truck driver satisfaction

Recruiters know that truck driver satisfaction is essential to ensuring long-term retention. Sometimes we naively believe that good pay, benefits, and home time are the only ingredients that go into the perfect satisfaction recipe. A 2017 study by TruckersReport.com, along with software firm OdinText, showed that this isn’t the case at all! The study used text analysis to evaluate comments on TruckersReport.com discussion boards. For veteran drivers, pay grade came in fifth among factors that influence job satisfaction. For both veterans and novices, one of the leading factors was if the company culture is ‘family-oriented”. While great pay and benefits are necessary for drivers to be satisfied with their carriers, it’s obvious that they aren’t enough. Here are 6 ideas to improve driver satisfaction and retention.

1. Equipment

Drivers don’t want to deal with shoddy equipment and recurring maintenance issues. Good equipment is one of the most cited factors that influence driver satisfaction with their carriers. Investing in newer model trucks and quickly resolving maintenance issues will signal to drivers that your carrier employs professionals who care about safety and image. Consider also investing in trucks with larger cabins with fleet amenities, such as kitchen appliances and satellite radio/TV to allow for more options during down time for drivers.

2. Ride along programs

Truck driving can be a lonely profession and hobbies can go only so far in combating boredom. OTR drivers have it particularly rough as they often go several days or even weeks without seeing their loved ones.

Including a passenger or pet ride along program shows your drivers that you care about their personal lives and happiness.

A pet policy lets drivers bring their canine or feline companions on the road with them. Spouse ride along policies gives drivers the flexibility to spend more time with their significant other without losing time away from the job. Driver satisfaction is guaranteed to improve if drivers get to spend more time with who they care about.

3. Health incentive programs

Truck driving has the reputation of being one of America’s “unhealthiest professions”. While drivers may not fault their carriers for the inherent risks of the job, they appreciate any efforts carriers make to minimize those risks. Many companies have been engaging in incentive programs to help drivers meet their health goals. These could be as simple as providing healthy sack lunches or break rooms with healthy options. On the other hand, they can be as ambitious as onsite fitness centers, discounted gym memberships, or wellness days with physicals and health assessments. There’s no doubt about it—overall driver satisfaction with the career and the job increases when drivers are healthier, so there’s no downside to prioritizing health.

4. Safety

Truck drivers know that the job comes with inherent risks of crashes and other dangers on the road. When carriers prioritize safety as a top concern within the organization, drivers take note and it will have an impact on their satisfaction.

Carriers can take many steps to address safety in their procedures and policies.

In addition to what the law requires, carriers can institute their own regulations for time behind the wheel, rest time, maximum speeds, and the rest. Make sure that equipment is well maintained and showcase to drivers that the company values their safety. Consider providing drivers with free hands-free devices for use where permitted, or a hassle-free streamlines maintenance request procedure.

5. Professional development

Trucking isn’t just a job for drivers, but a career path along which the current job may just be a stop on the road. The sooner recruiters realize that drivers have career ambitions and won’t stay in the current driving job forever, the sooner they can help facilitate process within their own carriers. Perhaps some drivers are looking for additional endorsements and certifications to make specialized runs. Carriers can help provide training for these and groom drivers toward those jobs with the same company. Other drivers may be looking to switch regions, or runs. Still other may eventually hope to become owner-operators, or retire and become trainers. All these jobs could be provided through your carrier. Drivers value loyalty so if your carrier invests in their professional development, they will reciprocate by sticking with the same company and being even more satisfied with the company.

6. The “little” things

The results of the study suggest that one of the biggest factors impacting driver satisfaction is the company’s culture. Drivers often look for carriers which are family-oriented.

What this really means is that family and loyalty are things drivers value. They are looking for carriers whose values align with their own.

If carriers value family, then your carrier will naturally offer benefits like strong home time, a pet policy, paid time off, or college scholarship funds for family members. Similarly, drivers want to be respected and treated like professionals. When recruiters, dispatchers, and fleet managers treat drivers like people and not simply leads, driver satisfaction will soar through the roof.

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Trucking recruiters are tasked with finding top candidates for a position, matching them to the right jobs, and converting them into drivers for the fleet. This is dependent on finding a high number of qualified candidates through driver applications. One reason why you may not have as many candidates in your talent pool is because some percentage of leads start driver applications but soon abandon them.

You’ll get more candidates if you are able to reduce application abandonment. Just imagine the kinds of stronger candidates you’ll have in consideration if 10% of candidates don’t quit in the middle of your application! Here are four suggestions of how to reduce driver application abandonment and get better candidates in your recruiting pipeline.

1. Application length

Put yourself in the place of your candidates and imagine why they may abandon the driver applications. Most drivers don’t want to spend their limited free time filling out lengthy and complex applications. In fact, this is the top reason job seekers quit in the middle of applications. If your applications are requiring too many details, or take too long, most drivers are going to move on to other tasks. Worst case, you may be losing these candidates to rival carriers who have optimized and shortened their applications.

Ideally, your driver application should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.

Instead of requiring drivers to provide all information up-front, focus on the basics and stick to questions that require simple answers. You can ask more detailed questions later, in your follow-up or in-person phone call.

2. Make applications mobile-friendly

Most drivers search and apply for jobs online through their smartphones. In this mobile-driven world, recruiters and fleet managers need to make sure they’re able to communicate and interface with drivers how they would prefer. Designing mobile-friendly applications means you’re able to meet drivers where they are and make driver applications easier for them.

Simply duplicating the web-based driver application for mobile devices introduces so many hassles, no wonder drivers abandon these!

Optimize your applications for a mobile-first experience by using mobile rendering, saved login information, and other useful features. Drivers will be more likely to complete applications which are quick and easy to complete on the go. They can easily access and submit these applications on their devices while waiting at truck stops or rest areas.

3. Avoid tedious steps

If your driver application is requiring candidates complete tedious steps, they’re going to abandon the application and run for the hills, or worse, to the next carrier’s application.

Nothing can be as difficult or tedious as requiring drivers to print or download something on the application.

These steps can be tough to complete if drivers are on their smartphones and looking at your applications while on a rest break. Using the proper software and encryption can go a long way toward drivers submitting the applications online without having to worry about their data being at risk. Build a safe and secure application on the back-end so as not to compromise the private information of candidates. E-signatures and other features make application submission simple, secure, and effective.

4. Be transparent

Your driver applications aren’t just simple tasks for candidates to complete as part of the hiring process. They’re also an integral part of the marketing and advertising for your fleet and carrier. Keeping this in mind, drivers will expect you to address their concerns about compensation, benefits, company culture, and other important topics. In this day and age, any reputation about your carrier has spread far and wide.

You can expect that your candidates have already heard everything about your company—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What you can do to handle this situation is practice 100% transparency. Perhaps your carrier can’t provide the latest truck models or the strongest benefits, but that is balanced by the company culture, safety record, and spouse policy. Be upfront about whatever concerns you think drivers may have and make it easy for interested candidates to contact you with questions. If you’re serious about avoiding long-term turnover, your carrier should do what it can to promote transparency.

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Reduce Application Abandonment

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As a recruiter in the fast-paced trucking industry, there are many challenges and obstacles in your job. You have a limited budget and need to fill a high number of driving positions within a short period of time. It’s tempting then, to treat truck driver candidates as leads instead of people. Treating drivers simply as a number will lead you to miss important information to help with your recruitment. Worse, it can be very off-putting to drivers who are looking to find meaning and value in their work. The truth is that treating drivers like people, and not just leads, is helpful to both recruiters and drivers. Here’s a look at why.

1. Reach targeted driver matches

Probably the biggest reason to treat drivers as people and not leads is because, well, they are people! Individual people have different skills, career goals, and job preferences. If you’re looking at candidates simply as leads without any specific qualities, you run the risk of believing that you can fill any job with any driver. Most recruiters know that drivers need to be qualified for particular jobs, but it goes beyond just qualifications.

To find the best matches for your jobs, you need to take into account driver preferences, and not just qualifications.

Some drivers may prefer less home time while others need to be with their families at least once every few days. Newer drivers may prefer the newest model trucks, while seasoned veterans would be more comfortable with classic and reliable models. Finding the right driver for each position requires you to get to know the priorities, goals, and preferences of each individual. Your recruiting becomes more precise and accurate when you treat drivers like people. From a driver perspective, it is also helpful because you’re meeting their needs and they’d be more likely to be productive and perform at their best level.

2. Make recruiting efficient

Recruiters have limited time and resources to fill a large number of jobs fairly quickly. As a recruiter, you may be tempted to contact an endless list of job candidates to quickly land hires. This may work in the short-term, but you’ll likely lose many of those drivers in just a few months. Focusing on quantity instead of quality will only work for so long, and you definitely won’t find the best drivers for job. As mentioned above, focusing on matches will help you hire the best candidate for each job. Treating drivers like individual people will also save you time by contacting and cultivating only your top matches.

Instead of losing time and money by blindly calling an endless list of candidates, you can invest your limited time on the top matches for each job.

Focus your energies on specific, interested drivers and move them through your recruiting pipeline all the way to onboarding. From the driver’s perspective, they would appreciate this as you can get their questions answered quickly without them waiting around too long. This also keeps the interaction about the specific jobs they want, instead of soliciting them about random jobs they weren’t ever interested in or suited for.

3. Recruit for retention

Treating drivers like people will help you recruit with more lasting value. Drivers who feel treated like people will be more likely to stick around longer. The trucking industry is notorious for high turnover, and some recruiters forget some of the solutions are this simple. The simple fact is that drivers don’t want to leave their carriers after just a few months. Most drivers would be very happy to find long-term jobs that fulfill all their needs and keeps them gainfully employed for many years. Drivers are simply looking for meaningful jobs that give them a sense that they belong.

Treating drivers like people is the only way they will feel dignified and respected as professionals.

This starts with carefully matching them with jobs that suit their needs but doesn’t stop there. Valuing truck drivers throughout their career means routinely checking in to make sure they are satisfied with the job. Driver engagement surveys and driver appreciation ideas all serve this same purpose. Drivers are sick of hearing empty promises which aren’t delivered on. Instead, be straightforward with them about what they can expect from the job, and what you can hope to realistically deliver to them. This refreshingly honest attitude can win drivers over. When drivers don’t feel lied to and cheated, they are less likely to leave your fleet.

When drivers are fully valued as individual people, you’re more likely to retain them for years on end.

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Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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One of the challenges facing recruiters is that many fleets are looking to hire the same drivers you are. You’re in competition for the same small pool of candidates. In general, the quicker you recruit, the more likely you are to catch the top drivers. The slower you are, the more likely it is that rivals will scoop up your preferred candidates. A quick and efficient onboarding process is one of the factors which will help you have the edge over your competitors. Onboarding involves the lead to hire process, which is what you implement once you’ve identified a viable candidate willing to sign with you. An onboarding process which isn’t efficient could be costing you drivers.

Lead velocity

To improve your onboarding process, it’s important to understand a concept called lead velocity. Lead velocity is a way to measure the length of your onboarding. It is a metric that tracks the average number of days it takes to turn a lead into a hire. Lead velocity is different across industries. According to research by the DHI Group, it takes about 25 days to convert a lead into a hire for the transportation industry. This may include employees who aren’t truck drivers, so the number might be a bit skewed. Your own lead velocity might end up being longer than that, depending on your budget and resources as a recruiter. Lead velocity will also vary based on driver type. For example, it’ll take longer to hire an owner-operator than to hire a company driver.

Whatever challenges you face, it’s important that you do everything you can to make sure your lead velocity is as low as possible

Shortening lead velocity

Think about what you are doing as a recruiter that is unnecessarily adding length to the lead velocity. Perhaps you’re taking too long to contact leads? Or waiting on drivers to submit their applications? If you have too many leads and not enough recruiters, it can add to lead velocity. Similarly, if you have too many unqualified leads, you’ll lose time searching for the diamond in the rough.

What you really need is a stronger screening method and matching system to help sort through unqualified leads and an overwhelming lead volume

Another solution is to take phone applications. Drivers are understandably pressed on time and will find it difficult to find time to fill lengthy paper or online applications. Consider going through the application with a driver over the phone and even filling it out for them. This shortens your lead velocity if you’re waiting for the ball on the other person’s court.

Onboarding and orientations

Once your drivers are further along in the recruiting pipeline, there’s still more you can do to ensure onboarding efficiency. Sometimes lead to hire time is affected by a slow orientation process.

Try to schedule orientations often, to allow your hires more options to attend the soonest one

If your closest orientation date is too far away, drivers will be tempted to sign with someone else because they don’t want to wait long to get to work. You can also time your orientations on days of the week that are more convenient for hires. For example, if you notice you sign many drivers on Mondays, then Wednesdays or Thursdays are good days to hold orientation—perhaps both! The very next day is too soon and you must respect that drivers may already have plans. Waiting until the next Monday is probably too late and risks losing that driver to a rival carrier. Offering two orientation dates per week also gives your hires flexibility since they may be unavailable on certain days of the week.

You should also conduct a review of your onboarding process every few months or so. Are there bottlenecks holding the process back? Too many forms to complete or too much time spent on the application? Identify the problem and try to shorten that step. Use metrics to compare lead velocity over different months, different types of jobs, and different locations. Lead velocity is an important component of an efficient onboarding process. Do whatever you can to shorten the lead velocity and you’ll be able to hire more drivers faster.

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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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Drive My Way matches drivers with companies based on professional qualifications and lifestyle choices.

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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

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Employee surveys are becoming a popular and strong way to measure the engagement and satisfaction with the job. Surveys can help get an idea of employee performance and retention. Other surveys will help employers understand their drivers better and get a sense of what is important to them. Read more

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The amount of organizations across the nation that are striving to attract and retain women truck drivers will only continue to increase. However, in order to achieve this, employers must make a few changes to how they are approaching recruiting women truckers.

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