentive program. Reward your drivers with cash if they achieve a stated goal within a certain time frame. That can be either a raise in their hourly rate, or an additional check that goes on-top of their normal take home pay. Cash rewards are fairly standard. And you can use them at any time. Even as part of their hiring process, to encourage them to stay with the company.
  • Recognition Rewards: Giving drivers something other than a financial incentive can sometimes be greater influence on positive behavior. A certificate, their name on a plaque somewhere prominent, or even a mention in a company newsletter to acknowledge their accomplishment could be more impactful than money could ever be. This type of reward is something that they’ll have forever, and the memory and sense of appreciation might last far longer than the bonus ever would.
  • Catalog Programs: Some companies choose to have achieving small milestones accumulate points over time. Then they can redeem those point for items in a catalog. These types of programs can help change behavior consistently over time. Your drivers might be working towards a new gadget that they’d love to have. Or even better, something that they know that their spouse would really love as a gift!

Cons of Incentives

Your truck driver incentive programs should work in conjunction with your overall goals, not in competition. When putting incentives in place you should take the time to ensure that you’re only going to encourage best practices, not accidentally promote conflict.

  • Unhealthy competition: As mentioned before, you want to be sure you strike the right balance with your driver incentive programs. Don’t create an environment where drivers are pushed to be cutthroat with each other. The last thing you’d want to do is fix one problem, and inadvertently create an unhealthy workplace where your drivers don’t act as a team.
  • Cutting corners: If the incentives are perceived as extremely worthwhile, or that drivers are in a race to achieve the goals first, it might lead to drivers taking shortcuts in their daily driving. This is something that should be clearly discouraged when you implement your driver incentive programs. Goals should never be encouraged to be met at the cost of safety or compliance.
  • Disengagement: Fairness is very important when establishing any type of new reward programs. If a driver immediately thinks “I could NEVER achieve that goal”, they might tune out and become disengaged. This would be a terrible outcome of a driver incentive program. Not only would it not help with the goals you’re trying to help achieve, you might lose an otherwise happy driver.

Incentive Programs Implementation

You want to foster an environment of fairness, so that working towards the incentives don’t unintentionally create new problems. When you put these truck driver incentive programs in place, fairness is a key measure of success.

  • Measure consistently: You should be able to easily measure any progress toward driver goals objectively. Be sure that the rules in place for your programs are clear as to how results are tallied, and by when. At the end of the time frame for achieving them has passed, everyone should be able to see where they landed in relation to the goals.
  • Be fair: Fairness should be built into any employee program. This might require a tiered or scaled approach depending on the variety of the runs and types of drivers you have. There’s always a way to be different and still keep things fair. This is the best way to avoid disengagement with your programs. It also ensures that each driver feels a sense of belonging to the overall company goals.

Truck driver incentive programs should help drivers feel recognized and companies meet their goals. Companies should put plans in place that reward positive work practices, and make your drivers feel acknowledged. This fosters a sense of satisfaction that can lead to better driver retention. The types of incentives you can implement are varied and can take some time to get them just right for your teams. When you’re ready to put an incentive program in place, be sure that the rules are fair and the objectives are clear.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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Trucking recruiters are invaluable to their carriers. Recruiters find and interview leads, identify top talent, send them job offers, and shepherd drivers through training and orientation. Without strong recruiters, truck driving jobs would remain unfilled and trucks would be sitting idle. Recruiters are especially important for a tough industry like trucking which faces unique obstacles. Here are 4 challenges facing trucking recruiters.

1. Driver shortage

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way: the biggest challenge for anyone in this industry is the driver shortage. The truck driver shortage has increased, and the industry is lacking about 60,000 drivers. The driver shortage will continue and grow over the next few years, even taking into account a rise in autonomous trucks. While the driver shortage affects the entire industry and economy, it’s a major challenge for recruiters. Finding the best talent for your carriers is extremely difficult when the pool of candidates is narrow. Worse still, these candidates are courted by many carriers simultaneously, so it’s difficult to entice them with something the top carriers can’t match.

2. Unqualified leads

Even when you find drivers in the midst of the shortage, about 50% of your leads will not be viable. Recruiting is a matching game—you can’t just pick any driver for any kind of trucking job. While sorting through dozens of candidates you’ll find that over half are unqualified, uninterested, inexperienced, or otherwise inappropriate for the job. Meanwhile, you’ll have wasted time and precious recruiting budget on pursuing dead leads.

Instead of recruiting blindly, what you really need is a stronger matching or screening system.

3. High turnover

As if the driver shortage wasn’t enough, trucking recruiters also deal with high turnover. Once a carrier finally lands a top driver, it’s not as if they will always stick around for long. In fact, many fleets are losing more drivers than they recruit each year. Carriers can use incentives like signing bonuses, but those aren’t geared toward retention. Strong retention starts with strong recruiting, so it helps if you only hire drivers who are a good match. Survey your drivers to better meet their needs and match their values will also help reduce the chances they are enticed by job offers from rivals. Still, building a solid company culture which nurtures driver loyalty can be a long-term investment that is easier said than done.

4. Budget allocation

You only have so much money you can spend on recruiting. What and where to spend that money on are challenging questions facing all trucking recruiters. Today there are many more recruiting channels than ever before and carriers want to spread a wide net, reaching as many drivers as possible. At the same time, you may be wasting money if you allocate it toward recruiting methods that just aren’t effective. Measuring your recruiting effectiveness is an essential task that can help you allocate your budget efficiently, reach more drivers, and save money. Nevertheless, spending that kind of research is time-consuming in itself.

What recruiters really need are strong tools which help them recruit very efficiently through different channels suited for location and job type

 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

Get the Ebook

truck driver career path

Truckers looking into a new job almost always have a lot of questions about the carriers they’re considering. They want to know what things look like in a month, in a year, in 5 years or even in 20 years. Being able to provide that information to a prospective new employee up-front could give you the edge in getting that driver hired today! So with the driver shortage and the hiring process as it is today, what is the Importance of a truck driver career path for your drivers?

Training to Hire

With all of the talk about the driver shortage, there’s much renewed interest in driving a truck for a living. For those completely new to the industry, the first thing they need to do is get training to get their CDL license.

Whether you offer your own training program, or partner with a local truck driver training school, be sure to let all potential drivers know that you’ve got a job for you once you graduate.

Be clear about what you expect and what they can expect. That can take a lot of stress off a trainee knowing that if they work hard and get through the training program, their next steps are already mapped out.

Driving for Life

Incentivize longevity. This can be through anniversary certificates or awards. Or even financial incentives that pay out after certain milestones are met.  You can also provide opportunities for continuous education to keep skills sharp. And training to ensure that your drivers are always up-to-date with current technology and regulations.

Be overt about the amount of possible driving options you have for your drivers. Different phases of their lives could change their preferences about time at home vs. time away.

Equipment preferences can change. Or even how much money they need to make at various stages in their lived. Knowing that you’ve got them covered at all steps, is an advantage to help you retain drivers. And this helps drivers feel confident in their role as a driver for your company.

Non-Driving Roles

Sometimes drivers have a need to pull in off the road for good. For whatever reason. But when they’re a good employee and not yet ready for retirement, what kind of truck driver career path might be mapped out in those situations. Often times good drivers can become the best instructors. Or even move into a role in the dispatch office or operations management.

Letting a driver know that these options are available to them along the way might make those transitions from the road to the office smoother when the time comes.

Paint the picture early for your drivers that you have a truck driver career path formulated for them at every stage of their lives. And advertise this on your website and other recruitment materials. For those new to the industry, be clear about your training programs and what comes next. Once they’re ready to hit the road on their own, give great options that fit their lifestyle at each phase. If they grow weary on the road, or can no longer drive, communicate other options for them outside of the 18 wheels. Doing this can instill an additional sense of loyalty to you from your drivers and help you to retain the best drivers.

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smoking cessation

Smoking cessation programs are a great benefit to anyone looking to quit smoking. CDC statistics show that anywhere from 30%-50% of all truck drivers smoke cigarettes daily. Add this heath risk to an already stressful and sedentary occupation, truck drivers can be extremely prone to a plethora of adverse health conditions or diseases.

According to the American Lung Association: Smoking-related illness in the U.S. costs more than $300 billion a year, including over $175 billion in direct medical care for adults and $156 billion in lost productivity.

Employers can save nearly $6,000 per year for every employee who quits smoking.

Knowing this, what can you do to help your drivers kick the smoking habit for good? What kind of smoking cessation programs and incentives could work most effectively for your drivers?

Every driver has a unique personality. And their individual preferences and behaviors will certainly vary. So when putting together smoking cessation programs for your company, know that a one-size-fits-all approach might not work best. Providing options here might be a great idea. After all, you want to ensure the highest success rates possible. This will lead to healthier drivers and a healthier bottom line at the end of the year.

Change the Habit

Quitting smoking is undoubtedly very difficult. Otherwise, it would be easy for smokers to just decide to quit and stick with it. Breaking the habit by changing behaviors is a great place to start.

Offer small incentives for truckers who take steps to quit. Offer your drivers access to apps or web tools that help them stick with it once they decide to stop smoking.

There are a number of free programs available online that might help. Offers are available for coaching, hotlines, webinars and guides. All of these tools can add to the success of your company’s smoking cessation goals.

Smokeless Options

Many former smokers have found success quitting using any number of smokeless options. Though these still deliver nicotine to the body, the harmful byproducts of cigarettes are eliminated while the smoker gradually cuts back until they’ve officially quit.

Giving your truckers samples or discounts/coupons to the various patches, gums or e-cigarette options available can be a great help to someone seeking to stop smoking.

Some of these manufacturers have free programs via their websites, and offer coupons that you could provide to your employees.

Medication

There are several medications available that can aid a smoker who’s trying to break the habit. Some products are available over the counter at most drug stores. And there are many different types of prescription drugs available that can help. Making sure that these options are included in your company’s medical benefits package is a great way to encourage successful smoking cessation programs.

Giving your truckers access or discounts to these medications via their health insurance or HSA/HRA programs can lessen the expense for your drivers.

Giving your truckers access to a variety of smoking cessation tools and programs will ensure that you’re doing all you can to help your drivers lead healthier, longer lives. Helping them change their habits, and providing help with substitutes and medications can pay for themselves with cost savings at the end of the year. If you’re looking for additional tools to help your drivers lead healthier lives, download our ebook.

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

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otr truck driver

Hiring and retaining drivers in the trucking industry can be a tricky business. It can be even more difficult to hire and retain over the road (OTR) drivers because you want these drivers to be the best in your fleet. OTR driving represents the most challenging type of driver work, so you want to hire and retain the cream of the crop for this elite cadre. Since it can be a challenge to fill these jobs, you’ll want to think about smart methods to retain them and reduce turnover as well. Here are five tips on how to hire and retain OTR drivers.

1. What to look for

As we have written about before, good hiring starts with narrowing the candidate pool to those who are the best fit for the job.

There’s no doubt about it: OTR drivers are the best in the business and their work is more challenging than local runs in many ways.

You should look for strong behavioral characteristics that will predict reliability, flexibility, and communication in your talent pool. Yes, these are good attributes for any driver in your fleet, but they suit the OTR job particularly well. Look for someone with strong independence and ability to manage and maintain their own workload and commitments with ease. Demonstration of organizational skills, and the ability to adapt to quickly changing situations is a plus.

Good communication skills are essential, as OTR drivers will be coordinating with fleet managers, dispatchers, and reps from shippers and receivers. Attention to detail is another must, since drivers need to be responsible for reporting their logs with accuracy and consistency. Finally, a knack for learning new skills is especially useful for OTR drivers. Remember, they may have to adapt to quick changes and be adept at mechanical troubleshooting and working with new technology and equipment.

2. How to conduct the interview

If you’re interviewing a candidate, they have already passed your first round of evaluation for the job. Clearly, they possess the minimum qualifications and experience, and display some interest for your fleet and the OTR job. During the in-person interview, it’s your job to ascertain whether they are well suited for the OTR runs, or just the other local runs in your fleet. You can start by learning more about their personality and character. Look for the attributes detailed above and ask about specific instances or experiences where they demonstrated those traits.

Apart from the typical behavioral interview, you can also mix it up a bit. You can ask about how they would react in hypothetical situations or what they liked or disliked about previous jobs.

Having an open conversation about career goals, work-life balance, and home-time is incredibly important.

Remember that you’re trying to determine fit and maximize retention. Maybe this candidate isn’t the best for this job if they’re about to start a family, or if they’re looking to move on to a different fleet in just a few months. Consider inviting the driver’s partner or spouse to the interview to discuss important topics openly. Don’t forget to ask about issues which especially impact OTR drivers, like equipment breakdowns or real-time monitoring.

3. Hiring and onboarding process

Once you’ve identified a strong candidate, be sure to make a job offer quickly. Remember, the number one reason that drivers decline jobs is because they got scooped by another carrier sooner. You need a quick process for any hire, but especially for the elite OTR drivers. Once you’ve made the hire the story isn’t complete. Your work in retaining that driver starts from day one. Before they start the job, enroll the driver in your orientation and onboarding process. If your fleet doesn’t have formal onboarding, you should really consider implementing one.

Onboarding does a lot more than familiarizing your drivers to company policies and employees. Basically, onboarding will start doing the slow work of embedding the driver into your company’s culture. Remember that most drivers are looking for a meaningful job which speaks to their values and needs.

If your company can start signaling that its values are in line with the driver’s values, it starts to build long-term loyalty and a sense of belonging.

Remind your drivers that they are essential to the success of your fleet and that your company is here to be good to them. Building this relationship will go a long way toward retention.

4. Conduct employee surveys

Retention efforts start with the first day but must also be continually reinforced. A great mechanism for improving OTR driver retention is conducting periodical employee surveys. Surveys have a dual function: they help evaluate employee satisfaction and give you the opportunity to give feedback to drivers. Measuring employee satisfaction will give you constant data on what kinds of things employees enjoy and which needs aren’t being met. Include options on the survey for employees to detail their preferences if something isn’t working out for them. Collecting data on employee preferences isn’t enough—you should advocate for your drivers’ preferences as much as you can. Ideally, you’re able to effect some change that impacts drivers. Even if you aren’t, the drivers will appreciate that you tried your best.

While conducting surveys, take the opportunity to pass along feedback to your OTR drivers.

It is a misconception that drivers aren’t interested in hearing feedback from their fleet.

If a driver expresses frustration about negative feedback from the company, it more likely has to do with how that feedback was given. Including positive feedback along with suggestions for improvement is a tried and tested method. Drivers want feedback on their performance to have a sense of accomplishment and to have guidelines and direction for improvement.

5. Training and professional development

Retaining OTR drivers means giving them reasons to stick around longer with the company.

Your drivers care about independence and freedom, but also professional success.

If drivers believe they’ll be doing the same OTR run with you for years, they are going to start looking elsewhere. Any retention program has opportunities for further training and professional development. Training could be for more advanced certifications and permits. Maybe your drivers are looking to add hazmat or tanker endorsements to their belt.

In addition, see to it that your company offers leadership and teamwork workshops. These help build strong transferable skills—they benefit any employee regardless of the type of work they do. These opportunities help OTR drivers build more skills that they can use in their current job. Rather than taking these skills from your workshops and then running to a different fleet, drivers will feel grateful that you invested in their professional development. This fosters a sense of loyalty and identity to the company and makes it more likely that drivers will stick around with you longer.

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Hire Qualified OTR Drivers

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best-trucking-companies

Truck drivers are constantly bombarded with information by companies about why they are great to work for. They also hear about companies through their reputation with other drivers. Both seasoned drivers and rookies are interested in hearing about the best truck driving companies to work for. The top companies have some of the best salaries and compensation, benefits, and other perks. But more importantly, they also prioritize home time, have a strong company culture, and are known for respecting their drivers.

Ultimately, the best companies are the ones that suit the individual needs of drivers, including that of region, type of runs and hauls. Nevertheless, there are some companies that consistently rank high, regardless of preferences. Here are 6 of the best truck driving companies to work for in 2019, in no particular order.

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Billboard

High turnover and the enduring truck driver shortage make your fleet’s recruitment efforts of supreme importance. Advertising jobs to drivers is one of the first steps in strong recruitment. If drivers don’t see your ads, there is no chance of them applying to your jobs. Driver recruitment advertising is completely different than it was about 10 years ago. As always, advertising means you should meet drivers where they are and speak their language. If you’re not taking advantage of changing trends and best practices, you’re risking losing the best drivers to rival carriers. Here are 6 things wrong with your truck driver advertising you can improve on.

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truck-driver-turnover

Trucking carriers and drivers are both intimately familiar with the extent of truck driver turnover that exists in the industry. Many trucking carriers have experienced a “revolving door”—constantly needing to hire new drivers because current drivers are leaving the company. Many drivers have also worked for several companies within the span of a few years and very few find a stable driving job that allows them to build a long relationship with the same company. Read more

team-driver

Employers put a lot of time and effort into hiring on new drivers and are always looking for ways to maximize the return on those hires. One way to keep trucks on the road longer each day is to leverage truck driving teams. Carriers often invest in the best trucks and equipment, pay premium rates, and give priority loads to team drivers. In return, they need those teams to be stable and hard-working.

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