team drivers

Is there a clear benefit to team truck driving? With regulations on the number of hours an individual driver can run, it sounds like it should be a simple answer. Two drivers in one truck can turn more miles in less time than one driver. And therefore, they can get more work done for you. But is it really that easy when it comes to team drivers? For a recruiter, here are 3 benefits of hiring team drivers.

1. Offer Above Average Pay

When deliveries need to go a long distance in the shortest amount of time, your buyers will pay a premium for that service. And those premiums can be distributed down to the team drivers that make it happen.

When hiring team drivers, you can let your drivers know that there’s a financial incentive for the jobs that you’re filling.

Each driver on the team usually will make a higher average salary than if they drove alone.  And if they’re willing to put in the work, you’re willing to compensate team drivers accordingly.

2. Driver Safety & Health

You want to hire drivers who do whatever it takes to get the job done, safely. Without someone keeping a driver in check, this could lead to driver(s) pushing past their physical limits or even considering taking shortcuts that might risk their safety.

When there’s another driver in the cab, there’s always a back-up ready to go when one driver gets too tired or isn’t feeling well.

Drivers know that they can count on their teammate. And that’s there’s safety in numbers. By using team drivers, you can potentially provide that built-in double check for your drivers.

3. Companionship

No matter how your individual internal teams are determined, compatibility is the key to success when it come to team drivers. With team drivers, they can provide each other the one thing that a solo driver can’t avoid: hours and hours of being alone on the road. When hiring for retention, hiring team drivers vs solo drivers is an important tactic. Employing drivers who are a part of team and can potentially do double-duty over the road is key to a successful team strategy over the road. Having the right partner is key.

Bonus: What to Evaluate When Assigning Partners

Here are key things to evaluate when assigning team partners.

 

For carriers that need long-haul runs, in very short amounts of time, hiring team drivers is a great opportunity to meet these needs. There’s a number of options for team drivers, and it’s worth looking into when optimizing your driver fleets. Having two drivers to do the work of one driver, could be a good solution when rounding out your team. Every carrier is looking to maximize the return of time and effort put into developing their drivers. Leveraging team drivers is a great way to do that.

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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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employee value proposition

It’s time to go back to your roots. Every company needs to identify their business value proposition. An employee value proposition is exactly the same. Identify your employee value proposition, and consider it your north star. 

As you grow as a carrier, it’s easy for your core hiring offerings to get lost. Avoid the trap. A strong employee value proposition is about more than improved marketing. It should drive everything from your recruiting to your business model. Can you answer in 1-3 sentences:

1. Why is my company different (and better) than the competition?
2. What about my company is attractive to truck drivers?

This is your Employee Value Proposition. 

hours of service proposed ruleWhy is an Employee Value Proposition Critical?

The way we recruit employees has changed. Over the past decade, candidates have been steadily becoming more and more powerful in the job search. As a result, attracting the best talent has become harder than ever. As an employer, consistent and efficient communication of your employee value proposition has become extremely important.

Tips to Make Your Employee Value Proposition Stand Out

Now that you have identified your employee value proposition, make sure you package it in a way that is attractive to candidates. Here are a few tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Move Beyond the Pay Rate

Your future drivers need more than a paycheck to be happy. It’s true, pay is often one of the first things cited by drivers as either a huge benefit of or drawback of a company, but you need to go deeper.

Start by thinking about what you have to offer as other forms of compensation: benefits, bonuses programs, loyalty incentives, other perks. Then, go beyond the finances.

Do you excel at creating a positive work culture or work environment with fair treatment or great home/family time? How about a focus on career? Career development opportunities and strong training or orientation programs can be very attractive to drivers. Make sure you can clearly identify what makes your company a great place to work. Then, talk about it! 

2. Make it Compelling

truck driver job description templateAn Employee Value Proposition should provide the foundation for your recruiting and retention strategy. It must be unique, compelling, and relevant if it is to act as a key driver of talent attraction, engagement, and retention. Be clear in what you offer, and make sure to cover all the core reasons that people are proud and motivated to work at your company. 

If you have a great company culture, try to capture your distinct company experience. Are your drivers offered good home time? Build on the emotional aspects of why your company considers that important. Those reasons will resonate with your drivers and tell them you care about their well being as an individual, both on and off the job. Make sure to incorporate your value proposition into your job descriptions.

Free Template: Truck Driver Job Description

Follow this template to make sure your job descriptions are converting.

 

3. Talk About it In the Interview

Crucial Conversations with Driver Candidates: 3 Ways to Prepare

When interviewing a truck driver, focus on why your company is better than the competition. You are considering these drivers as potential employees. But, they also need to be sold on your company. Why is your company so special? How are you different? Why do drivers want to join your company and stay with you? Don’t let a good candidate leave the interview without sharing your employee value proposition. They need to view your company as a strong personal and professional fit.

4. Focus on What Matters

An effective employee value proposition rests on the foundation of driver personas. When you know what kind of drivers you want, you can align your value proposition with their interests.

To Determine Your Driver Personas: 

  1. Define the most important characteristics of your ideal driver. Do you need someone who is:
    • Reliable/timely?
    • Confidence/perseverance?
    • Courteous/willing to help others?
    • A good mechanic?
    • Prioritizing healthy habits?
  2. Set your goals
    • How many drivers do you need?
    • What’s your typical recruiting conversion rate?
    • Based on that, how many leads do you need?
    • Do you currently have empty trucks?
    • How are you planning for future growth?  

Use your ideal driver persona and your company goals to steer your employee value proposition. When they are well aligned, you are more likely to attract the drivers you want to hire. 

5. Consider Your Candidates Against Your Employee Value Proposition

With a little training and practice, probably most people can manage to drive a tractor-trailer. However, professional truck driving is more than just getting a vehicle from Point A to Point B. 

Great truck drivers are much more than mere steering-wheel holders. Driving a heavy vehicle with its cargo of costly supplies and equipment and keeping to a demanding schedule isn’t a job for an ordinary driver.

Use your ideal driver persona to evaluate applicants. Then, consider whether those applicants are attracted by your Employee Value Proposition. If so, you’ve likely found a good fit. If not, you may want to consider what types of benefits would be most attractive to the types of drivers you want to recruit. Doing so will make it easier to recruit those drivers AND retain them for longer.

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3 Important Ways the Coronavirus Impacts the Trucking Industry

The Coronavirus may be the most talked about and least expected economic trend of the first half of 2020. Airborne diseases like influenza are common this time of year, but Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is raising concerns because of the rapid rate of infection. A full understanding of how the Coronavirus impacts the trucking industry remains largely unknown. Most companies will soon feel the impact either directly through their supply chain or through indirect economic ripples. 

As we move into mid-March, the rate of infection in the epicenter, located in Hubei Province, China has slowed. Despite that, reports of Coronavirus cases internationally, including in the United States, are increasing. To date, 423 cases have been identified in the United States with 19 deaths reported. The majority of these cases are concentrated near coastal states and shipping ports. 

Short Term Outlook: Global Supply Chain Disruptions

The global impact of the coronavirus is already evident domestically. Late February marked one of Wall Street’s worst weeks ever. The automotive, technology, and medical industries are seeing some of the earliest impacts. This can be traced to the importance of Chinese manufacturing in their supply chains. 

In August 2019, President Trump issued an order for US companies to diversify supply chains. Despite that, the reality is that many US Companies have global supply chains with a strong presence in China. Based on a study conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, 87% of companies operating in China expect the coronavirus to impact 2020 revenues. The freight industry is already working to stabilize against reduced port activity. Recent weeks have seen an increased supply from Mexico and a $225 Million grant was recently made available by the US Department of Transportation.  

Global Supply Chains in the Trucking Industry

shipping containers in port

The full impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on freight carriers who are part of a global supply chain will not be felt for weeks and even months to come. The nature of the freight you carry will determine how your company is most strongly affected. For carriers in technology or medical supplies, sluggish import activity may already be slowing loads out of port cities. Other carriers may experience a delayed impact. Unmet Q1 manufacturing targets, lethargic return to production, and continued global virus outbreak all contribute to delays. While many Chinese manufacturing companies are returning to production, facilities are operating at reduced capacity as workers slowly return to work. As you know, ground transport is typically one of the final supply chain processes. As a result, employers can expect the effects of the coronavirus to continue well into Q2 and Q3 2020.

Long term Outlook:

The number of ways the Coronavirus impacts the trucking industry is largely dependent on how quickly cases continue to spread globally over the coming weeks. If the rate of infection slows, economic growth is expected to recover fairly quickly with a strong rebound in the second half of the year. Delayed shipments in Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2020 may invigorate sluggish freight markets in Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 of this year. This uptick anticipates increased port activity to compensate for the current delayed shipment rate. On other hand, a slow response to virus containment will bring more lasting challenges to the freight industry. 

Ripple Effects

placing money in piggy bankFor companies with a domestic supply chain, the effects of the Coronavirus will be less immediately obvious. That said, they are no less important. National and international markets already are reacting to the pandemic. As a result, we may see economic instability increase in response to the uncertainty. As this reaches individual consumers, demand for non-essential goods may decrease shipping demand.

Drivers may also feel ripple effects from the outbreak in parallel industries such as oil and gas. In the near term, gas prices may remain low due to reduced export to and demand from China. While low gas prices will benefit freight in the short term, a prolonged imbalance may contribute to long term economic instability.

Protect the health of your employees and your company

Currently, the Coronavirus has had very limited spread in the United States. Unsurprisingly, health officials caution that the illness may become more widespread in the United States in the coming weeks.  Prioritize your health, the health of your employees, and the health of your company. Take measures now to reduce how the coronavirus impacts the trucking industry at large as well as your company. There are several common sense measures promoted by the CDC that you can implement immediately to reduce any risk of infection. 

    1. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
    2. Watch for symptoms in yourself and your loved ones and reach out to a medical professional with any concerns
    3. Stay home when you’re sick and encourage your employees to do the same
    4. Consider offering a few extra days of paid sick leave to allow employees to prioritize their health

The health of your company is closely tied with the health of your drivers.  Consider, you may be able to weather a mild driver shortage due to illness without lasting impact. This is more serious. Quick recoveries are critical to long term company health. Ensuring that drivers are able to take the necessary paid sick days will reduce their exposure to other drivers and will help them quickly return to work.

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3 Truck Driver Awards to Give Out This Year

People generally like to be recognized for their achievements. Professional truck drivers are no exception to that rule. Truckers can be rewarded in several different ways. Some drivers respond strongly to financial rewards. Other drivers respond better to being recognized as a standout among their peers. Here are 3 different types of truck driver awards to give out this year.

1. Driver of the Year

Many companies take great lengths to find out who their super star employees are and hope to retain them. But do you have someone who’s awarded as the best? Give out a coveted “Truck Driver of the Year” award each year. Select one driver to single out as exceptional among your whole team. He or she should be a driver who is the best example of your company culture, always displays professionalism, excels at customer satisfaction, and puts safety first. And make a big deal about it. Give them a prestigious award in front of the whole company! Be sure to put these in a prominent place so that others can aspire to this someday.

To make this more inclusive, you can create campaigns to nominate drivers for consideration. Have a team to vet your finalists and be sure to have the rules fair across your whole pool of drivers. Truck driver awards like these can be wonderful tools to help drivers strive to be the best, and ultimately want to stay with your company for a long time.

2. Million Mile Safety Clubs

Many carriers choose to recognize dedication and permanence in their drivers. Million Mile Clubs are a fantastic way to show your appreciation to those drivers. The drivers who put in the time, mile by mile, year after year, should be rewarded for their loyalty and commitment to their careers. The drivers that covered that many miles safely deserve the recognition for their respect for themselves, their cargo, and also for the other drivers on the road. A special trophy engraved with their name and the date, and the number of miles makes for a great keepsake for any long-time driver. Have something even more special for those drivers who achieve this milestone more than once.

3. Recognition Boards

The little things matter too. Catch someone doing an excellent job on any given day. Then recognize them right away by putting a small certificate on their locker or on a bulletin board in a public area. Or post a quick note of recognition for everyone to see on your employee intranet. These types of truck driver awards and recognition can make your drivers feel special on any given day for any reason. And they’ll feel proud to be a part of your organization.

Driver appreciation can and should be a year-round activity. After all, appreciation is a key component of driver retention. So no matter if your a recruiter, dispatcher, fleet manager, or executive, take some time to show your drivers how much you and your company value them.

Sometimes small gestures of appreciation can go a long way to let your truckers know that you’re thankful for them. Provide some company branded gear to wear on the job. Or give out other small tokens that show driver appreciation. These small things can be a boost to someone’s dedication to your company.

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driver seat belt protection

Requiring driver seat belt detection isn’t just a matter of good business, it’s personal. The safety of your fleet affects so much more than the individual employees. Keep your drivers safe with a seat belt and get them home to their families. Everyone will sleep easier at night. 

While driver safety should always lead the conversation, driver seat belt detection is also good business. Whether it’s by preventing lawsuits or lost revenue, one small action can have huge benefits. Here are three reasons driver seat belt detection pays off. 

1. Increase driver safety

The drivers in your fleet are your company’s most valuable resource. Without a doubt, keeping those same drivers safe on the road should be a top priority. Seat belts are the single best way to increase truck driver safety. Study after study demonstrates this, and most truckers do buckle up. According to a 2015 CDC report on trucker driving habits, 5 in out of 6 drivers regularly click in before driving, but what about the last 16.6% percent? That’s approximately 583,000 drivers who aren’t protected by a seat belt on the road. 

We know you can’t be on the road with your drivers at all times, so consider a form of driver seat belt detection to motivate your drivers. As an employer, there are tools you can use to increase seat belt use in your fleet. Consider investing automatic safety procedures that alert your drivers by SMS if they are driving without being buckled up or prevent engine starts without seat belt usage. Looking for a lower tech option? Incentivize your employees to wear their belts. Remember, small rewards and perks or small financial bonuses can go a long way. Even something as simple as recognition or internal company awards can go along way toward encouraging safer driver behavior.

Driver safety is a top recruiting tool for bringing in quality drivers and retaining the good drivers you have.

Once you prioritize these efforts, don’t be shy in letting your drivers know!  Whether it comes through in your well-maintained fleet rigs or in the rewards you offer for good driving, you’re showing drivers you care. That goes a long way toward building a company culture where drivers want to be.

2. Reduce company liability

Everyone has heard accident horror stories. As you know, even if your drivers have met all their safety requirements and are driving cautiously, accidents happen. Unfortunately, some people may try to take advantage of a bad situation. An accident participant or lawyer may try to build a case for reckless driving based on evidence that your driver wasn’t wearing their seat belt. 

drive my way primary seat belt map

For more evidence, consider that as of June 2019, 34 states have primary seat belt laws for front seat occupants. Even if there are no other infractions, drivers can be pulled over by a law enforcement officer for not wearing a seat belt. If your company offers a ridealong program, make sure safety isn’t limited to drivers. Primary seat belt laws include passengers as well, and CMV drivers are held responsible for any other vehicle occupants. 

3. Safety affects your bottom line

While keeping your drivers safe should top the reasons to implement driver seat belt detection, there is also revenue at stake. Consider, a single truck accident costs an average of $148,279. That number skyrockets to $7,633,600 if there is a fatality. Keeping your drivers safe on the road is a good return on your investment.

In 2012, 700 truck drivers or their passengers died in accidents. 40% of the unbelted drivers could have been saved with a seat belt. Three seconds of clicking in could have saved lives and millions of dollars.

Perhaps not surprisingly, not wearing a seat belt is often just one of several unsafe practices that drivers engage in. There is a strong correlation that the drivers who do not wear a seat belt also are more likely to be found speeding and have received multiple moving violation tickets. As an employer, the best thing you can do is to build a culture of safety.

Driver safety programs often start at the managerial level. The National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence conducted a year long study with 9 carriers to improve their safety records. Top successful strategies included:

  • Develop a strong safety culture
  • Comprehensive Ongoing Driver Training programs
  • Collision Mitigation Technology such as Automatic Emergency Braking, lane departure warnings, and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems
  • Strict driver hiring criteria

For each of the companies studied, there was no single practice that brought improved safety metrics. Instead, a combination of the above practices led each fleet to experience decreases in the severity and number of crashes. This also improved their overall scores in FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

 

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Trucking recruiter Skills to master

Deciding what grade of gas to add to your fuel tank? Easy. Finding quality tanker haulers to transport that gasoline? Much harder. As a trucking recruiter, you’re all too familiar with the challenges of hiring owner operators and company drivers: driver shortages, high turnover rates, and an ever changing recruitment landscape are just some of your daily obstacles. Since you are the first face of your company to interact with drivers, it’s critical to be prepared with the skills that will turn your list of leads into great hires. Here are the top 5 skills that every trucking recruiter should master. 

1. Be strategically proactive

It’s a driver’s market. If you want to be a trucking recruiter who successfully reaches quality drivers, it’s on you to be proactive. That said, being proactive should be a strategic plan and not just aggressive outreach. Consider the times and channels that are most likely to be productive for the drivers you seek. Recruiting local or regional routes? Try calling in the evening to avoid busy loading and unloading schedules. Seeking OTR drivers? Make sure there’s a mobile-friendly website for drivers who are looking for jobs while on a driving break. Once you’ve optimized your strategy, continually reach out through multiple channels to engage new leads and reconnect with old leads.

2. Know your audience

This might seem obvious, especially to an experienced trucking recruiter, but it couldn’t be more important. The Commercial Carrier Journal found that the overwhelming majority of surveyed drivers cited inadequate pay as a reason fleets are struggling to find drivers. That’s likely not a surprise. Perhaps more striking is that lack of respect and lack of home time are responses two and three for the same question.

If you want to increase the number of quality drivers you hire, you need to know their priorities and address their concerns.

Identify the benefits that are most important to your candidates, and offer those perks whenever possible. Be straightforward about what drivers can expect on the job. Many will find your honesty refreshing and a compelling reason to join your company.

3. Take advantage of technology

Gone are the days where a clean, mobile-friendly user interface was a nice, extra touch used by only the most tech savvy trucking recruiters. According to the 2019 Overdrive Connectivity report produced by Randall-Reilly, 74% of owner operators use a smartphone to access the internet. Over half of those same drivers use a phone more than any other device to access the internet. As for company drivers, 77% use smartphones to access the internet. 65% of company drivers use their smartphone to access the internet more than any other device. With this in mind, don’t just make your recruiting mobile-friendly. Optimize your process with the assumption that most drivers will be recruited first, and possibly exclusively, on a smartphone.

4. Prioritize your workload

Coming into a new year or quarter, it is tempting to take on a heavy load, but don’t get caught in the frenzy.

Your hours are limited. Take the time to prioritize your leads based on urgency and fit early on to increase your overall productivity.

Evaluate which candidates are most likely to fit your positions. Are they qualified? Which drivers are really a good match for you? Is your company really a good match for them? Speak with each driver and understand their priorities. Then, be candid if they’re not a good fit. Remember, hiring a bad match increases turnover and leaves a bad impression on drivers. Since time is critical, engage your strongest leads first. You’ll be glad you took time to slow down at the beginning so that you can efficiently recruit the drivers best suited for your fleet.

5. Build relationships, not just a sales funnel

Even when time is of the essence, you can’t afford not to get to know your potential drivers.

As a trucking recruiter, you may feel like there isn’t time to build relationships, but it’s time well spent. 

Taking the time to build relationships and treat drivers like people, not leads might reveal key information that will improve position fit. Unsurprisingly, better fit ultimately leads to improved driver retention. Most recruiters know that drivers need to be qualified for particular jobs, but it goes beyond just having the right certifications. As you know, experienced drivers have the opportunity to choose jobs that meet their lifestyle and goals. Identify what those are and find ways to meet them. Drivers who are satisfied with their time at home, model of truck, and who feel they can meet their goals with your company will perform better and stay longer. If you want to improve your sales funnel, taking the time to build relationships with potential drivers is time you can’t afford to not spend.

 

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simplifying truck driver pay

Truck driver pay is one of the biggest factors which candidates consider before accepting a trucking job. Carriers are aware of this, and recruiters scramble to offer the best salary they can to their drivers. But the driver pay numbers aren’t the only important thing to consider. Driver compensation rates have actually increased over the last few years. Yet, carriers struggle to retain drivers over the long haul. The truth is, how you pay truck drivers is just as important as how much you pay them. If your truck driver pay process is messy, complicated, and not transparent, drivers will find it difficult to work with you. Here are 3 tips on simplifying truck driver pay.

Tip 1: Clean and simple

How difficult is it for the average driver to understand your pay rates? Does it require a five-minute explanation with a calculator? If so, you’re making the pay structure too complicated. While there are many factors which determine driver pay, if the process becomes too messy drivers won’t want to deal with it. Similarly, how difficult is it for drivers to actually get that paycheck? Filling out complicated and unnecessary forms is a burden for drivers, who have limited free time as it is. Remember that most salaried employees simply receive a direct deposit in their bank account every 2 weeks or so. Recruiters and managers should aim to make the pay process as simple as that, if possible.

As Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Equally troubling is the hassle of delayed payments. If there are delays in paychecks because of clerical or logistical error, the inconvenience shouldn’t be passed along to the driver. For them, the few days could make the difference between paid and unpaid bills or purchase of time-sensitive medicine. Do whatever you can to make delayed payments less likely. Updating your pay systems reduce the chances of human error and make it more likely that payments will be made on time. You don’t want drivers to consider leaving your fleet because every pay period remains uncertain, or they can’t decipher their pay stub.

Tip 2: Load board transparency

Drivers get paid based on how many loads they get assigned or agree to take on. Sometimes dispatchers or fleet managers will think that drivers will be happier with their pay if they just took on more loads. Simple, right? While that may be true, think about it from the driver’s perspective for a minute. Often truck drivers may think that other drivers are receiving more or better loads because of favoritism. When was the last time you spoke to a driver who was happy with the loads they receive? There is such a gap between manager perspective and driver perspective on this issue that the only way to bridge it is more transparency.

When it comes to favoritism, perception is more important than reality.

Try to create a system where drivers are fully aware of who has received which loads and when. This helps both drivers and managers. Any unconscious favoritism or bias will be filtered out and less likely to occur. Drivers will also be less likely to perceive favoritism, as you’ve taken steps to counter this. Think of how scientists create double blind studies, or some professors use proctors to grade their exams. Students know that bias is less likely to creep in, so they trust the system more. Similarly, if you create a transparent process on load assignment, you will create perceived equity and fairness in truck driver pay. Drivers are liable to quit because of perceived bias, even if it doesn’t actually exist!

Tip 3: Uncontrollable factors

Truck drivers make money when they’re being productive driving or loading and unloading freight. However, there are many other things that happen during a driver’s work-day that may affect their productivity or their paycheck. Unnecessary idle time, traffic delays, adverse weather conditions, and human error all reduce truck driver pay. Everyone in the industry knows that these things happen and are usually an unavoidable part of the job. Most of these factors are also out of a driver’s control. Yet, the driver loses time, and possibly pay, because of weather and traffic and that isn’t going to look great to them!

While weather, traffic, and other variables may be out of your control also, they shouldn’t be reflected in driver pay

We know that every carrier’s finances are different, and some can afford more luxuries for their drivers than others. If possible, do whatever you can to not pass the cost of these factors to drivers. It will seriously make driver reconsider their employment. Maybe charge for clients for the unnecessary delays and pass it on to your drivers. A promise of guaranteed payments will ensure that drivers don’t have anxiety over delays. Many carriers provide minimum weekly pay guarantees which remove the stress of worrying about delays that could reduce the paycheck. Don’t worry about free-loaders to the system: there are enough tracking devices and performance measure to ensure that drivers won’t milk the system. Investing in these methods will pay for themselves by reducing turnover.

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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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truck driver mentor programThe search for hiring truck drivers is highly competitive. Keeping good drivers once you have them is sometimes tougher than actually hiring drivers. A truck driver mentor program might be just the thing to differentiate your company from the competition. These programs can also help you keep good drivers once you land them. Mentoring programs might also be the thing to help hire drivers that diversify your workforce. And keep them with your company. Here are some ways to improve retention with a truck driver mentor program.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring programs generally mean linking up a newer employee with a seasoned company driver in some fashion. These programs help new truckers learn the ropes and acclimate to their job and your overall organization. Helping these mentor relationships get off on the right foot is key to the success of the truck driver mentor programs. For some carriers, mentoring can also be a great way to bring more female, millennial or minority truckers into their company.

“Inadequate diversity and thin leadership pipeline are the third and fourth top human capital risks cited in Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Study. When it comes to attracting and retaining women drivers, it’s critical to foster a culture that supports, embraces, and advances women. Having a strong mentoring program helps to engage and advance women in the organization.”

—Beth Potratz, President and CEO, Drive My Way

Why is a Truck Driver Mentoring Program a Good Idea?

Some carriers have truck driver mentor programs that help new drivers assimilate into their new companies and careers. These programs might also reward the seasoned drivers with additional compensation and even better equipment as a bonus. The mentoring can include driving with a mentor as a passenger to help learn. It could also be a relationship where a new driver has a easy access to a mentor driver to ask questions. Drivers might also be enabled with tools to even Skype (or video-communicate) on-demand with mentors when needed. Having someone who can help in times where a handbook or a “boss” might not be the best resource, can help maximize new driver satisfaction. And help them feel a bigger sense of belonging to their new company. These mentor relationships can often times help the younger or new driver envision their long-term career with your company.

Your company should already be engaging in initiatives that make the work more meaningful for employees, so highlight those to your millennial candidates. Initiatives like professional development opportunities, mentoring programs and employee appreciation events will foster a sense of belonging.

Having a well thought out recruitment and retention strategy that puts the drivers first is a great strategy for building a strong driver team. A truck driver mentor program can show your new, and current, drivers that you are willing to invest in them and that they are appreciated. Making a mentor program a key part of your planning, can help strengthen your team, and retain your drivers.

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Care About Your DriversAs the saying goes, people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. Managers usually set the tone for an employee’s overall work environment and are the front line for employees feeling appreciated. For truck drivers who are mobile most of the time, they have plenty of other things that can impact their day. So, there’s a good chance truckers can feel a lack of appreciation from many angles. You can’t control all of them, but you can help in a few key ways. Here are 5 ways to demonstrate that you care about your drivers.

Getting drivers to feel a sense of appreciation and engagement is a proven way to increase job satisfaction and ultimately driver retention.

Showing appreciation for your drivers should be part of your company’s overall culture. Though grand gestures of appreciation and thanks are usually well received, it’s the smaller things that make life easier on a daily basis that can make the most difference.

1. Equipment

Be proactive on equipment maintenance and upgrades. Keep up with equipment services and routine maintenance. Be responsive to your drivers’ feedback and concerns with their trucks and tools.  This shows that you care about your drivers safety and comfort. Your drivers will have less breakdowns and related delays as a result. This can help your truckers stay on schedule, and have less less wasted time and aggravation. And you can help minimize lost revenue for your bottom line.

2. Scheduling     

Being mindful of your drivers’ time is a great way to show your appreciation for truckers. Helping to avoid snags in scheduling can avoid adding unnecessary stress to an already stressful job. And can make sure that they’re home as planned for their down days. Drivers do their part daily to make sure that hours of service and breaks are properly logged. Your internal teams should also do their best to do what they can to keep your truckers moving and avoid detention time. When something out of everyone’s control does come up, have plans in place to compensate the driver for ALL of their time.

3. Implement Incentives

Incentive programs are a great way to keep your drivers feel appreciated and rewarded for their hard work. And can also help you to keep your teams moving toward reaching your goals.

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.

4. Ongoing Education Opportunities

Giving your truckers access to ongoing education can be a great way to show you care. Helping drivers stay current with the latest in safety, industry and professional news, can help increase engagement, and retention. This can also help ensure that your drivers are the best in class when it comes to training and compliance.

5. Simply Say Thank You

Handwritten notes are rare these days. A thoughtful handwritten note for a job well done, or to show that you noticed that they went the extra mile on a job, can mean more than a free lunch or a bonus in their paycheck. Social media can also be a great place to call out your “Driver of the Month” or a place to highlight significant milestones for your truckers. Simple gestures can oftentimes be more meaningful ways to show you care about your drivers. These can also leave a longer lasting sense of appreciation.

Though it’s always important to show you care about your drivers, next year’s Truck Driver Appreciation Week is September 13-19, 2020. Set a reminder for this dedicated week when America takes the time to honor the 3.5 million professional truck drivers for doing one of the most demanding and important jobs! Keep a running list of ideas to make your drivers feel extra appreciated next year. A great idea would be to poll your drivers in advance and ask them for ideas how to celebrate this special week for the entire trucking industry!

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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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