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. That may come 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. For instance, late February marked one of Wall Street’s worst weeks ever. The automotive, technology, and medical industries are seeing some of the earliest impacts. Unsurprisingly, 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. Already, the freight industry is working to stabilize against the reduced port activity. Recent weeks have seen an increased supply from Mexico.  In addition, 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 clarify for weeks and even months to come. At the end of the day, the nature of the freight you carry will determine how COVID19 will most strongly affect your company. For example, carriers in technology or medical supplies may already be experiencing the impact. Sluggish import activity may 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. Many Chinese manufacturing companies are returning to production. However, facilities are operating at reduced capacity as workers slowly return to work. As you know, ground transport typically makes up one of the final processes in supply chains. 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. For example, 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. In short, this uptick anticipates increased port activity to compensate for the current delayed shipment rate. On the 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. Low gas prices will benefit freight in the short term. But, a prolonged imbalance may contribute to long term economic instability.

Protect the Health of Your Employees and 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. In addition, take measures now to reduce how the coronavirus impacts your company. Each company’s actions can also change how coronavirus impacts the trucking industry at large. There are several common sense measures promoted by the CDC. You can implement these measures immediately to reduce any risk of infection. 

    1. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
    2. Watch for symptoms in yourself and your loved ones 
    3. Reach out to a medical professional with any concerns
    4. Stay home when you’re sick and encourage your employees to do the same
    5. 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. For other drivers, recognition as a standout among their peers is the best incentive. 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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Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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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.

Become a Leader

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 smartphones 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.

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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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.

direct depositTip 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 that 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 the purchase of time-sensitive medicine. Do whatever you can to make delayed payments less likely. Updating your pay systems reduces the chances of human error and makes 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

employee value proposition

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!

snowy roadsTip 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 on 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 measures 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 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 whether 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. Therefore, investing in newer model trucks and quickly resolving maintenance issues shows drivers that you care about safety. Consider also investing in trucks with larger cabins with fleet amenities. Drivers appreciate kitchen appliances and satellite radio/TV that allow for more options during down time.

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 will 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. For example, some companies are 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 others 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 that 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 shows your new, and current, drivers that you are willing to invest in them. Making a mentor program a key part of your planning, can help strengthen your team, and retain your drivers.

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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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.

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!

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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truck driver loyalty

When turnover is nearly 95% in the trucking industry, it’s tough to keep drivers over the long run. Add that to the shrinking pool of drivers available, and you have strong competition between carriers to keep drivers. Hiring and retention doesn’t need to be an arms race between carriers. Building truck driver loyalty from the beginning helps both drivers and carriers meet their goals. Recruiters can keep the best drivers with their carriers for longer if they build a sense of loyalty. Here are 4 ways to increase truck driver loyalty.

1. Driver feedback

Drivers will always have an opinion about the job and their carriers. Whether it’s complaints about the routes or satisfaction with the strong benefits, carriers should welcome all sorts of driver feedback. Don’t let feedback become one of those taboo matters which drivers just gossip about among themselves. If drivers know their feedback is welcome, they’ll be more likely to share it with the carrier instead of their peers. Make it easy to submit feedback whether it’s online or in-person.

Welcoming feedback isn’t enough. Carriers need to make sure they can do what they can to address drivers’ concerns. If a driver is unsatisfied with the home time she’s getting, it’s only a matter of time until she looks elsewhere for another job. Even if you can’t address all driver concerns and move heaven and earth for them, it matters enough that you tried. Drivers will notice and appreciate that you listened to them and made an effort on their behalf.

One of the biggest complaints drivers have is that they don’t feel respected and valued by their carriers.

If you can show drivers that you value their feedback and try to improve things for them, they’ll be more likely to remain loyal to the carrier.

2. Strong communication

One-on-one communication with all your drivers is essential to building truck driver loyalty. In this era of smartphones and email, it’s easy to think that you can communicate through technology and reap all the benefits. Don’t just communicate with drivers to discuss transactional matters—communicate to build a relationship! If building relationships is the goal, then you need to talk with your drivers one-on-one and in-person. Even the occasional friendly chat or check-in about their work and family life will be appreciated by drivers. If you’re running low on time, even a phone call makes a difference. Drivers shouldn’t go too long without having a personal and friendly interaction with management which will foster a sense of loyalty.

3. Look beyond benefits

It’s important to remember which factors truck drivers consider before accepting a job. Carriers can position themselves to make certain that they are meeting the needs of drivers. It also helps to keep in mind the reasons why drivers declined jobs, because they didn’t offer certain benefits. If you sift through these data, you’ll find some surprising insights about what drivers value. Often, it’s not just the pay and health benefits that drivers are considering. Some of the most important factors drivers take into account are things like home time, the equipment used, a take-truck-home program, or no touch freight.

Building the right factors into the job helps build truck driver loyalty.

Home time, PTO, and vacation days are something almost all truck drivers will value so they can get some much-needed rest between runs. Some drivers will look for a spouse program or a pet program so they can get some companionship while on the road as well. Finally, carriers can offer professional development opportunities to drivers who are thinking ahead towards their whole career path. Taking simple steps to include these programs to meet driver needs will go a long way toward building truck driver loyalty.

4. Build driver-centric culture

Finally, it’s important to remember the bigger picture about why carriers should take all these measures. The end goal is to create a strong company culture which drivers can identify with. Building a driver-centric culture shows truckers that they are valued and respected. Driver appreciation ideas and engagement surveys are all means to this end. People look for jobs which satisfy a whole range of needs, including psychological and social needs. Don’t forget Maslow’s pyramid of needs and what it means for the workplace.

Drivers will look for jobs where they find personal fulfillment and a sense of belonging, not just simple job satisfaction.

Soliciting and acting on driver feedback, along with offering the right benefits, all signal to drivers that they can call this carrier their home.

The industry’s turnover and driver shortage problem aren’t leaving anytime soon. However, there’s still plenty that carriers can do to retain driver over the long-term by building truck driver loyalty. The truth is that drivers and carriers both benefit from long-term retention with the same carrier. Drivers won’t have to move from job to job in search of the perfect position which satisfies their needs. Carriers won’t have to engage in an arms race to compete over a smaller and smaller pool of rotating drivers. Use these ways to increase truck driver loyalty and keep your strongest drivers for years.
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ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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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 the resources you 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 kettlebells 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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