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why truck drivers leave

Carriers across the country are dealing with high turnover for CDL drivers. While the problem isn’t as severe as some news outlets would have you believe, truck drivers are leaving jobs (or the industry altogether) at a higher-than-average rate.  

Carriers are spending effort, time, and money to attract drivers who may only stay with their carrier for a few months. For many of these carriers, the most frustrating part is not knowing why these drivers are leaving positions so quickly. Here are 3 of the biggest reasons that truck drivers are leaving CDL jobs.  

1. Pay and Benefits

It’s no surprise that pay and benefits are the biggest reason that truck drivers leave one position for another. Carriers are finding that they need to go above and beyond from a compensation and benefits perspective, as offering the industry average simply isn’t cutting it anymore. 

In addition to offering higher pay and better benefits, many carriers have also tried adding a large sign-on bonus to the offer to attract truck drivers. However, many of these carriers have found that offering a large sign-on bonus might attract truck drivers up front, but lead to low driver retention down the line. 

This is due to the mentality of some truckers staying long enough to collect the bonus, then transitioning to the next company offering the same large check. 

The best thing that carriers who are serious about driver retention can do is offer compensation above industry averages for their geographic area, and couple that with a generous benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, and even life insurance. These long-term benefits are what make many drivers stay at a carrier for a long time.  

2. Empty Promises

Carriers who over-promise and under-deliver are finding that that model for attracting drivers is no longer solid. Truck drivers have more options than ever before when it comes to which carrier they can drive for, so being honest and transparent are the best things carriers can do during the interview and hiring process if they want to recruit top talent.  

Employers who are transparent in nature with pay, benefits, job role, home time, etc. often reap the benefits. They may see more sustainable driver retention than those who exaggerate in a job description to get drivers in the door.  

In addition, if the truck drivers trust the organization, they won’t be shy to share this approval with their network. This can lead to an increase in driver referrals and a positive company culture that drivers will flock to.

3. Bad Dispatchers

As the saying goes, employees don’t leave the company. Employees leave the people at the company. If a truck driver finds themselves working with a dispatcher they truly dislike, it won’t be long before they start looking for a different opportunity. 

Why do drivers care so much about their dispatchers? The dispatcher is the primary representative for the company, and sometimes, a trucker’s only contact. Companies that spend time carefully matching dispatchers and drivers may see increased driver retention. Instead of randomly assigning drivers to dispatchers, factor in personality types, leadership styles, etc., and you will oftentimes see better relationships form and higher driver retention rates as a result.  

Another tip is to not wait for issues to arise, but instead be proactive and squash them before they happen. Carriers can do this by regularly collecting feedback from drivers about their dispatchers. You may find that multiple drivers have the same complaint about a certain dispatcher, which can help you to address the issue before drivers start leaving. 

Overall, the key to avoiding drivers from leaving your carrier is to remember that this is a driver’s market.  Focus on putting truckers first and remain transparent with job requirements. Offer competitive pay and benefits to continuously stand out against the competition. 

Comprehensive CDL Recruitment Solutions

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Now more than ever, the ability for carriers to retain truck drivers is key. As the labor market continues to tighten, companies need to reevaluate their recruiting and retention strategies for finding and keeping qualified drivers. 

Some carriers have tried offering large sign-on bonuses as a fix-all for recruiting and retaining drivers. Too many are then faced with turnover once the bonus is collected. Other companies have promised drivers home time and great pay but fall short of delivering these perks. 

In order to start attracting, hiring, and retaining qualified truck drivers in this competitive market, employers should apply these tips to their driver recruiting strategy to give themselves a competitive advantage.

1. Don’t Over-Promise and Under-Deliver

The last thing a driver wants is a carrier that over-promises and under-delivers. Before posting a job, carriers should take the time to look at the job description they’re putting out there and if it matches what the job really is. Make sure that pay isn’t inflated, home time is realistic, and benefits are factual. 

As a recruiter, it’s easy to think that you need to cast the widest net possible to get a good driver. But many times, this strategy leaves you with either no driver or a driver who isn’t a good fit and will lead to increased turnover. Carriers who are truthful in their job advertisements will attract the best candidates. 

When a carrier promises a driver certain perks only to change the rules a few months into the job, the driver loses interest in keeping that job and loses respect for the carrier. After that happens, that driver will let their entire network know exactly what happened. That will only increase the difficulty in filling future jobs.  

The better policy is to be truthful in your job description and during your talks with drivers. Even if a driver tells you, “Thank you, but I’m looking for something different”, that outcome is much better than a driver coming on board, finding out they were misled, leaving and spreading the word about their experience.  

2. Ask Drivers for Their Feedback Before They Post It Themselves

Sometimes it takes a carrier posting a job advertisement on Facebook for them to find out that their current drivers are unsatisfied. Maybe their pay is too low, their benefits aren’t desirable, or the carrier over-promises and under-delivers.  

Most times, posting their opinions on the internet isn’t a driver’s first choice. They want to have an outlet to tell their supervisors their feelings (anonymously or not), but many carriers don’t offer this. When that’s the case, a disgruntled driver may look to a social media platform or company review site to share their feedback. 

Instead of waiting to receive public and most likely unflattering feedback on a public social media platform, carriers should ask their drivers for feedback directly through engagement surveys, in-person conversations, or even a quick poll. 

This gives the carrier an accurate pulse on their drivers’ happiness and satisfaction, while keeping everything in-house. It’s also a great retention method because it shows drivers that the carrier cares. 

But collecting the feedback is only step one. It’s important to quickly address the feedback and make improvements when needed. Nothing is worse to a driver than when they provide feedback they were asked for and nothing comes from it. If that happens, there’s a good chance they’ll end up going to social media just like they would have in the first place.  

3. Offer Referral Bonuses and Performance Incentives

Instead of constantly investing in lofty sign-on bonuses to attract new drivers, carriers should implement referral bonus programs and performance-based incentives to retain their current, already-qualified drivers. These programs give drivers the opportunity to be acknowledged for their accomplishments and incentive to help grow the fleet.  

When implementing a referral bonus program, it’s a good idea to disperse the money in installments after the referred driver has been with the carrier for a specific period. Give the first chunk immediately, then the next half when the new driver reaches three or six months. Doing so protects the carrier from having a driver quickly leave after the money is given out. 

In addition, performance incentives should be used to reward drivers for maintaining good safety measures, fuel efficiency, and time management skills over an extended period of time. These not only help drivers stay focused on the carrier’s goals, but also reward them for living out the mission. 

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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work anniversaryAs truck driver retention continues to be an issue across the industry, companies should take every opportunity to show their drivers that they’re appreciated for the work they do day in and day out. One of the best ways to show your carrier’s appreciation is to take time to celebrate a driver’s work anniversary.  

A lot of work anniversary ideas on the internet rely on things you can do in an office setting. Since this doesn’t apply to truck drivers, here are 5 things your team can do to celebrate truck driver work anniversaries. 

1. Cash Bonuses

There’s no substitute for cash. Rewarding drivers who’ve stayed on with your carrier with a monetary bonus is a tried-and-true way to show your carrier’s appreciation and increase the likelihood of them staying on to celebrate another work anniversary next year. 

2. Gift Card

Aside from cash, gift cards are another great option. You could go with something universal that would work for almost anyone, like an Amazon or Target gift card, or you could go for something a little more personalized.  

If you happen to know that a driver is a huge fan of the outdoors, get them a Cabella’s or REI gift card instead. This signals to the driver that your carrier knows who they are as a person, and not just a number. 

3. Gifts

Gift cards and cash are great, but to certain drivers, there’s a chance they’ll come across as a little impersonal. Instead, think about a gift that would make your driver’s life easier on the road. A nice pair of UV blocking sunglasses, a high-end insulated tumbler, or a subscription to a streaming service like Spotify or Audible are all great gifts.  

Another option for gift giving is to go with something personalized. A custom piece of company swag with the driver’s name on it can signal a sense of belonging as part of the team.  

4. Time off

It’s hard to overstate the value of an unexpected day off. Rewarding loyal drivers with a surprise extra day of vacation or PTO can be the best way to celebrate, especially if you know the driver has a family/children they can enjoy their time off with.

5. Award

When you’re celebrating a driver who’s been with your carrier for 5, 10, 15 or more years, consider getting them a trophy or plaque to commemorate the milestone. These types of gifts can be used for any driver, but to keep their status, it’s a good idea to only give them out to drivers who have been with your company for a long time.  

There’s no rule that says that you have to do a plaque or basic trophy either. As with other gifts, take the driver’s personality into the equation. For example, if you’re celebrating a driver who’s a big UFC or wrestling fan, consider getting them a custom championship belt instead.

If you plan on going this route, make sure to supplement it with another gift, like cash or a gift card. Awards are nice and all, but drivers will also want something they can get some use out of as well.  

The key to celebrating your drivers’ work anniversaries is to not go at it with a one size fit all approach. Just like you wouldn’t give the same gift to everyone on your Christmas shopping list, you shouldn’t do the same with the drivers in your fleet.

Comprehensive CDL Recruitment Solutions

Ready to start recruiting the right drivers? Our solutions experts are happy to answer any questions and show you how Drive My Way uniquely approaches CDL driver recruitment.

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truck driver recruiting

Success as a truck driver recruiter is based on two things. Finding the best candidates for the job and doing it quickly. Recruiters have a limited budget and time with which to acquire top talent for their carriers. As a result, efficiency is essential in truck driver recruiting. The good news is that in this data-driven age, measuring recruiting efficiency is easier than ever. 

There are a number of different metrics that can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your recruiting process. Doing this will not only help you hire the best candidates, but also tell you where to best allocate your time and money. Here are five ways to measure success in truck driver recruiting.

1. Time to Hire

The number one reason that truck drivers end up declining a job is because they’ve already accepted a different offer that reached them first. This is why quickly moving your candidates through the recruiting pipeline is so important. 

Simply put, time to hire is how long it takes a company to hire a candidate, from their first contact with them all the way to the candidate accepting the offer of employment. 

Among other things, this metric is indicative of both the efficiency of your recruiting team and the candidate’s experience. That’s why HR and recruiting professionals put such an emphasis on it.   

Having a structured and organized hiring process is the best way to improve your time to hire. For more information on speeding up your time to hire, you can read our blog on the subject. 

2. Cost Per Hire

Time isn’t the only way to measure efficiency in recruiting. Cost per hire or CPH is an essential metric that measures how economically efficient your recruitment process is.  

Cost per hire adds up all the expenses that go towards hiring new employees and divides that over the total number of hires for a given period of time. The great thing about this metric is that you can slice it up a number of different ways so that you can see how much it costs to hire based on haul type, region, hiring terminal, and more. 

Understanding this metric will open the door for your recruiting team to try different ways to hire drivers for less money. Maybe you’re finding that you don’t need to spend as much to hire in your Jacksonville terminal as you do in your Montgomery terminal. Or, since your cost to hire local drivers is so low, you can move some of that money towards filling harder hauls, like flatbed or tanker jobs. Try changing your process and seeing where your CPH ends up. Eventually you’ll find what works for your carrier.  

3. Channel Effectiveness

Gone are the days of putting up some flyers and placing your job ad in the newspaper. Digital is king now, with most interested drivers coming from Google searches, Facebook postings, and online job boards. With all of these channels available, identifying where applicants are coming in from can be incredibly helpful. 

Understanding channel effectiveness can be done by measuring the number of successful conversions by channel. You can also break down channels by job type or geographical region. Don’t assume that the same channels or sources are equally effective across jobs or locations. Maybe your OTR job leads come in mostly through referrals, while company drivers come in through Facebook. 

You can calculate the cost efficiency of your sourcing channels fairly easily. First, find the amount of money spent on advertisements on each channel. Then, divide that by the number of visitors who successfully applied for the job to find the sourcing channel cost per hire. Once you’ve found that, you can start to see which channels are working for your carrier and allocate your recruiting budget accordingly.  

4. First Year Performance

The above metrics take into account truck driver recruiting efforts before the job starts. But those aren’t the only ones you should be looking at. Connecting recruiting efforts with the quality of your hires and their first-year job performance can help you see if your recruiting team is going after the right candidates.  

Speaking to the hiring manager or supervisor will start to paint a picture of the performance of your hires. This can take into account everything from productivity, safety concerns, and cultural fit with the carrier. 

Once you’ve gathered information from supervisors and HR, see if you can find any patterns with recent hires. Are new hires less productive than other drivers? Are they involved in accidents at a higher rate than other drivers? If you don’t see any red flags, consider it a success. If you do, it may be time to re-evaluate your criteria for hiring.  

5. Job Satisfaction

Measuring driver satisfaction is one of the secrets to measuring recruiting success and maximizing driver retention. Drivers and fleets are both looking for a strong match. If drivers aren’t happy with their carrier, it’s only a matter of time before they start looking elsewhere. Given the current state of the trucking industry, your fleet can’t afford to lose a driver after already spending resources on hiring and onboarding.  

Do whatever it takes to keep drivers longer, and that starts with measuring their job satisfaction. You can do this a few different ways. Consider an anonymous survey, suggestion box, or even conducting stay interviews with current drivers. This type of open-ended driver feedback is best so that you learn about drivers’ likes, dislikes, wishes, and frustrations in more detail. 

After drivers have given feedback, it’s the carrier’s responsibility to address their concerns, or risk losing them to rival carriers. 

A low job satisfaction rating by the driver indicates one of two things. Either, the driver was a poor fit for the position, or job expectations were not clearly communicated. Either way, this provides more information to truck driver recruiters, who can then use this information to improve the quality of hires and improve recruitment practices. 

Finding the perfect fit is the most important thing when it comes to truck driver recruiting. That’s why fleet managers and driver recruiters all across the country are choosing to partner with Drive My Way.

Our patented and proprietary technology matches more than 10,000 CDL drivers a month with the perfect carrier based on their professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences. 

Comprehensive CDL Recruitment Solutions

Ready to start recruiting the right drivers? Our solutions experts are happy to answer any questions and show you how Drive My Way uniquely approaches CDL driver recruitment.

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exit interviewAt this point, the trucking shortage has become the normal state of things. It’s widely understood that the demand for truck drivers is much higher than the supply of drivers looking for jobs. Because of this, trucking companies are doing whatever they can to keep current drivers happy and bring new ones onboard. This includes pay increases, newer trucks and equipment, increased home time, and more. 

As great as these advances have been, drivers are still leaving jobs at a high rate. This can be frustrating for carriers, especially when they don’t know why drivers are leaving their company. It’s also why exit interviews can be a very useful tool when recruiting and retaining drivers.  

What is an Exit Interview?

An exit interview is an interview with an employee who is planning on leaving your company. The exit interview is usually done on the employee’s last day or last week but can also happen shortly after the driver leaves the company. 

Why Exit Interviews are Important

Exit interviews are used to understand the reasons that drivers are leaving your company. These reasons may be related to compensation, benefits, home time, schedule, equipment, route, type of haul, company culture, or leadership.  

Exit interviews are also one of the best ways to uncover problems that are going unnoticed in your company. While many times, a driver is simply leaving for better pay, it could be for reasons related to how your company runs or even a problem with a specific co-worker.  

For instance, your drivers could be having issues with a certain dispatcher or supervisor that management or HR isn’t aware of. It’s possible for things to get so bad that drivers start looking for other opportunities because of it. For a company that conducts exit interviews, this problem could be solved after an exit interview with the first driver who left. For a company who doesn’t, they may lose 4 or 5 drivers before they get wind of the real reason they’re leaving.  

How to Conduct an Exit Interview

There are a few different ways companies can conduct exit interviews, some do it on site while the driver is still with their company. Others can be done at a public place shortly after they’ve left, but this is less common.  

As for who should conduct an exit interview, it’s a good idea for it to be someone in HR or another neutral party. Drivers may be more honest with them as opposed to interviewing with someone they directly reported to or higher management. 

Be sure to affirm with the driver that anything they say will remain anonymous. While some drivers may not care whether it is or not, some might, so it’s a good practice to let them know that before the interview starts.  

Also, make sure to keep track of what drivers say in exit interviews. This way, you can start to look for trends across departments and your company as a whole.  

It’s also possible for a driver to say no to doing an exit interview in the first place. But, unless they’re leaving on very bad terms, most times they’ll agree.  

What Next?

After the exit interview is arguably the most important part of the process. Now, you must act on what you’ve learned. Look through your findings to pin down possible trends in why drivers are leaving, especially if you’ve recently had a mass exodus. 

While it’s not always possible to immediately fix every issue mentioned in these interviews, it’s important to do what you can quickly to avoid losing any other drivers. Plan to meet with key decision makers in your company to present what you’ve learned and plan from there. 

While it’s never good news to hear that you’ve has lost a driver, conducting exit interviews is a vital part of the process. It gives your company the valuable information you need so that you won’t have to do as many in the future.  

10 Questions to Ask Drivers During an Exit Interview

Exit interviews can be a very useful tool when recruiting and retaining drivers. Download this free template to learn what questions you should be asking during your next one.

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pet friendly trucking companyBeing a pet friendly trucking company is more than just a perk for some drivers. Offering a pet rider program strengthens company culture, retention, and recruiting. Ultimately, pet programs are about driver satisfaction and happiness and should be considered part of an overarching retention strategy. With strong marketing that displays a positive company culture, pet programs can also bolster driver recruitment efforts. 

Driver Happiness Improves Driver Retention

Fundamentally, pet and rider programs are about driver happiness which directly influences driver retention. According to our Drive My Way Driver Happiness and Retention Survey, drivers who are unhappy at their jobs are more than 60% more likely to have job searched in the past 3 months. Unhappy drivers also report being unwilling to recommend their company to other drivers and do not want to work at their company for a long time. In contrast, the majority of drivers who are happy rarely think about looking for a new job and would recommend their company to other drivers.

Company drivers indicate that company culture is the second most important factor that drivers are attracted to their company. Being a pet friendly trucking company is only one small piece of company culture, but for some drivers, it makes a big difference. Offering a pet program is a great way to boost driver happiness, continue building a positive company culture, and increase driver retention.

Pets Improve Driver Happiness

As any pet owner knows, pets make our lives better in countless ways. Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, have lower blood pressure in stressful situations, and lower cholesterol. For truck drivers, the benefits of a pet while on the road are even greater. Some truck drivers struggle to maintain their health. Having a pet that needs regular exercise encourages drivers to regularly get out of their truck, stretch, and walk around. In addition, pets can reduce depression among drivers who spend long periods of time away from home. They fill our need for human touch and give companionship during long stretches away from loved ones.

We spoke with Sydney Abernathy, Director of Recruiting at Super T Transport. She shared her perspective on the benefits of being a pet friendly trucking company.

“We have a pet policy to attract and retain drivers and the benefit is increased wellness in our drivers. A pet can promote wellness for a driver with increased activity, reduced stress and anxiety, and by filling a need for companionship  Driver wellness is one of the biggest challenges a driver faces on the road. If you consider a pet policy part of your driver wellness program it is easy to see the return of the policy on your bottom line.”

Establishing A Successful Pet Program

woman and dogOffering a pet program is a great way to boost driver happiness and retention, and there are several best practices that will make your program successful. First, consider the guidelines you will share with drivers. It’s reasonable and recommended to include some restrictions on the type of pet or size of the animal to reduce the likelihood of equipment damage. Weights limits that allow pets up to either 30lbs or 60lbs are common among top carriers. Similarly, some fleets encourage drivers to stick to either cats and dogs and allow petitions for other pet requests.

Top carriers including JB Hunt, Knight, and Crete are known for allowing pets on the road and are a great model for implementing a successful pet program.

Communicating With Drivers

Whether you are starting a new pet program from scratch or revising an existing program, communication is key to success. Give clear expectations about cab cleanliness and communicate these from the start. Additionally, set concrete repercussions for not meeting those standards. For additional protection, some companies ask for a deposit to cover any potential damages. If you implement a deposit requirement, make sure the cost of the deposit is not prohibitive. An exorbitant deposit amount breeds resentment because you are then only offering a pet program in name.

Once you have established the basic guidelines for a pet program, help drivers take care of their pets on the road. Ultimately, a healthy, happy pet is a better companion and is less likely to damage equipment. 

Here are a few simple tips:

  • Encourage drivers to take their pet for a vet check before going OTR. 
  • Let pets get familiar with the space before drivers are far from home.
  • Drivers should be aware of any dangerous chemicals or work sites and keep pets out of harm’s way.
  • Remind drivers to prepare food, water, a waste plan, and an exercise plan before they hit the road.
  • Offer resources for drivers to be successful and safe with a pet on the road.

Marketing Yourself as a Pet Friendly Trucking Company

bulldog in semi truck

Good marketing transforms pet programs into a recruitment tool in addition to a retention asset. Consider advertising yourself as a pet friendly trucking company in everything from general ads to specific job descriptions. Position your pet program as part of driver care and a positive company culture. Having a pet program is unlikely to attract drivers if the rest of the job is not competitive. That said, if you have a compelling job offer, being a pet friendly trucking company may give you the edge over your competitors.

Communication is crucial in recruitment conversations, so be open upfront about the structure of your program and any restrictions. Drivers will appreciate the clarity and the drivers who are a good fit for the position will stay engaged.

Being a pet friendly trucking company benefits company culture, retention, and recruiting. Pets increase driver happiness, and that decreases turnover. Pet programs are a great way to attract quality drivers while supporting the physical and mental well-being of your fleet.

driver happiness and retention survey

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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.

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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.

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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.

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connect drivers

Crafting messages that connect drivers during the time of Coronavirus is a balance of content and delivery. Each time you communicate with your fleet, look for ways to emphasize the value your employees bring. Then, choose the channel that is best suited for the message you are sending. Here are 8 best practices for effectively communicating messages that connect drivers.  

Craft the Message

1. Keep It Positive

Everyone is experiencing the pandemic a little differently, but it’s not easy for anyone. In a June 2020 survey of nearly 250 million American adults, the Household Pulse found a dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, and worry directly correlated to COVID19.  As an employer, you can be confident that at least some of your drivers are among those numbers.

More than ever, this is a time to keep your messaging positive. Recognize quality performance and create opportunities to build c  omradery among your team.

Keep content upbeat and treat drivers with respect. Share company highlights and successes, especially if you can attribute it to the work of your team. Small gestures quickly add up and can make a big impact on drivers.

2. Put People First

National job uncertainty has been a hallmark of 2020. With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to show drivers that you care. Making people a priority is more than a feel-good gesture. In times of economic uncertainty, high driver turnover rates are more costly than ever. Make it a priority to keep drivers that you have and to recruit with retention in mind. To be successful, launch or renew efforts to get driver feedback on what they need. Then, be proactive in implementing changes for their health and wellbeing. 

3. Prioritize Transparency

With information changing so quickly, communicating with transparency requires a delicate balance. The good news is, drivers also know this. Be as accurate as possible, but also honest about the uncertainties you are navigating. Prioritize sharing information with drivers that will affect their jobs or lives. In your communication, be realistic and honest about what your company is and is not able to accommodate. When drivers have questions, listen to understand rather than to respond. Focus on setting appropriate expectations and de-escalating frustration or tension.

4. Be Clear and Consistent

In addition to transparency, consistency is critical during uncertain times. It’s so important that in 2019, Harvard Business Review found that consistency is one of the three key elements of building trust.

In the trucking industry right now, transparency is a way of giving drivers something stable to rely on. Have policies in place for personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing resources, and sick days. Unfortunately, no one can control the outcome of this disease or how different economic sectors will respond. That said, veteran and new drivers should know what they can expect from you. Be proactive in communicating measures for their health and safety before it’s an emergency.

Fine Tune Your Message Delivery

5. Give Praise in Public and Private Ways

To connect drivers during Coronavirus, the message delivery is almost as important as the content. To recognize drivers, take a two-fold approach. Be public with praise on social media in addition to internal kudos. Highlight drivers who are doing quality work during this time, and call attention to their hard work! Hero campaigns are a great way to do this. 

Public recognition is most meaningful as a way to connect drivers when it is paired with private or internal recognition as well. Drivers will quickly see through any companies that praise in public and don’t value drivers in private. In addition to external marketing campaigns, take time to reach out to drivers individually. Share your appreciation directly with drivers who are doing good work. Listen for signs of stress and other challenges that drivers are facing. Support drivers in any way you can. Good employees are your most valuable company resource.

6. Sending to One or Many?

There is a lot of information to communicate right now. Within that flood of content, identify dissemination best practices. In short, not every message is for every driver. Some information is best shared with your entire fleet as a bulk message. Other instructions or resources might only be relevant for a subset of individuals or even a single person. Consider carefully who needs to hear which pieces of information before sending anything. 

7. Contact Drivers on Their Terms

Choosing to use the platforms drivers prefer is a form of respect, and it’s good business. Our Drive My Way Driver Happiness and Retention Survey found that 64% of drivers prefer to speak with recruiters by phone with email being the next closest option. Now, other platforms using video calling or other technology may also play a role in training or fleet communication.

64% of drivers prefer to speak with recruiters by phone. Email is the next most popular communication channel.

Choosing to communicate based on drivers’ preferences is a small way to accommodate your drivers and increase job satisfaction. Similarly, reach out to drivers at times that work for them. Attending to details like communication channel and timing turns the driver – manager relationship from a one-way chain of command to a conversation. 

8. Air on the Side of Over-Communicating

hiring truck drivers

Communicating with the mobile, widespread workforce that is truck drivers is no small job. Add to that challenge the flood of information and misinformation that is swirling around Coronavirus. The bottom line? It’s hard to overcommunicate with your fleet right now.

Drivers’ viewpoints are shaped primarily on their day to day experience on the road or hear from other drivers. That may not be the whole picture. Because drivers have often not earned the respect they deserve, some may think they are being singled out unfairly. Take the time to listen to their concerns and empathetically explain any increased regulations and reassure drivers that they are valued as part of your team.

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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.

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How to Use Behavioral Interviewing to Hire Better Drivers

It takes more than a valid commercial driver’s license and a good safety record to be a top-performing professional truck driver. A driver may meet all the minimum technical requirements for the job. They may have previous tractor-trailer experience, a valid license type, and the required endorsements. Even so, that driver still may not fit your job or company well.

To reduce driver turnover and improve your company culture, prioritize the quality and fit of your drivers. Building a high performing team requires evaluating and rewarding drivers. That’s true for not only the work a driver does but also how they do their work. No one can predict how successful someone will be in their job. That said, behavioral interviewing will help you hire better drivers by evaluating their previous performance as a signal of their future performance.

What is Behavioral Interviewing and How is it Different?

Behavioral interviewing is based on the belief that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Behavioral interviewing states that how a candidate has handled a situation in the past is the best way to understand and predict how they will behave in the future.

This style of interviewing uses historic evidence from a candidate to predict future behavior using behavioral competencies, not traits or skills.

Competencies as a benchmark for hiring were introduced by psychologists in the early 1970s. Studies were conducted that demonstrated that knowledge-based and intelligence tests did not accurately predict candidate success in a new role. In time, psychologists developed competencies based on empirical data gathered by job incumbents with exceptional performance in specific functional roles. Competency models have become the core of modern behavioral interviewing. One set that is widely used is the detailed list of 67 competencies known as the Lominger competencies.

Vocabulary to Know

As you prepare to use behavioral interviewing with your staff, there are a few phrases to clarify. Get to know the differences so you can differentiate between them during an interview.

 Traits 

Traits are characteristics that are deeply ingrained and typically don’t change a lot over time. Gregariousness is a good example of a trait.

Attributes/Skills

Attributes are skills in the context of a behavior. They typically develop because of experiences, and people often learn attributes over time. A few examples are motivation and loyalty. Look for evidence of these attributes such as a job promotion.

 Competencies

Competencies are a combination of skills and behaviors. An interviewer can easily identify and measure competencies. They are the way we practice certain behaviors. Problem-solving, priority setting, and conflict management are examples of competencies.

How It Works

behavioral interviewingTo successfully use behavioral interviewing, there are a few steps. First, review a competency chart. Then, identify the competencies that are most important to successfully doing the jobs you have open.  For all truck drivers, planning, problem-solving, and time management are likely to be high on your list.

For drivers who regularly work with customers, you may prioritize customer focus. On the other hand, it may be a secondary priority for OTR drivers who spend long hours solo on the road with less customer interaction. For an OTR position, problem-solving and technical skills may be key.

Once you know the required competencies, develop a list of behavioral-based interview questions. You will need one question for each competency to assess whether candidates have what you need. All behavioral interviewers should train in the STAR model before evaluating candidates. This teaches interviewers to ask questions that allow the candidate to describe his or her past experiences. Interviewers will listen closely for the Situation or Task the candidate encountered, the Actions they took, and the Result of their actions. Interviewers should assess each answer while citing behavioral indicators that verify how the candidate previously showed behaviors that led to success.

Benefits of Behavioral Interviewing

Everyone wants to sound their best during an interview, and it’s natural for humans to be selective in their storytelling. It’s all too easy for a candidate to embellish or stretch the truth when talking about themselves. Unfortunately, as an interviewer, this makes your job very difficult. Even a well-meaning enhancement of what a driver would do in a situation can create a biased interview. It’s much harder to completely make up a situation that has already happened. When in doubt, there are often other sources who can confirm what a driver has said.

Behavioral interviewing was developed to more accurately assess candidates based on behavior-based proof and to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process. This type of hiring helps interviewers to look for competencies rather than traits. Then, you are more likely to hire based on the ability to successfully perform a job. It will also reduce hiring bias toward candidates who seem like a good fit primarily because they look, sound, or behave like you.

Quick Guide to Behavioral Interviewing

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Behavioral Interviewing

How a candidate handled a past situation is the best way to understand and predict future behavior. Use this free guide to hire high-quality drivers and reduce your turnover rate.

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