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4 Ways to Engage Drivers as a Small Trucking BusinessAccording to Drive My Way’s Truck Driver Happiness and Retention Survey, only 54% of surveyed drivers say they are happy with their job. Younger and newer drivers expressed higher levels of happiness than older, more experienced drivers. In addition, females expressed higher satisfaction levels as did those working for larger companies.
Beth Potratz

Beth Potratz, CEO of Drive My Way shares: “Too many CDL drivers are not happy with their job. A truck driver’s life and job are inextricably connected, therefore it’s critical their job fits their needs and preferences so they can live the life they want doing the job they love.”

Taking that research into account, you might also wonder how the size of the employer might affect happiness and retention. What might make a smaller company an attractive place for a driver to work? What gives small carriers an advantage over larger carriers? In this case, there’s plenty of things that a smaller company can use to its advantage when working to recruit and retain great truck drivers. Here we’ll take a look at 4 little ways to engage drivers at a small trucking business.

1. Show Drivers You Care

Showing signs of appreciation for your drivers should be part of any company’s overall culture. Though grand gestures of appreciation are usually well-received, it’s the smaller things that standout. The things that make life easier on a daily basis that can make the most difference. A simple thank you goes a long way to keep employees feeling appreciated and engaged. Investments in continuing driver education help driver know you value them. Being respectful of scheduling requests makes your drivers feel respected. These are the little things that a small trucking business can do well to compete for driver loyalty. Take a look at the list below, which of these things do you use to your advantage?

Small trucking companies have the following advantages:

  1. Know your drivers by name
  2. Family-first culture
  3. Flexibility
  4. Close-knit teams
  5. Less layers and bureaucracy
  6. More meaningful interactions
  7. Plenty of opportunity to grow

2. Open Lines of Communication

Communicate with drivers effectively and ask to hear their opinion on crucial topics such as compensation, equipment, and home time. Showing that you care about your drivers is important. If you give your drivers ways to supply their feedback, this can encourage further driver engagement as well.

As a small trucking business, you can really highlight the intangibles that make working for you attractive. If you’ve got a great home time policy, be sure to include and communicate that. Tell prospective employees about the things you provide that larger carriers cannot. These indirect forms of compensation are something to communicate when recruiting new drivers.

Whenever someone is asked for their opinion on something that’s important, it makes them more connected to the decision-making. And ultimately connected and invested in the way the company performs. All of these things add to the value perceived by your drivers, and should be communicated as a part of their total compensation when they join your team.

3. Prioritize What Makes Drivers Happy

Does it matter if drivers are happy? Drive My Way’s Truck Driver Happiness and Retention Survey indicates that driver job satisfaction, retention, and recruiting are strongly interconnected. Not only are happy drivers more likely to stay with your company, but they are also more likely to recommend and help recruit your next driver hire.

Asking your employees about happiness is a great indicator of turnover risk. Investing in the satisfaction of your drivers can have a big payoff in both retention and recruiting.

Driver Happiness Factors

What makes a driver happy?

This graphic from the Truck Driver Happiness and Retention Survey shows what makes truck drivers happy, and which factors impact their retention more than others.

Are you making these things a priority in your current driver strategy? What changes should you make?

4. Advancement Opportunities

There are a few great ways to help a new driver know that if they join your carrier, they can have long and fulfilling career with you. Implementing mentorship programs and having a driver career path established will help a driver picture how they will fit in and grow with your company over the long-haul.

Mentorship programs are great tools for your small trucking business. They help engage new drivers by having a designated person to show the the rope. And it also gives your current drivers an opportunity to share what they know to help a new driver get established. These relationships can be very mutually beneficial for the drivers, and certainly valuable for company culture and employee retention.

Having a mentor, and also having an established career path to follow can help a driver become connected early and know that they’ve made a great decision to be with you for many years and many, many miles.

If you’re just getting started, or if you’re a well-established small trucking business, you most certainly have advantages to use in your favor while building your team of drivers. Lean into the strengths and advantages that are unique to a trucking company of your size and do the things that larger carriers simply cannot. Word of mouth is a great tactic to help you attract and retain drivers when you’re small or just getting started.

driver happiness and retention survey

FREE SURVEY REPORT

Driver Lifestyle & Job Happiness Survey

We surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their career and life. Access the survey report to see the results.

Get the Results

stop sexual harassment in trucking

Sexual harassment in the trucking industry is a documented problem. The good news is, many people want to promote safer work environments and stop harassment. Frequently, conversations center on women who experience sexual harassment. This is not a problem exclusively experienced by women, but in a heavily male-dominated field, it is often women who report incidents. As a result of the trucking shortage, more and more female drivers are entering the workforce, and safety on the job needs to be a priority.

Regardless of your personal feelings on the subject, it makes good business sense to take clear steps to stop sexual harassment in trucking. Small companies and large fleets alike can rely on a combination of policy and company culture. What’s a good way to check if you’re doing well? Look around you. Are women drivers and employees who you recruit staying with your company? If there is a disproportionately high level of churn among female employees, uncover the reasons for that turnover.

What is Considered Sexual Harassment?

  • Quid Pro Quo: This is one of the easiest forms of harassment to identify, though it may not be easy to report or document. Quid Pro Quo is an explicit request or demand from someone in a position of direct or perceived power of “I do this for you, then you do this for me.”
  • Hostile Work Environment: This harassment is often much harder to spot. At its core, a hostile work environment is any unwanted speech or conduct that makes someone else uncomfortable and inhibits someone from doing their job. It could include anything from crude jokes or suggestive comments to inappropriate photos or shirts to nonconsensual touching or other forms of unwanted attention. Hostile work environment complaints are evaluated based on how the comment or action was perceived, not how it was intended. So, make sure employees are clear on your company policies and expectations.

How Can You Promote A Safe Workplace?

1. Policies

Many companies share sexual harassment policies during driver orientation. Unfortunately, while that may be sufficient if legal action is taken, it may not be very effective in preventing incidents. During onboarding, drivers receive a lot of new information, and the complexity of legal policies makes them difficult to understand at the best of times. 

Policies should be clear to everyone on your staff. Provide a straight forward reporting structure for documenting an incident before a situation arises.

Instead, remind employees frequently of your policies by incorporating it into your company culture. At their core, policies should be comprehensive but clear to your staff. Communicate a zero-tolerance policy of sexual harassment in your workplace. In addition, provide an uncomplicated, consistent reporting structure for documentation of incidents before there is an incident to report. Encourage employees to use this structure if they do need to report a situation.

2. Training

In addition to training all drivers, recruiters, and other employees on your policies, consider offering safety training. Offer this training to women or anyone else who wants to join the conversation about safety on the road and in the workplace. The underlying question is, “What can you do to set drivers up for safety?” 

As an employer, help prepare female and other drivers for these situations. Communicate that it is not their fault. It’s important not to place blame or hold the injured person responsible for the situation. Then, share best practices for preventing and confronting uncomfortable situations. Encourage drivers to be aware of their surroundings. Share resources such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) if drivers want to reach out for confidential help.

3. Reporting

female truck driversUnfortunately, many drivers will experience sexual harassment on the job. Decide how you will handle sexual harassment situations before they arise. Have an open-door reporting policy on reporting. Make it as easy as possible for drivers to bring an incident to your attention. Prior to an incident, clearly share how drivers can expect reports to be handled. If there are specific forms of documentation you require, make sure your employees know what that is. Take care not to set barriers that unintentionally repress reporting. 

Having a designated check-in person is another great way to encourage a culture of safety. Employees should know that they can approach that person with sexual harassment reports. If drivers aren’t coming to you, it may mean that they are too nervous or uncomfortable to broach the subject. Designate someone on staff to periodically reach out to drivers proactively about their experience on the job. 

4. Accountability

Accountability includes two sides when it comes to stopping sexual harassment in the trucking industry. The first is accountability within your company. When someone makes a sexual harassment report, it’s important that staff are trained to take the complaint seriously. In addition to prioritizing strong company values, there could be legal consequences for ignoring or glossing over a sexual harassment report. 

Hold your company and your employees responsible for their actions. A safe workplace benefits all employees.

The second aspect of accountability is to hold any employees involved responsible for their actions. Clarify how your company will follow up on the report and what the consequences will be. Clearly state (in writing when possible) what will happen if there is a repeat incident. Ultimately, a safer workplace is a positive asset for all employees.

driver happiness and retention survey

FREE SURVEY REPORT

Driver Lifestyle & Job Happiness Survey

We surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their career and life. Access the survey report to see the results.

Get the Results

truck driver mental health

Promoting healthy habits among your fleet is about more than physical health. More and more trucking companies are prioritizing mental health and considering its impact on overall employee well-being. Especially with increased tension due to COVID 19, creating strong connections and policies that support the mental health of truck drivers is critical. Here are a few ways to incorporate healthy structured and unstructured practices in your company.

1. Allow Person and Pet Ride-along Programs

Long hours of solitude on the road can take a toll on drivers. Even for drivers who love the open road, solo driving can make it hard to build and maintain close relationships.

Recruiter Bryce Kjellander at Stevens Trucking shared this about why they offer a pet and rider policy:

“Our pet and rider policies have definitely assisted with driver retention.  In the recruiting office, we hear how certain drivers wouldn’t even entertain driving for a company who didn’t offer both. A majority of our drivers love having the option to have a loved one or pet in the truck with them. In stressful times, both help improve a driver’s mental health, and we are pleased to offer both.”

Offering a partner or pet ride-along program is a great way to support driver mental health. Having a co-pilot can help prevent loneliness, alleviate driver stress, and boost spirits on the road. 

2. Support Regular Food and Exercise Routines

Trucking has been called one of America’s most unhealthy professions. Unfortunately, it’s for good reasons. In a study from the CDC conducted with more than 1,600 long haul truck drivers, 88% of drivers reported having at least one risk factor for chronic disease. Poor physical health can also take a toll on mental health. 

healthy truckerTo support strong mental health in your fleet, support good dietary and exercise habits. Regular, moderately intense exercise can reduce stress and anxiety while also improving sleep. Similarly, a healthy, well-balanced diet and proper hydration are great ways to improve overall driver health. As a company, consider how you can support healthy habits in your fleet. Health coaching, dietary resources, and regular health screenings are all ways to create a culture of physical and mental health in your fleet.

3. Encourage Good Sleep Habits

Whether your fleet is OTR, regional, or local, sleep is a critical part of road safety. Whenever possible, keep driver schedules as consistent as possible. In addition, fleets should consider offering sleep apnea testing as part of health care benefits. According to an FMCSA study, an astounding 28% of commercial drivers suffer from sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can make it difficult for drivers to focus and react quickly on the road.

To put the impact of sleep in perspective, Smart Trucking notes that the impact of driving with less than 8 hours of sleep each night is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.10. 

For OTR drivers, good sleep can be particularly hard to come by. Help your drivers improve their sleep by encouraging them to use blackout curtains in the truck and bring some of the comforts of home in the cab. Some photos or small decorations can go a long way to keeping drivers in a positive mindset.

4. Promote Strong Relationships

Having strong, healthy relationships is closely linked with positive mental health. That extends far beyond the walls of the home. Build a company culture of connection, especially during this time when health concerns are keeping many people apart. Internally, encourage meaningful relationships in structured ways, such as mentor programs. Encourage drivers to be particularly proactive in taking time to connect with loved ones while on the road. Employers can help facilitate strong home relationships by clearly communicating home time to drivers.

Technology can also help play a role in strong relationship building. As a company, take advantage of software that optimizes drivers’ time on the road. Work with your sights set on improving quality of life rather than exclusively raising your bottom line. Drivers will reward you with loyalty and retention.

5. Have Available Resources

One of the best ways to support the mental health of your truck drivers is to be prepared with resources before they are urgently needed. Make sure that counseling and other mental health supports are included in the health insurance plan you offer. Similarly, share information such as national hotlines as part of your driver orientation. Doing so sets a tone that mental health is a priority and helps destigmatize conversations when drivers need them most.

Warning Signs of a Mental Health Crisis

If you start noticing strong behavioral changes in your drivers, it may be a sign of deeper problems. Watch for these common red flags among your drivers:

  1. Quick and strong emotional reactions
  2. Extra tired
  3. Trouble focusing  
  4. Inability to handle daily problems and stress 
  5. Withdrawal from social circles personally and professionally

Especially in times of uncertainty, it’s important to connect with drivers proactively. Even if drivers are initially uncertain or skeptical about taking mental health seriously, provide them with support resources, and encourage drivers to peruse at their own pace. 

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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home time

Home time is a very important job benefit to many drivers. Communicating policies clearly sets drivers’ expectations from the start. As with all driver communication, strive for clarity, consistency, and empathy. Set your policies early, but prepare a few flexible solutions for the times when unexpected emergencies arise. Implement these best practices for communicating home time with drivers, and get to know the most frequently asked questions.

1. Give the Details Early

Home time is cited as a top priority for many drivers. In our Drive My Way Driver Happiness Survey, time at home was ranked more important than Bonuses and Benefits, Equipment, and Route/Location among other factors. Only pay and company culture ranked higher when drivers answered what was attractive to them in a job. With that in mind, make sure to list home time in job descriptions.

Allowing drivers to decide right away whether the job is a good fit for them ensures you’ll only interview drivers who are a good fit. 

Home time policies should also come up in a job interview. If drivers don’t ask, be clear in stating your policy, especially if there are any unique elements to it. This is another opportunity to ensure that your recruitment policies prepare you for strong driver retention. Communicating policies early and often helps set a tone of transparency for new drivers.

2. Strive for Consistency

Clear home time policies go a long way with drivers. When possible, follow a clear pattern for days off. For some companies, this will be easy. For others, a consistent schedule simply isn’t practical.

Whether you offer 2 weeks on the road 2 days off or 7 days on 1 day off, be as consistent as possible within your scheduled routes.

Drivers want to know what they can expect and may be planning family events around their time off. Stay as close to their anticipated schedule as you’re able to, and share changes with advance notice. 

3. Put it in Writing

Home time should be clearly stated in the hiring contract. While it may seem unnecessary, putting home time in writing is good protection for both the company and drivers. If your policy is in writing, it ensures consistency among drivers. If you do have different policies for seniority or other factors, make sure that is clearly outlined so there is no favoritism at play. 

Having expectations set in writing also manages company optics. There should be no question about why drivers have different home time policies. Visible policies are good for clarity upfront and protect you if disputes occur later.

4. Be Understanding

Inevitably, drivers will request time off that is different from their standard home time policy. When extenuating circumstances arise, be flexible when you’re able to. Understandably, it’s not always possible to get drivers home immediately. Strong communication is your best asset. In difficult situations, be sympathetic, and use neutral language as you explain the situation. Empathize with the driver and work to identify a solution that works for both parties.

5. Be Prepared for Driver Questions

Home time is very important to most drivers.  Drivers who are willing to be out for weeks may still have obligations at home. They speak highly of companies that recognize this and try hard to get them home when they need it. Because home time is so important, questions are a guarantee.

Here are some of the most common questions that we get at Drive My Way.

  1. Is home time truly guaranteed?
  2. Do I have a say in when I take my time?
  3. Will I work weekends or be off?
  4. Will I be home for my reset? 
  5. Are the home time and mileage really what is listed in the job description or communicated in the interview?

TruckingTruth also shares a few common driver FAQ.

  1. What happens in case of an emergency?
  2. How are loads assigned?
  3. What hours will I work each day?

6. Identify Areas for Flexibility

If drivers stay with your fleet for long enough, they will likely request time at home outside their typical policy at some point. Additionally, new drivers might ask about for more time at home in a hiring interview. Before those conversations arise, consider how you can offer flexibility in a way that works with you.

One option is to offer a take your truck home program. If drivers don’t have to add the extra miles to and from a terminal, that means more time with their loved ones. Another option is to offer an emergency policy. Drivers might be granted a minimal, set number of days to use in case of personal emergencies. Partner or pet ride-along programs also offer drivers similar benefits while keeping them on the road.

driver happiness and retention survey

FREE SURVEY REPORT

Driver Lifestyle & Job Happiness Survey

We surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their career and life. Access the survey report to see the results.

Get the Results

driver care

Let’s call a spade a spade. 2020 has been a year full of surprises and challenges. As an employer in the trucking industry, you may have a front-row seat to the hardships of Coronavirus. As you’re navigating these uncharted waters, be proactive in reaching out to your entire staff. This is not business as usual, and silence will be noticed. Take this opportunity to firmly demonstrate that your company cares about drivers. Focus on driver care, and you will build positive, lasting relationships for years to come. Here are just a few ways to show employees that you value them as people as well as for their work. 

1. Clear Communication

Be transparent and proactive with driver communication. It is one of the best ways to demonstrate driver care during COVID-19. Good communication is increasingly important because face-to-face interactions are scarce and can be hard to facilitate.

As you navigate the many transitions of this year, integrate driver check-ins as a regular priority. Ask drivers what form of communication works best for them.

While you may prefer emails, your drivers may feel more connected through phone calls, video calls, or texts. Show them you care by reaching out in the way they prefer, even if it’s not your most natural communication channel. 

2. Truck Sanitation

mask

As essential workers, truck drivers are keeping our country moving. As a fleet manager, you know that keeping drivers safe and healthy needs to be top of mind. Even as other industries slowly reopen and stay at home orders are lifted, the danger is not gone. Make a plan for sanitizing fleet equipment. 

If you haven’t already, consider sending drivers out with the resources they need for their day to day work. Masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes go a long way toward making drivers more comfortable. Regardless of what you decide, clearly communicate with drivers what you are doing and your expectations for them. If you ask drivers to bring their own supplies, consider reimbursing their purchases. 

3. Mental Health

A life on the road has its fair share of loneliness for anyone, but COVID-19 adds unique stress. Often, drivers are working increased hours or are completing more runs. The pressure for on-time deliveries is high. In addition, many drivers are deeply concerned with the well-being of their loved ones.

The same home time that is often a relief may be equally or more stressful than being on the road.

As a result, even when they come home after a few days or weeks on the road, family time may be very different. Some drivers intentionally quarantine themselves when home to reduce the risk of spread. As you check-in with drivers, provide them with resources to help connect with spouses, children, and friends. 

4. Company Culture

Perhaps ironically, challenging times often provide the clearest moments for demonstrating strong company culture. Focusing on driver care helps build relationships throughout your organization. It’s also an effort that will leave a lasting impression on your drivers. Treat them well, and you will reap the benefits for years. 

Drive My Way feature of Driver Dee from Prime Inc.

There are both public and private ways to prioritize driver care. In the public eye, use this opportunity to visibly thank and showcase drivers. If you maintain social media accounts or share a regular newsletter, use your platform to elevate drivers. Trucking is often a thankless job. Even though many Americans are now publicly thanking drivers, company recognition goes a long way. Consider launching a driver showcase series where you spotlight one stand-out driver each week. Then, you’re boosting morale and offering other drivers a model of what a top employee looks like. 

Private appreciation of drivers can take many forms. In addition to your regular driver check-ins, consider writing short, personalized notes. Alternately, pack lunch bags or coolers for drivers. It’s no secret that a healthy life on the road is harder than ever right now.

Sending drivers with a cooler shows that you care and you understand their challenges. If you’re not sure where to start, ask for feedback. Most drivers are all too happy to share their suggestions for improvement. Are drivers happy with how communication and health concerns are handled? Thoughtfully consider the suggestions that are offered. Then, choose a few to implement as soon as possible. Being responsive to driver questions and concerns is a form of driver appreciation.

The Long and the Short Of It

As we move into the second half of 2020, experts forecast that companies should prepare for the continued effects of  COVID-19. Now, you have time on your side. A focus on driver care necessitates both short and long term planning. In addition to your ongoing efforts to support drivers now, start developing a relief plan for the future. Consider, what would you have done differently this spring if you had been given 4 months warning? Take advantage of your experience this spring and develop a plan to sustain your company and support drivers in the event of a second wave.

quick-guide-to-remote-onboarding-truck-drivers

FREE QUICK GUIDE

Remote Onboarding for Truck Drivers

Is remote onboarding the new normal in trucking? This quick guide is packed with tips to get you started or help you optimize your current remote onboarding process.

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How to Recruit Truck Drivers for a Small Company

Truck drivers are being recruited constantly for open jobs. Large carriers (with potentially equally large recruiting budgets) can be out there closing the best drivers quickly. Lots of advertising, flashy recruiting tactics, and rooms full of people working could make it seem hard to compete. But what seems like an advantage to the bigger carriers could be a bigger advantage to a smaller trucking company. Being a small company doesn’t mean you can’t compete for the best drivers out there, but it does mean you need to develop a solid recruitment strategy to compete well. Let’s look at how to recruit truck drivers for a small company.

Use Your Strengths to Recruit Truck Drivers

Determine what differentiates your fleet and lean into it. Take the time to think about your strengths and get to the core of why a driver would want to work for you. Consider the key things like pay, benefits, and routes. But also think about your close-knit environment, the value placed on work-life balance, and the genuinely great non-tangibles that only you can provide.

What’s your company’s unique value proposition? What sets your company and culture apart from the rest? Why do your drivers want to work for you? Why do they stay?

Herein lies the answers to how to position your company, and drive that point across all your messaging to recruit truck drivers. Once you can highlight the ways you stand out from other carriers, it’s easier to connect with the best-fit drivers. Work through these questions and develop the key messages that you want to hone in on in all of your postings.

Implement a Referral System

There are not enough hands to follow several job board postings and keep up with everything else. You can start by creating a referral program. Use your current employees to generate quality leads for you. Include your extended personal and professional networks as well. Let these people know you’re looking for new drivers and see who they know who fit your open jobs. Consider including an incentive program for referrals as a tactic when working to generate referrals. That puts some skin-in-the-game for your network too.

Candidates who come in through these referrals usually have a more accurate picture of the company than those who come in through ads, and in most cases employees recommend people they think will be a good match. —The Wall Street Journal

Connect Personally with Each Lead

Put the quality of your efforts into whatever quantity of leads you generate. Each lead is a real person who is looking for a job. They found your company to be a good fit for them based on what they read. Be sure you take the time to connect personally with each lead. And do it quickly.

Be personal in your interactions and don’t make them feel like a number. That personal connection is another best practice to recruit truck drivers.

Any small company needs to think a little bit differently than a larger company. There’s less hands to do the work, and often the small staff must wear many hats within the team. That can be a good thing when developing a company culture. It leads to closer relationships, and better communication. And this small team can be mighty if using the right tools to recruit truck drivers.

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 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.
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

Layer 1

As a recruiter, you get barraged with job applications. The ratio of job applications for each open position can be overwhelming for recruiters to deal with. Sifting through dozens of applications and remembering each and every candidate can be exhausting, not to mention time-consuming.

Yet, it can be extremely helpful to contact truck drivers faster and speed up the hiring process. It goes without saying that if you don’t contact job candidates fast enough, you’ll lose them to someone else. There are also many other reasons to contact truck drivers faster during the hiring process and maintain open lines of communication and dialogue.

1. You Won’t Lose the Top Candidates

The most important reason to contact truck drivers faster is that this way you’re less likely to lose the top candidates to your competitors. In fact, according to data by drivers matched through Drive My Way, the top reason candidates declined job offers is because they just accepted an offer by someone else.

Being scooped by rivals is especially risky for your top candidates. One recommended solution is to assign a “decide-by date” for candidates. This way you can focus your immediate time and attention first to the top-tier prospects, then to the second-tier prospects, and so on.

Categorize your prospects into tiers, type of jobs, or other characteristics. Otherwise, you risk drowning in an overwhelming number of candidates whose details you won’t remember. It may seem intuitive that a slow hiring process improves the quality of those you hire because you have more time to gather information and feedback before deciding. However, there is a trade-off as well. Slow hiring can also have the opposite effect because the longer you take, the lower the quality of new hires will be.

If you take too long to hire, you may have to pay new hires more because they will be bid on.

So, if your company is the first to approach and hire them before other companies have a chance to offer them something, they will most likely accept your initial salary offer. Contacting truck drivers sooner lowers the chances that they will be scooped up by rivals, or that rivals will drive up the salary negotiation process.

2. A Window to Communication on the Job

A big reason to contact truck drivers faster and often during the hiring process is that it is a strong indicator of workplace communication habits within the company. This is a reason often missed by recruiters because it has more to do with marketing than with HR. This goes to the heart of the dual function recruiters play in organizations.

In addition to facilitating the hiring process from point of contact through placement, recruiters also play a role in persuading top talent to join their fleets. The speed and flexibility of the hiring process can indicate to job candidates that the organization communicates with its employees well and makes decisions quickly.

A candidate might impress you by arriving early and proactively sending a thank-you note. Similarly, your company can impress candidates by contacting them quickly and offering as much information as possible.

According to a survey by the platform 15Five, only 15% of employees are “very satisfied” with the quality of communication within their companies. This leaves plenty of room for improvement, and any way to signal that your company values communication will be noticed by truck drivers.

3. Give Feedback on Resumes or Interviews

The traditional method is that a candidate applies, you review their materials, and schedule an interview. Some companies may touch base once or twice, or at times, the candidate only hears back once you’ve made a decision. But most candidates want to hear how they did, whether good or bad. In a LinkedIn survey, 94% of respondents said they want to receive feedback on their interviews.

Employers are afraid of upsetting candidates or gaining a bad reputation such that they avoid giving feedback entirely. However, if done right, you can give candidates extremely beneficial feedback. Talk about both positives and negatives, and you can maintain or even improve your company’s reputation.

Let them know that you were impressed by their materials and experiences. Then, lead with strengths before weaknesses. Inform them about what you liked or which skill or experience made them particularly strong. When addressing weaknesses, take care to phrase it delicately. “I would have loved to have heard more about….”, or “I didn’t get the chance to learn about…..” usually works best, regardless of whether the message is over phone or email.

Candidates might surprise you. Many people will thank you for the feedback, even if they aren’t the best match for the positions. This can boost your company’s reputation among truck drivers, and the good karma may come back to help you with a prospect highly suited for your fleet. Contact your prospects faster to give them feedback on how they did.

4. Start Talking Numbers Early

One final reason to contact truck drivers faster is to start talking about salary and compensation. Usually recruiters may mention numbers only with an offer and expect candidates to accept or negotiate for a higher salary.

If you start mentioning numbers mid-way through the recruiting process it actually has several advantages.

Bringing up the numbers early on signals your interest to your prospects. This makes it less likely that they will accept another offer by someone else. Second, the nature of salary and compensation becomes more transparent. Your prospects have very little idea if your offer is in line with their skills, what salary is typical at the company, and other factors that go into deciding the compensation package.

Most companies think it is in their interest to keep their prospects in the dark. In reality, it may be more beneficial to be transparent. Most candidates aren’t just looking for more money, but they want to know that they are being paid fairly. If your package is the best the company can afford to pay them, your prospects will want to know that.

A PayScale survey found that 82% of employees who were payed lower than industry average but whose employer was open about their salary were satisfied with their jobs.

It even helps to show your math: how did the company reach that figure? Contact truck drivers faster and be open and transparent about pay and benefits early in the game. Doing so will help you gain trust and build a stronger reputation for your company.

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What do truck drivers look for in jobs? What are the most important traits to them? These are the questions that pester recruiters in the back of their minds. Recruiters know that there is a driver shortage, and that truck drivers are looking for the best jobs they can find. If drivers aren’t happy then, they will quickly move on to finding another job with another fleet. We’ve written previously about the top factors truck drivers want. Here are some of the top traits of the best trucking jobs as drivers see them.

1. Salary and Compensation

Have no doubt about it—drivers are looking to be compensated well. Truck drivers are in high demand, and they know it. The salary and benefits of different jobs depend on a number of factors which may sometimes be out of your control. That being said, make sure you do everything you can to ensure that drivers are being paid well for the type of job they are taking on.

Compensating drivers below the industry average will raise red flags and impact your company’s reputation.

In addition to salary, there are many financial incentives you can consider, such as sign-on bonuses and paid time off. Some companies give their drivers a bonus for every year that they stay with the fleet. Make sure that drivers are receiving a simple pay statement that is easy to understand and has the accurate amount. Drivers don’t want to waste time following up with the payroll department for company errors.

2. Home Time

This is one of the most important traits of the best trucking jobs. The ideal trucking job doesn’t take OTR drivers out on the road for more than a week. If the run is local or regional, even better. While drivers realize that OTR jobs are necessary, they will expect their work schedules to reflect the sacrifice in home time. Ideally, there is a considerable amount of home time of several days between jobs.

Don’t forget, the average driver works 8 days straight before taking a break. Anything the company can do to shorten that schedule, or to add more home time after that schedule, will be something drivers will appreciate.

Most drivers will have families hoping to see them every week. Even truck drivers currently without families will crave downtime after being on the road for that long.

3. Mileage

The number of miles offered on a given job is one of the traits of the best trucking jobs. Some drivers may feel that the shorter the run, the more desirable the job. But, that isn’t always the case. Other drivers enjoy OTR jobs, and would rather have a longer job which pays more. It is completely up to driver preferences.

Most importantly, drivers will be upset if the advertised mileage doesn’t match the real mileage.

Similarly, if the other traits of the job are not what they were advertised to be, drivers will not trust your company. Word about company reputation can spread like wildfire.

4. Equipment

Truck drivers are often frustrated when dealing with shoddy equipment. Drivers routinely warn other drivers to stay away from companies just because of the reputation they have over equipment. A big factor in determining what’s a good truck driving job is the state of their trucks and equipment. Are the truck models recent and well maintained? Or are they falling apart?

Truck drivers don’t want to be held liable for maintenance failures on the company’s end. Nor do they want to have to spend time repairing the truck while they should be on the road getting to the next destination.

While your fleet doesn’t need to have the latest and greatest truck models, you should make sure they are well-maintained. Invest in quality equipment and truck drivers will consider jobs from your company to be some of the best.

5. Respect and Communication

Perhaps the biggest sign of a good job for truck drivers is how well they are treated by the company. Drivers view themselves as working professionals just like in any other industry. They are looking to be treated with respect by the company and by their peers and supervisors. Having respect for drivers means valuing their time and effort they put into the work.

Put most simply, drivers just want the company’s representatives to treat them they way they would like to be treated.

A big component of respect is how well the company communicates with drivers. Having an open line of communication where both parties feel their concerns are heard and understood will go a long way toward earning drivers’ trust. Make sure dispatchers and others are not speaking to drivers rudely or taking them for granted.

In addition to some of the monetary factors, things like respect and strong communication from the company are what make for a good truck driving job. Keep these traits in mind that drivers look for, and soon your company will be known for offering some of the best trucking jobs.

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recruit millennial truck drivers

The driver shortage is in full force. The average age of truck drivers is nearing closer and closer to retirement age, with more drivers leaving the industry. Meanwhile, competition from the ride-share industry continues. That means that drivers can get lured into working for Lyft or Uber which may offer better pay or benefits. Due to these factors, many recruiters are looking to hire from a younger pool of candidates. As you plan for new hires, be sure to recruit millennial truck drivers.

Employers who recruit millennial truck drivers not only bring talented and enthusiastic new people to the company and industry but potentially sets up loyalty for years to come. But be careful—millennials value different things than the average truck driver. You won’t attract millennials to the industry by practicing business as usual, and you won’t retain them if they don’t feel valued.

Follow these guidelines to bring more millennial drivers into your fleet and keep them there longer.

1. Advertise to Millennials on Social Media

You should be using the latest digital marketing tools to advertise to everyone, but this is especially true for millennials.

This younger generation is always connected on smartphones, and often look toward social media for networking and job searching.

Creating engaging content on all social media channels will attract their attention, in addition to linking to specific job postings. Videos and other digital content will especially catch their eye. Use different channels—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn—for different purposes or use them in tandem if needed. To reach your new audience, you have to actually meet them where they are.

2. Streamline the Application Process

This is another good practice in general, but particularly useful for a younger candidate pool. Millennials will be more tech-savvy than the current average truck driver.

If your job application process is long and tedious, you may lose many candidates who just don’t want to deal with the mess. You need to streamline the HR process.

First, your job application needs to be mobile-friendly. More likely than not, millennial job candidates will be accessing your job portal through their smartphone. Second, make sure you touch base with prospects ASAP over phone or text, ask what the best way is to stay in touch, and then actually use that method! Nothing can be more annoying than getting calls or emails when one has already voiced that isn’t ideal.

Lastly, make the job interview a little unique and interesting. Instead of outmoded and canned questions, ask about activities that may not be on the resume and get to know the complete individual. What young candidates may lack in work experience, they may make up in volunteer activities, academic studies, or life experiences in general. Consider convenience factors like interviews on the phone or through online video conferencing tools. Aim to be transparent about potentially tough issues like work-life balance, wellness benefits, company culture, and more.

3. Prioritize Work-Life Balance

Don’t assume that millennials are less likely to have an active family life and thus can be over-worked. Making this mistake will be a sure way to have new millennial drivers leave your company in a few months.

Millennials say they value work-life balance more than previous generations have. This is regardless of whether your younger drivers are married or single, or whether they have children or not.

Many millennials are struggling to balance and manage their careers, academics, and personal lives all at once. Being aware of these realities will help recruiters tailor the work schedule and type of run to the driver’s preferences. Making work-life balance a priority in your firm, and then highlighting it in the minds of young driver candidates will help you stand out compared to the competition.

4. Highlight Wellness Initiatives and Benefits

Of course, millennials will care about compensation, it’s just that they care about other things equally or greater. If you want to recruit millennial truck drivers, focus on the big picture. More than just salary, millennials will be curious to hear about your benefits packages.

With the costs of health insurance rising year after year, younger drivers will want to save as much money on benefits, even though they’re more likely to be in good health. Keep in mind that candidates who have just turned 26 will be on their own insurance plan for the first time.

In addition to the basic benefits, recruiters should highlight wellness initiatives and institute a culture of care. Basically, you want to reverse the idea that truck driving is necessarily an unhealthy career that will lead to health problems and a sedentary lifestyle. Initiatives that focus on finding ways to eat right and stay fit will show your candidates that there are ways to maintain good health. Let them know your company values promoting a healthy mind and body for all its employees.

5. Showcase Company Culture

Speaking of the company’s values, you should really highlight these to a millennial audience as a recruiter. Millennials will want careers with greater meaning and purpose than previous generations.

Many young people are willing to take a pay cut or change in work schedule if they find the work personally fulfilling and meaningful.

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. Encouraging travel, pets, or upgrading fleet amenities shows that the company cares about the employee’s individual needs and values.

Millennials are people too! And while it’s tricky to generalize about such a large and diverse group of individuals, some themes have emerged from the research. Millennials are driven in their career more by passion than by financial needs or obligations. They will stay at otherwise difficult jobs and career paths if they find it fulfilling or meaningful. On the other hand, if millennials don’t feel valued at their jobs, or feel like they are making a difference, they will not hesitate to move on to a different company or industry as quickly as they can. Millennials value flexibility and work-life balance more than previous generations so recruiters need to get creative in offering these in their packages.

These guidelines will help you adapt to the times and recruit the next generation of drivers. If you follow them, chances are that you’ll find a strong pool of talented drivers. If you ignore them, you run the risk of millennial drivers being scooped up by competitors, or even other industries.

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