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

1. Driver Shortage

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

2. Unqualified Leads

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

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

3. High Turnover

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

4. Budget Allocation

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

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

 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

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truck driver career path

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

Training to Hire

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

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

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

Driving for Life

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

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

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

Non-Driving Roles

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

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

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

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.

Get the Ebook

smoking cessation

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

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

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

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

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

Change the Habit

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

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

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

Smokeless Options

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

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

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

Medication

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

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

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

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

Get the Ebook

otr driver

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

1. What to Look For

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

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

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

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

2. How to Conduct the Interview

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

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

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

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

3. Hiring and Onboarding Process

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

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

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

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

4. Conduct Employee Surveys

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

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

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

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

5. Training and Professional Development

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

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

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

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

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.

Get the Ebook

best trucking companies to work for

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

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

Walmart Trucking

Walmart has their own private fleet and pay their drivers extremely well. The average full-time driver with Walmart earns about $86,000 per year and works 5.5 days a week. Walmart’s benefits include medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, and life insurance. Drivers also have the opportunity to enroll in a 401(k) plan and a stock purchase plan. Since Walmart is looking to hire the best of the best, drivers need considerable experience before Walmart will consider hiring them. Apart from a great compensation package, the company makes sure drivers are home once a week and get reset hours off the road. They pay for activity, mileage, and training, and drivers won’t have to load and unload freight. Walmart’s private fleet has one of the lowest turnover rates in the country and for good reason.

Old Dominion Freight

Old Dominion has been around for over 85 years is the official freight carrier of Major League Baseball (MLB). They have club partnerships with many of the MLB teams, and serve the West Region, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Gulf Region of the country. Old Dominion consistently gets high ratings from drivers and Glassdoor. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for long-haul drivers is $82,354 per year. Old Dominion offers medical, dental, vision, and life insurance. In addition to a 401(k) plan, drivers have the option to enroll in employee wellness programs and employee assistance programs. The company has been ranked best LTL National Carrier in 2017 (it’s 8th consecutive year) and received the US EPA 2017 SmartWay Excellence Award (it’s 3rd consecutive year). Paid time off includes both vacation days, sick/personal time, and an addition paid “birthday holiday”.

NFI

NFI IndustriesNFI is a fully integrated supply chain solutions provider headquartered in Camden, NJ. At NFI, truck drivers benefit from dedicated, local, and regional routes to give a variety of home time options with predictable schedules, consistent weekly pay, and career pathing opportunities. Drivers become part of a team that helps move goods the world relies on every day. NFI values family, integrity, safety, customer, teamwork, and social responsibility.

Ward Trucking

Ward Transport and Logistics cover the mid-Atlantic region and cover through Truckload, Flatbed, Reefer, Expedited, and Containers. They offer Less than Truckload (LTL), Truckload (TL), Logistics (3PL), and Brokerage services throughout the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Guam. According to Glassdoor, average salary for delivery drivers is $32,078 per year, but for truck drivers is $50,129. Ward will offer medical insurance for eligible employees and dependents with premiums discounts based on years of service with Ward. Dental and vision plans, along with flexible spending accounts are also available for eligible employees and dependents. Ward also boasts an employee wellness program, employee assistance program with professional counselors, and a personal health partners (PHP) program to assist with medical questions, claims issues, and treatment options. The company will cover paid holidays and up to five weeks of vacation per year.

Melton Trucking

Driver development and support for students are hallmarks of Melton Trucking. The company welcomes recent CDL school graduates and drivers who have not had any over-the-road driving experience. Each new driver takes part in the Driver Development Team to transition into the job and lifestyle. Melton also offers a Pre-Hire and Tuition Reimbursement Program for those who don’t yet have a CDL-A license to transition into a CDL certification program.

Melton offers competitive compensation. There is a $1500 sign-on bonus and referral bonuses ranging from $250-$1000. Melton will offer performance incentive bonuses as well, including for tarp, over-sized loads, layovers, and clean DOT inspections. According to Glassdoor, average salary is $52,595 per year for flatbed drivers, and $53,573 per year for OTR truck drivers. In addition to medical, dental, vision, and short-term disability insurance, Melton offers a 401(k) plan and employee assistance program. The company seems to value driver preferences as there is a pet and rider program and profit-sharing programs. Melton also guarantees that all employees will be at home on Christmas Day in addition to 6 holidays a year, and 1-3 weeks of vacation.

Watkins & Shepard Trucking

Watkins & Shepard (now a subsidiary of Schneider) offers many kinds of trucking including over-the-road (OTR), Team Driving, Regional, Intermodal, Tanker, LTL, and Straight Truck. They mostly transport home furnishings and over-dimensional goods including products from overseas. OTR drivers for Watkins & Shepard, can expect about an average of 600 miles per haul. Regional drivers on the other hand will stay close to home and have more consistent routes and freight. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for truck drivers is $61,956 per year. Benefits include medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, as well as accident insurance. After five years of service to Schneider, driver associates are admitted into the Advantage Club which allows attending sports events like NFL games or NASCAR races. The company prioritizes health and safety, boasting a CDL defender plan and family legal plan as well as performance bonuses based on safety.

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.

Get the Ebook

truck driver advertising

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

1. Not Including Driver Testimonials

You’ve boasted about your carrier’s benefits and perks in every possible advertising channel, but still aren’t getting many leads. Meanwhile, a competitor spends less on advertising but has stronger recruiting. What’s going on here? Most likely, your company’s reputation among driver peers is the explanation.

Think about it from a driver’s perspective. Who are they more likely to believe: other drivers or the company itself?

Peer recommendation is one of the strongest factors that can influence human behavior. That’s why your truck driver advertising should consistently include driver testimonials. These could be as simple as gathering quotes about driver experience by your current drivers. Or it can be as ambitious as compiling a short video of your drivers speaking freely on what they enjoy about the job. Peer recommendation can build more trust for your company, so it should be an important component of your truck driver advertising.

2. Using Only Print Media for Advertising

It’s no breaking news that print media is on the decline. While ads in newspapers and magazines may have been the primary advertising channel a decade or two ago, the readership has gone down significantly. Your advertising strategy should reflect this: print shouldn’t be your only form of recruitment. While print media isn’t entirely dead, digital is definitely king now. Adjust your advertising budget and resources accordingly, and don’t put all your eggs in the print media basket. Advertising diversification is important, so make sure you’re exploring all other avenues of advertising potential.

3. Heavy Information Dumping

You’ve seen these ads everywhere: a long, bulleted list of all the job details and driver benefits clogging up the same ad space. You may have been guilty of it yourself. The more information available for prospective hires, the better, right? Think again. No one enjoys having to sift through detailed information, especially if they’re running short on time.

Advertising is about attention: if you capture a driver’s attention, they’ll visit your website or contact you to find more job details.

Additionally, people have become somewhat immune to advertising given the sheer number of ads we see on a daily basis. To have a stronger impact on your audience, take the opposite approach: keep the information light and simple. Lead the advertisement with the top three reasons why a driver should choose you and leave aside the details. Or know what makes you different from the competitors and promote that.

4. Creating Identical Digital Advertising and Print Advertising

So, we talked about the decline in print media, which means you should transplant those same ads to the digital world, right? Try again. Digital and social media are significantly different in type from print media, and your advertising should reflect that. You wouldn’t run the same ad on print and radio, would you? If you’re not capturing the unique advantages of the digital sphere, you run the risk of wasting advertising money on inefficient ads. Make sure your ads are tailored to the digital channel being used, whether its newsletters, banner ads, or social media. Social media channels are vastly different from each other. Use Instagram for memes and cool images, not long videos. Use YouTube for longer videos with driver testimonials, or in-depth explorations of trucking life on the road. Remember that drivers primarily use Facebook, so that should be your main job posting channel.

5. Not Taking Advantage of Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a whole different ballgame than previous forms of advertising.

Ideally, you’re using the best and latest forms of digital marketing to enhance your truck driver advertising.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising method that directs online traffic to your recruitment website. Through pay-per-click you can guide your specific target audience to your recruitment site so that it doesn’t get lost in the depths of the Internet. Look into using Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or Yahoo Advertising for your PPC campaigns. Remarketing is another tool you can use to bring traffic back to your site even after they’ve already left. It allows you to communicate your message to drivers who may have visited your website once, but not filled an application. Remarketing serves as a nudge to drivers, reinforcing impressions that have been made, so that are reminded to return and consider applying to your jobs.

6. Not Focusing on Driver-Centric Content

Any truck driver advertising campaign needs to focus on the basics- including highlights of job requirements, description, and benefits. But often advertising makes these the focus instead of thinking of the complete driver experience. Drivers know what to expect about job details or can look them up later. What they are interested in is finding a job where they’ll be appreciated, and which aligns with their values.

Consider launching an ad campaign which focuses entirely on company culture.

What’s the pet policy or passenger policy like? How comfortable and new is the equipment? How much does the company invest in safety and maintenance? What do current drivers like about the company? Are there opportunities for professional growth? There are endless possibilities of what kind of content to include in these ads. The important part is that it is focusing on the driver’s values and priorities and indicates that the carrier will be a good match given those values.

Truck driver advertising has evolved rapidly over the last few decades. While print and radio advertising are still important, digital and social media are now paramount. Keeping these trends in mind is important but having strong driver-centric content is even more important. Avoid these six things wrong with your truck driver advertising, and your recruitment and retention efforts will be more successful.

The Quick Guide to Employee Value Proposition

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Employee Value Proposition

This free guide helps you create your employee value proposition and also effectively communicate it to drivers.

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truck-driver-turnover

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

Turnover negatively impacts both drivers and carriers, yet it persists in the industry. It isn’t just limited to a few companies either but is widespread throughout the industry. Solving the driver turnover problem is a matter of understanding the causes and implementing a few solutions laid out below. Here’s everything you need to know about combating truck driver turnover.

Causes of turnover

To combat turnover, we first need to understand its causes. There are several reasons for turnover that are unique to the trucking industry. Instead of documenting all possible causes, let’s examine some of the most common and important ones for recruiters and fleet managers.

The Driver Shortage

First, turnover is directly related to the CDL driver shortage.

The shortage means there is increased competition between companies for the same small pool of drivers.

Trucking companies can incentivize drivers with higher pay, sign-on bonuses, and other benefits. Offering these benefits is the best practice for each individual company, as we have written about before, but ends up being bad for the industry as a whole. The recruiting process tends to be very quick. As a result, drivers know they could find work very quickly with another employer.

It may be easy to believe that drivers are simply going from job to job looking for the best quick deal they can find. However, it is important to remember that they are just like any other employees—at the end of the day, they are looking for a great job that also lasts for a long time.

Misattributed Challenges

Secondly, drivers may face unforeseen challenges on the job which they attribute to the company rather than the industry. This may be especially true for newer drivers who haven’t experienced problems like equipment break-down, canceled loads, bad weather, difficulty with shippers or receivers, and a host of other problems every trucker encounters.

It’s easy to blame the company rather than the nature of the job when these obstacles arise, especially if the company hasn’t been supportive or understanding.

At the same time, sometimes carriers really do deserve the blame for the driver’s low job satisfaction. Recruiters may have misrepresented the job details during the hiring process. Maybe drivers didn’t ask the right questions or recruiters failed to mention important details. Perhaps the recruiters over-promised benefits like pay and home time, or the company has been under-delivering. Either way, the result is the same: drivers feel cheated by the company and are motivated to look elsewhere for a better job. It’s important to remember that retention starts with good recruiting.

Combating turnover

While there is no cure-all to rid 100% of driver turnover, there are a number of things your company can do to increase retention and keep more drivers month after month.

First, recruiters need to go after the right drivers.

Yes, you want to find good talent, but it’s even more important to find the right fit.

If you think about it, by relying primarily on financial incentives, rival companies can lure away top talent with enticing pay packages. However, if you find the right drivers for you, they’ll stick around with your fleet longer regardless of what the competition can offer. Let’ say only 35% of drivers you hire in January stay till December. Recruiters and fleet managers need to find out which company characteristics persuaded those drivers to stay.

Get creative with potential solutions. Maybe your company offers daily or weekly home time that works well for younger drivers on regional runs. On the other hand, maybe your company is better at attracting veteran drivers who don’t mind OTR runs with home time twice a month. Whatever the case may be, the drivers that stay with your company are the ones who are a good fit. Find out what characteristics they share, how they match your fleet’s needs, and recruit more like them.

Start with Recruiting

High retention starts with good recruiting. Targeting drivers based on the characteristics that make them a good fit is the first and most important step. With this approach, recruiters won’t need to over-promise benefits which the company can’t deliver. There would be no reason why recruiting wouldn’t be a transparent process. Recruiters should aim to paint an accurate picture of the miles, runs, hauls, and regions needed. Be upfront and honest about pay and benefits, especially if they aren’t as generous as what other companies can offer. Think about it—sooner or later the drivers will know for themselves. When they do, they’ll decide whether they want a better deal or not. Why not save time for everyone and reduce turnover by finding a good match ahead of the game.

Build Company Culture

Finally, you’ll want to build some loyalty by forging the right company culture. Pay, benefits, and home time are all important, but not as strong as identity and a sense of belonging.

If you satisfy a driver’s need to feel important, appreciated, and valued, they may overlook a lower pay grade or weaker benefits package.

Engaging in driver appreciation is something that can be done every day and every week, by every employee of your company. Driver engagement surveys are a great way to discover what’s keeping them happy so you can keep doing it, and to show drivers that you really care about them as people and not just as employees.

Driver turnover is a monumental problem facing the industry, and directly stems from the driver shortage problem. Carriers and drivers both suffer when the employees aren’t a good match for the company. Combat your turnover problem by starting with good recruitment. Target drivers who are the right fit and be transparent about job characteristics and benefits. Build loyalty with drivers through engagement and appreciation.

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.

Get the Ebook

team truck driving partner

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

Some teams are already established and join a carrier with their team truck driving partner. But not always. Some carriers choose to play match-maker and seek to put together teams from their current roster of drivers. In those situations, carriers find that selecting the right teams to drive tandem takes some additional driver assessments. Here are some key things to evaluate when assigning team truck driving partners.

Compatibility

When putting together team truck driving partners, compatibility is key. The drivers’ personalities need to be compatible.

If the drivers have too many significant differences, they’re going to have a difficult time driving as a team.

In addition, their personal habits must be similar. If one loves driving to loud rock music, and the other needs quiet to keep their concentration, it’s going to be tough spending extended hours in the cab together. If either driver travels with a pet, the other driver needs to be able to tolerate that. Additionally, drivers need to have a general ability to get along, so extreme differences in background, religious beliefs, or what they like to do in their down-time should also be part of the conversation when assigning teams.

Driving Style & Preferences

Team drivers need to have driving styles and preferences that work well together. Putting together two night owls or two early birds, and they’re not going to be able to stretch their time on the road. They need to be compatible when it comes to work ethics as well. If one on the team likes to take a lot of breaks, and the other only wants to stop once or twice per shift, they’re going to be at odds.

The team truck driving partners should agree about whether they are willing to drive on weekends and holidays.

Each driver needs to be willing to make compromises on things. Being too rigid will make for tension over the miles. Lastly, their driving skills and experience should be similar as well, though a new driver could benefit from working with a more experienced driver. This could make that newer driver better over the long haul.

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. Using these helpful tips when assigning team truck driving partners, can provide an addition to your overall strategy to maximize resources and return on your investments. These team drivers can be a long-term solution that will greatly benefit any trucking company.
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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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driver engagement survey

Employee surveys are becoming a popular and strong way to measure the engagement and satisfaction with the job. A driver engagement survey can help employees understand performance and retention. Collecting data directly from employees also allows drivers to better communicate their goals and motivations.

We surveyed our driver community on Facebook, and the majority of poll participants unfortunately reported that they don’t feel valued by their current employer. With the driver shortage more pertinent than ever, if employers don’t address this issue with their drivers, they risk quickly losing them to their competition.

Different aspects of a trucking job will be important to different drivers. Some drivers may prefer more home-time and are willing to be paid less. Other drivers may prefer to work longer hours if it’s reflected in their salary. Companies need to understand what makes each of their drivers feel valued and act accordingly to ensure they are meeting their drivers’ needs. When conducting your next driver engagement survey, be sure to cover these 6 components.

1. Salary and Compensation

By far, the number one motivator of work performance for drivers will be the bottom line. The average truck driver salary is around $41,000 per year. This figure depends on factors such as years of experience, type of run, etc.

You’ll want to ask your drivers how satisfied they are with their current level of pay and if they feel they are on track for bonuses and promotions.

Drivers will be concerned about fairness. If perceived fairness by the employer isn’t there, drivers will quickly jump ship.

2. Home Time

Home-time is a major factor drivers consider when evaluating job satisfaction. Drivers with families will particularly want to spend more time at home if possible. Some drivers wouldn’t mind more time on the road if the company allows for partners to travel on the road with them.

Drivers will have different preferences which may change over time as their family situation may change.

Make sure to delicately ask about this topic in the survey and gauge how much time drivers are currently spending at home, and how much they would like to. This may impact the run they are currently completing for your organization.

3. Relationship with Dispatcher

The main point of contact that most drivers have with the company is their dispatcher. If a driver’s relationship with their dispatcher is poor, there will be plenty of room for misunderstanding between them.

When drivers face unexpected road conditions, weather, or vehicle issues, they will want to relay the information to dispatch.

If dispatchers have not cultivated a good relationship with the driver, they will be more likely to not share the information and deal with it alone. This could mean unexpected scheduling delays. Avoid this issue by asking drivers in a driver engagement survey if they are happy about how dispatch is treating them and what management can do to improve the relationship.

4. Fleet Amenities

Drivers spend an average of 70 hours a week on the road. This means the truck itself is home for an extended period of time. Amenities ensure that the drivers can feel as comfortable and secure as possible, even though they are living and working in a truck. In addition to investing in the latest amenities for trucks, employers can ask drivers about which amenities are important to them.

It would be a waste to invest thousands of dollars on a feature which most drivers are indifferent towards.

Ask drivers which amenities they are happy with and which additional ones they’d like to have. Including a rating scale in the survey would help. You may be surprised how many amenities drivers may not care much about, and which ones they do care about.

5. Benefits Packages

Along with salary, benefits packages are a strong determinant of job satisfaction. Health insurance, vision and dental packages are the norm, but what else could companies be offering their drivers to differentiate from competitors?

Ask drivers about their current insurance packages, and how satisfied they are with them. Which other features and options would they like to have in those packages?

Some companies automatically enroll employees in retirement plans, while others ask drivers for their preferences. Some drivers may not want to choose and wouldn’t mind their employers choosing for them. Other drivers would rather have their spouse or partners choose and offload the decision to them. Asking drivers about how and why they’d like to make those decisions, and working around their preferences, will increase overall satisfaction with the process.

6. Company Culture and Values

This may be one of the most overlooked important factors in driver job satisfaction. In addition to the dispatchers, drivers will be in contact with dozens of other company representatives. How well are those individuals treating the drivers?

One of the most common complaints drivers have is that they are not felt respected. While top management of the company may strive for certain values, this may not percolate throughout the organization.

Each employee must implement and realize a company’s culture, otherwise they just become words and not actions. In a recent Drive My Way survey of drivers, the majority of recipients responded that they do not feel valued. Ask your drivers how valued they feel and how management can ensure that everyone in the organization is treating drivers with respect. Remember that if drivers don’t feel valued, they wouldn’t recommend that company to others.

There are a dozen other questions one could ask in a driver survey, but here are some of the basics. Other surveys can also gauge a driver’s sense of meaning, autonomy, and purpose. First though, ask questions about basic driver preferences to get a rough sketch of satisfaction and potential changes.

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.

Get the Ebook

truck driver stats

“Know your audience” is one of the key mantras of the business world now, regardless of which industry or market one is in. Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the transportation industry. They literally connect the industry’s different players together through the mobile nature of their workers.

Knowing more about the average truck driver and their work and lifestyle can help employers recruit and retain workers. It will also help them connect and empathize with drivers on a personal level and foster a more positive work environment. A positive relationship between management and drivers feels good, but also leads to more productivity, motivation, and loyalty from drivers. Here are 7 truck driver stats every employer needs to know.

1. There are 3.5 million truck drivers in the US.

Even though this is a very large industry and workforce, there is a considerable driver shortage. Out of these, only about 1.6 million are heavy-duty tractor trailer drivers. To complicate matters, driver turnover is significantly high. Treat your drivers well and remember that the labor is not easily replaceable.

Only about 6% of all truck drivers are women (about 200,000), although this number is on the rise.

This remains a largely untapped market for potential drivers and is a contributor to the driver shortage.

 2. The average truck driver age is 49.

Knowing the demographic and social profile of drivers will help you connect with their interests, values, and lifestyle.

The average truck driver is middle-aged and been through plenty of other jobs and work experience. Treat them with respect like mature professionals, not rookies.

The average driver is also most likely married or has been married in the past. They most likely have children. Family time is an important factor that drivers consider when deciding who to work for.

 3. The average driver workweek is 70 hours in an 8-day period.

This should give some idea of how taxing the driver work schedule is. Seventy hours is much higher than the 44-hour workweek of the average American.

Additionally, the average driver works 8 days before taking a day off. This means an average of eight days without seeing family, unless there are special benefits with companies offer.

Providing a more appealing working schedule package will help differentiate your company from the rest of the crowd.

4. The average number of miles logged by a driver in a single year is 100,000 miles.

This is another staggering example of truck driver stats that you need to know. Miles logged paints a picture of how much time a driver spends on the road in just one year. Being behind the wheel for such a long time has implications for driver lifestyle and health.

Investing in cabin amenities for drivers will go a long way in appealing to their needs in the truck itself.

While not everything can be done behind the wheel, employers can make sure drivers are comfortable with the latest amenities such as ergonomic seating and satellite radio.

5. The average yearly earnings by a driver is $41,000.

This isn’t a very significant number for the tremendous amount of labor put in by truck drivers. There are constant pressures on employers to cut operating costs in the different aspects of the business. Too often, the hit is taken on labor itself. By creating efficiencies in other areas of the business, or cutting costs in other ways, employers can attempt to raise the salary offering for drivers.

Offering better compensation for drivers will significantly attract them to your company more than the competition.

Due to the driver shortage, drivers will have no hesitation going to another company for work if they feel like they are not being compensated as well as they deserve.

6. The projected employment growth for tractor-trailer drivers from 2016-2026 is 6%.

The truck driver stats on job outlook over the next 10 years is comparable to most other occupations. However, it remains to be seen if this will cover the increase in the demand for goods transported over the roads.

It is likely that the driver shortage will remain an industry factor for a considerable period of time.

Basically, the growth in drivers may not be higher than the growth in the number of jobs, so make sure you’re doing all you can to attract and retain drivers.

7. The number of nights away from home for the average driver is 240 nights.

That’s almost 2/3 of the year away from home. Considering the age and demographic profile of truck drivers, most of them likely have a family they’d like to spend time with.

Employers can’t change the intrinsic nature of the job, which is that drivers will be on the road and away from home. They can however, offer benefits packages which address the drivers specific home life and schedule needs.

Many companies now offer extended time-off, flexible work schedules, or even offer to have couples travel on the road together. Getting to know your driver’s schedule needs will help you craft a package tailored to their needs and retain them for longer.

driver happiness and retention survey

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Driver Happiness & Retention Survey

Are drivers happy at work? What makes them happy? Drive My Way surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their careers and life.

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