Posts

The best way to increase driver retention rates, attract qualified candidates who are the right fit for your company, and boost overall employee satisfaction is to start by asking yourself: what do drivers want? 

 

We recently asked CDL drivers what they’re looking for from employers in 2024, and their answers might be more simple than you’d think. With responses such as better communication, dependable equipment, and increased pay, these drivers proved that it’s more important than ever to show your drivers that you are listening and willing to prioritize what they value. 

 

If you consider actual driver needs in your recruitment efforts, while creating a company culture of support and appreciation, you are likely to increase the scope of your applicant pool and decrease driver turnover rates. Keep reading to learn what CDL drivers are looking for from employers this year, and how to utilize evolving industry trends to take this into account and stay ahead of the curve.  

 

Competitive Pay  

The trucking industry might be ever-evolving, but one concern will always remain on the top of the list for drivers. In 2024, CDL drivers will continue to view competitive pay as a major differentiating factor when applying for jobs. Drivers want to feel like their time and hardwork are valued fairly, so by providing an increase in base compensation and benefits, you will attract more qualified candidates and stand out among your competition.  

 

In recent years, sign-on bonuses and benefit packages have continued to increase in value nationwide, a trend that will likely continue in the new year. Throughout 2023, some carriers paid as much as $200-$500 per day of driver orientation. This is a steep increase from the long standing industry standard of $100 per day.   

 

Beyond base pay, these are some of the added benefits that drivers will care about most in 2024: 

  • Affordable insurance and retirement plans 
  • Paid time off 
  • Salary bonuses for safety records, taking more difficult routes, or meeting mile goals 
  • Sign-on and referral bonuses 
  • Scholarships for CDL training or for further education  

 

Communication & Listening 

An increase in base compensation recently topped the list of driver concerns in Drive My Way’s 2023 Driver Happiness Report, which collected the responses of over 500 drivers nationwide. However, nearly 10% of surveyed drivers also answered that an increase in employer communication and listening would improve their satisfaction and workplace happiness.  

 

If you’re looking to recruit and retain quality drivers in 2024, start by showing your drivers that you value their opinions. Conducting frequent surveys and one-on-one meetings are great ways to gain employee feedback, but it’s essential to demonstrate your commitment to your drivers by actively using this feedback to adjust company policies.  

 

Frequent touchpoints are the best way to check in with drivers to ensure that they feel listened to and that their feedback has an impact. Truck driving can be an isolating career, so it’s important to make sure each driver feels like they are part of a larger team, whether they’ve worked at the company for 6 months or 6 years.  

 

Transparency 

When looking for a job in 2024, CDL drivers value honesty and transparency more than ever. In today’s highly competitive market, drivers want to know what benefits are offered, what the application and onboarding process is like, and if there are any minimum requirements that need to be met.  

 

Keep in mind the type of driver you are looking for when launching your driver recruiting campaign. Researching and understanding this persona will help you reach your target audience, and will also enable you to provide what that driver is seeking. For example, if your carrier allows pets or partner driving, mention that in your recruiting efforts. Even if some candidates aren’t looking for this benefit, those who are will be more inclined to apply.  

 

Safety First 

Every driver wants to feel like their employer values their safety above anything else. In a career as potentially dangerous as truck driving, drivers want to feel like their employer always has their best interests in mind.  

 

Safety begins from day one, by conducting proper training programs during orientation and beyond. Safety regulations and protocol should be clear, accessible, and always up to date. Make sure your drivers understand the hours-of-service regulations, as well as the importance of quality rest and break time.  

 

Today’s CDL drivers are also making clear that mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact, a 2018 study appearing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that the prevalence of depression in truck drivers is 13.6%, nearly double the rate found in the American public.  

 

There are many ways to prioritize and protect your drivers’ mental health, including providing mentor programs, online resources, and company counselors. By putting your drivers’ health first, you will show your dedication to being a driver-centric company, and your commitment to the well-being of every employee.  

 

 

By demonstrating your commitment to addressing CDL drivers’ top concerns, you will boost your recruitment efforts, decrease turnover rates, and foster a positive working environment. 

 

If you’re looking for more advice on bolstering your driver recruiting and retaining efforts, be sure to check out our Employer Blog, or follow us on social media 

When recruiting CDL drivers in today’s highly competitive market, it’s important to make every minute count. From the initial review of an application to the end of the onboarding and driver orientation processes, being efficient and effective with your time will save you money and maximize your success in hiring and retaining quality drivers.  

 

There are many tips and tricks to streamline the hiring process and ensure the best experience for each candidate, from start to finish. Keep reading to learn how to integrate this advice into your recruiting efforts, and you might be surprised by how quickly you see results! 

 

Creating the Best Candidate Experience 

Although a streamlined hiring process will save your company time and money, your goal should still always be centered around providing the best experience for every applicant. If a driver feels valued and supported from day one, they are much more likely to continue through the hiring process and become a committed employee. 

 

Develop a strategy for hiring that takes into account each driver’s unique background while ensuring every candidate receives the same level of attention and support. Having a strategy in place will also help keep everyone in the hiring department on the same page, so candidates don’t have to repeat information or parts of the process.  

 

The first step in any hiring strategy should be connecting with a candidate as soon as they express interest. The longer a driver waits, the higher the chance that they will find another opportunity with a different carrier. Make sure that each candidate has the option to provide multiple forms of contact on an application so they can be easily reached by phone call, text, or email.  

 

Frequent touchpoints are beneficial to display your commitment to a candidate and will help keep them in the loop. The first point of communication should act as a preliminary screening, where you explain job requirements, criteria, and clarify any questions the driver has. At the end of each communication, explain what the candidate can anticipate for the next steps, and when you’ll be in touch again.  

 

Internal Organization  

Setting expectations and maintaining communication with every member of the hiring team is essential to streamlining the hiring process. Drivers will quickly lose interest if they are unable to easily schedule interviews, submit important documents, or receive updates on their progress.  

 

Because a lot of today’s recruiting and hiring is now held remotely,  a clearly defined process, roles, and repsonsibilites across your organization will make the process smoother for everyone involved. When it comes to steps which require the coordination of multiple members of the hiring team, such as interviewing, planning ahead is a must.  

 

Make sure that interview appointments are widely available enough to provide flexibility for candidates, and that the scheduling process is easy and straightforward. It might help to block off a certain amount of time each week for hiring managers to conduct interviews, making it easier to count on regular availability and reduce scheduling conflicts.  

 

When speaking over the phone, you should aim to directly warm transfer candidates to the hiring manager to schedule interviews. This ensures that the candidate doesn’t have to repeat information, and demonstrates the commitment of the whole team to the hiring process. If direct connection is impossible, try creating a link where the candidate can schedule interviews themselves. CDL drivers are busy, so this allows them to check their availability and decide on their own time.  

 

It’s also important to always come prepared to every stage of the hiring process. Before speaking with a candidate, make sure to have all the information needed from the safety and insurance teams on minimum criteria for hiring. For example, if there is a strict age requirement for insurance purposes, it’s much better to be up front to drivers.  

 

Background Checks and Clearinghouse 

Since the start of the pandemic, the alcohol/drug clearinghouse and background check stage of the hiring process has often taken longer on average. Although wait times have been decreasing recently, it can still sometimes take up to two weeks to complete this important step.  

 

Although there isn’t anything you can do to speed up processing times, preparing ahead and maintaining organization will help you move as fast as possible. As soon as you know you’ll be moving forward with the candidate, make sure they’re registered and up to date with the clearinghouse.  

 

Since there are criteria in place to regulate truck driver hiring nationwide, it’s important to be mindful of what each driver needs to complete their file. Each time you touch base with a candidate, confirm what documents and information you have on record, and what you still require.  

 

 

Hiring CDL drivers is an extensive process, and as a recruiter, this makes your time very valuable. However, it’s also important to remember that any time invested in a quality candidate is time well spent, even if the match isn’t perfect at the time.  

 

If there is a certain requirement an otherwise perfect candidate doesn’t meet, such as minimum age or experience level, be sure to keep in contact with them periodically through email or social media, until a spot has opened up or they meet the hiring criteria. 

 

For more advice on the hiring process and how to recruit and retain quality drivers, be sure to check out our Employer Blog, or follow us on social media! 

Truck Parking

Semi trucks parked together

For CDL drivers, “Take Your Truck Home Programs” can make a significant difference in their work-life balance. However, whether or not this is possible depends on various factors such as local laws, regulations, and whether the truck is carrying a loaded trailer. While some companies allow their drivers to take their trucks home, others require them to leave the vehicle at a terminal or drop yard. It’s important to note that the type of driver also plays a role. Generally, owner-operators have the ability to take their trucks home since they own them. Take Your Truck Home Programs can add a level of convenience and comfort to a driver’s routine, allowing them to spend more time with their family and better manage their personal lives.

 

By prioritizing the happiness of your truck drivers, you are investing in the overall success of your company. When drivers have a healthy work-life balance, they are less likely to experience burnout and more likely to work safely and efficiently. This, in turn, can lead to better physical and mental health, reducing the likelihood of accidents or injuries on the job. Additionally, when drivers feel valued and supported, they are more likely to form a stronger bond with your company, leading to increased loyalty and job satisfaction. Ultimately, Take Your Truck Home Programs are not just a convenience for drivers, but a strategic investment in the success of your business.

 

If they are taking the truck home, it’s important that the driver finds a safe and secure place to park it. Most companies prefer their drivers to park their trucks on their own property, or in a fenced-in yard that’s close by for easy access. Parking in public places like Walmart is not recommended as it could lead to vandalism.  Some drivers will prefer to detach the trailer and bring only the tractor home, commonly known as bobtailing. Also to note that leasing a truck shouldn’t prevent drivers from enjoying the benefits of taking their vehicles home.

 

While some companies may permit their drivers to take their trucks home, it’s not always a straightforward decision. The feasibility of this option depends on various factors, including legal regulations, whether the truck is carrying a loaded trailer, and the driver’s available space. Additionally, safety concerns in certain areas may make it unwise to park a truck at home. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, but companies should consider the benefits of providing a Take Your Truck Home Program to improve their drivers’ work-life balance and overall job satisfaction.

 

 

 

Mockup-1-1

FREE RESOURCE

7 Reasons Drivers Decline Your Jobs

Unlock the top reasons why truck drivers decline your CDL jobs by downloading our free ebook. The book shares insight to what drivers really want.

Download the Ebook

CDL Drivers

Let’s face it, recruiters have their work cut out for them. With so many trucking companies and fleets to choose from, it’s a challenge to stand out and attract the attention of job prospects. At Drive My Way, we understand the importance of getting it right. Here are seven factors that many drivers consider when deciding where to work.

1. Pay

Well, well, well, no surprises here. Type and amount of pay is the number one reason why CDL truck drivers consider a job. And many drivers say this as their top priority. Truckers have a keen eye for a bad deal, so if your company is offering them less than the industry average, they’ll be understandably skeptical. Apart from salary, drivers also look for opportunities for raises, bonuses, and overtime rates. And if they’re driving specialty or unusual hauls which are more dangerous, they’ll expect those to pay better. So, if your company isn’t paying drivers competitively, they’ll have no qualms about hopping over to one that does.

2. Health Insurance

When it comes to choosing a CDL job, drivers don’t just consider the paycheck. A comprehensive benefits package, especially health insurance, is highly valued. Healthcare costs have risen dramatically in recent years, and drivers want coverage that meets their specific health needs. For those with families, ensuring that everyone is covered, especially for specific health concerns, is a top priority. Offering a range of insurance options with balanced factors like deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance costs can help drivers find the best fit for their needs..

3. Retirement Plans

Retirement plans are a crucial consideration for CDL truck drivers when deciding where to work. With the average age of truck drivers being 49, many are only two decades away from retirement. Even younger drivers are proactive and start planning for their retirement sooner rather than later. In fact, retirement plans are a top factor for drivers when applying for a new CDL job.

However, many employers fail to enroll their staff in a default retirement plan, leaving drivers and other staff overwhelmed with making those decisions. To make the process easier for drivers, have an automatic opt-in policy with the option to opt-out or choose a different plan. Drivers understand the importance of saving for retirement, and showing them that you care about their future will make your company stand out in their minds.

4. Type of Run/Range

Trucker jobs come in various shapes and sizes. One of the most significant factors that differentiate them is the type of run and range that they offer. Not all drivers are interested in coast-to-coast travel. Certain drivers might prefer over-the-road (OTR) work. However, since OTR drivers spend less time at home and live out of their truck, they expect better compensation. Other drivers might like local or regional runs. It’s essential to understand your driver candidate’s preferences regarding the types of runs and ranges they’re interested in covering.

5. Type of Schedule and Paid Time-Off

When it comes to finding the right CDL trucking job, home time is a top priority many drivers. After all, the average driver works a grueling 70 hours a week and can go up to 8 days without taking a break. This tough schedule is especially challenging for drivers with families and children. While truckers understand that the job requires some sacrifices, they hope that these sacrifices aren’t unbearable. If a job’s schedule and PTO package don’t meet their needs, they won’t hesitate to explore other options..

6. Training and Development

Truck drivers may have some experience behind the wheel, but they value actual training and development opportunities. Providing company training and orientation can make drivers feel comfortable and foster a sense of belonging with the company. Research shows that employees who feel trained and groomed by the company are more loyal to that company. Professional development opportunities are becoming increasingly important to drivers. Making training and development a core part of HR operations can help recruiters make a strong case for drivers to work and remain with the company for many years.

7. Type of Haul

When it comes to choosing a CDL job, drivers frequently consider the type of haul as an important factor. Don’t underestimate the value of taking into account driver preferences and specializations in hauls, as this can lead to under-utilization of their skills. Keep in mind that certain hauls require special CDL endorsements or permits, so make sure your drivers are equipped with these. If they already have the necessary certifications, placement becomes all the more straightforward. It can be a challenge to determine which hauls should be assigned to which drivers, but asking about their skills and interests can make the process easier.

Mockup-1-1
FREE RESOURCE

7 Reasons Drivers Decline Your Jobs

Unlock the top reasons why truck drivers decline your CDL jobs by downloading our free ebook. The book shares insight to what drivers really want.

Download the Ebook

recruit for retention
Many companies, either intentionally or inadvertently, incentivize driver recruiters to prioritize hires above all else. In some cases, this is an effective short-term solution but often, it does not hold companies in good stead in the long run. Instead, recruit for retention. Lowering driver turnover can dramatically save recruiting costs because there are fewer drivers to replace. Strong driver retention also improves company culture and driver satisfaction. While they may occupy different line items on the budget, recruitment and retention are points along the same spectrum. In your fleet, take concrete steps to incentivize driver recruiters to recruit for retention.

Analyze Your Current Structure

truck driver recruiter

The first step to incentivizing driver recruiters to recruit for retention is to assess your existing program. Frequently, recruiters are incentivized for fast hires. Bonuses based on achieving a set number of hires in a specific time frame or rewards based purely on hiring numbers are just that. When recruiters are put under extremely tight deadlines, this exacerbates the problem. Recruiters are likely getting lots of drivers through the door, but that does not necessarily mean those drivers are highly qualified or likely to stay. 

In addition to analyzing the incentivization structure for recruiters, take time to observe several recruiting conversations. How are recruiters connecting with potential candidates? What questions are they asking drivers? Are they taking the time to understand what these drivers are looking for in a job? The personal touch of a driver recruiter can make a big difference in first impressions. Recruiting for retention may require retraining driver recruiters to approach conversations with candidates as relationship-building opportunities.

Change the Reward Target

Once you have a clear view of your existing recruitment incentivization structure, decide whether you are effectively prioritizing retention. If not, determine the necessary changes to make retention the goal. 

One of the most common ways to incentivize recruiters is through a rewards system. Rather than rewarding recruiters for hires, consider distributing rewards only for new drivers who stay at least 30 days. If you feel a longer time period is necessary, try 60 or 90 days. Drivers often leave because of unmet expectations. So, encouraging recruiters to prioritize retention necessitates that they vet drivers carefully and clearly communicate job expectations to reduce quick turnover.

Drivers often leave because of unmet expectations. Encourage recruiters to be candid and transparent to better recruit for retention.

To ensure follow-through from recruiters, consider asking for notes about each driver’s future plans. This requires recruiters to ask each driver about their long-term priorities as well as the immediate qualifications needed for the job. Remember, even though many companies incentivize recruiters with financial rewards, there are other options. Vacation time as well as internal or external recognition are also significant motivators for many recruiters!

Train Recruiters From the Start

trucking recruiter on phoneFrom the moment of onboarding, driver recruiters should be trained to look at recruiting as a long game. Explicitly tell recruiters that the company’s mission is to minimize turnover and maximize retention of quality drivers. Train everyone who works closely with drivers to recruit through conversations to foster strong relationships. This may be a change from previous jobs that focused exclusively on hires, so it’s important to continuously reinforce recruitment for retention in both words and actions. 

After you make any necessary changes to the incentivization structure and train drivers to recruit through conversations, you are ready to revamp your recruiting – almost! As you restructure incentives, make sure you are setting recruiters up for success. Even the best recruiters cannot boost driver retention for poor jobs.

Drivers want jobs that meet their financial and home time needs, are a good fit for their skills, and have a company culture of respect. Without these components, recruiters are fighting a losing battle. To incentivize driver recruiters for retention, change the reward targets, train recruiters to have conversations, and make compelling job offers. 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

Get the Ebook

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

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.

Request a Demo

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.

Get the Ebook

truck driver awardsIt’s human nature for people to want to be recognized for their achievements, especially in the workplace. And while truck drivers don’t operate in a traditional “workplace” like an office, that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be recognized for all the hard work they do week in and week out. 

If your carrier hasn’t already, consider starting an award program so you can recognize the drivers in your fleet who go above and beyond the call of what’s expected. Here are the 3 most common types of truck driver awards along with some tips on how to make the most of your award program.  

3 Truck Driver Awards to Give Out This Year

1. Million Miles Safety Club Award

Driving one million accident-free miles in a personal car is rare enough, but doing that in a 15-ton semi-truck? While it seems impossible, thousands of drivers reach this milestone every year.   

A special trophy engraved with their name and the date, and the number of miles they’ve driven makes for a great keepsake for any long-time driver. Consider having something even more special for drivers who have achieved this milestone more than once. 

2. Everyday Recognition Award

The little things matter too. Catch someone doing an excellent job on any given day? Then recognize them right away by putting a small certificate on their locker or on a bulletin board in a public area. Or post a quick note of recognition for everyone to see on your next email to drivers.  

These types of truck driver awards are small but can make your drivers feel special and proud to be a part of your organization.

3. Driver of the Year

The “Driver of the Year” award is the biggest and best of them all. This award should be reserved for the driver who’s truly made a difference for your company this year. He or she should be a driver who is the best example of your company culture, always displays professionalism, excels at customer satisfaction, and puts safety first. 

3 Tips for Having a Great Award Program

truck driver awards

1. Number of Awards 

It’s important to scale your award program based on how large your organization is. The award program that a fleet of 50 uses shouldn’t be the award program that a fleet of 500 uses. The general rule is the larger your fleet, the more awards you should have. 

If your organization is large enough, you can break an award down into further sub-categories. So, instead of just having one Driver of the Year, you could have one Driver of the Year for each location, or one per haul type/division.   

Amber Long and Cate Whitman, representatives with Drive My Way client, Paper Transport, recently dealt with this obstacle as their fleet started to expand,   

“Originally, we only gave out a small number of these awards to the drivers who ranked at the very top. This was fine at first, but as Paper Transport grew, we realized this now meant that we weren’t featuring an appropriate number of drivers relative to how big out fleet was becoming.

We decided to give out a greater number of these awards so we could recognize even more drivers. This gives them more incentive to have a good scorecard since the awards are much more attainable now.”

2. Selection 

To make the award selection more inclusive, you can let drivers nominate their fellow drivers for awards. After that, you can have a team to vet the finalists, but having drivers be a part of the nomination process is great for team building and creating a culture where driver’s opinions are valued. 

3. Presentation 

Aside from the award itself, make sure the winner is known throughout your company. Sending out a photo of the winner in an email, or even better, awarding them during a company-wide event is a great way to make sure the winner is properly recognized and adds some prestige to the award. Just make sure that the driver is comfortable with this beforehand, in case they’re not a fan of having the spotlight on them. 

If you’re giving out a plaque, consider having two copies made; one that will be given to the driver and one that will be featured in a prominent place in your carrier’s office or terminal. 

No matter if you’re a recruiter, fleet manager, or executive, take some time to improve your truck driver awards program to show your drivers how much your carrier values them. 

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

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

Get the Ebook

truck driver interview questions

Good truck driver interview questions do two things. They help you find drivers who are going to be a good fit for your carrier while helping you build a relationship with them at the same time. The best recruiters use a conversational style to learn more about drivers’ experiences and skills as well as their goals for a new job. 

Informative and approachable truck driver interview questions are the foundation of a strong recruitment for retention strategy. Here are 5 tips to help you get to know the drivers you’re interviewing and find one who fits well with your fleet. 

1. Start With the Basics

Chelsee Patton and Truck

Chelsee Patton, Director of Recruiting at RTI

The purpose of an interview is to find a driver who has the skills and qualifications to do a specific job. Inevitably, it is crucial to have a clear picture of their experience, endorsements, and total compensation needs. The challenge is to get that information in an approachable way.  

Drivers should feel like the interview is building a relationship rather than simply an effort to fill another seat with an anonymous face. Strong interviewers learn about drivers’ skills and experience through conversation.  

We spoke with Chelsee Patton, Director of Recruiting at RTI and CDL holder, about effective interviewing as part of recruitment. She shared these thoughts,  

“For carriers trying to improve their interview process, I would tell them to take a look at how they’re talking to drivers at the beginning of the interview. Are you automatically jumping into, “How much experience do you have? How many tickets? How many accidents?” If so, I would recommend conversationally talking through all of that instead of reading questions one after the other off a sheet.”

As you build relationships with drivers, keep a detailed record of their professional profile. Clearly denote the driver’s experience and endorsements. This information helps automatically filter out unqualified applicants. Drivers’ requested total compensation should also be clearly noted. If they express specific demands around home time, base pay, or benefits, make sure to include that information.  

Similarly, if drivers respond negatively to the total compensation you are offering, note that as a possible red flag. Delving into basic information such as skills and endorsements is an opportunity to learn key information while setting a positive tone for future interactions. 

2. Find Out What Drivers Are Looking for

Not all drivers are a good fit for every job, and that’s ok. Time is a precious commodity in the recruiting world, so find out early what drivers are looking for. Some drivers may talk about career plans and advancement opportunities. Understanding each driver’s underlying motivation helps frame the conversation and contextualizes that driver’s priorities. Use that information to focus on the job aspects that are most important.  

In some cases, a driver’s goals may not be compatible with the available position. That’s also valuable knowledge. In these cases, learning that quickly can help you end the conversation and encourage the driver toward other positions to save time.  

If you still want to attract the driver, make sure to be as transparent as possible about the open job. Unfulfilled or misled expectations will only lead to high turnover and a bad company reputation. Instead, put your efforts toward quickly identifying drivers who are a good fit and may stay in the job for many years to come.  

3. Ask Role Specific Questions

ChelseeInPink

Chelsee takes the wheel

Once you have a baseline of information about the driver’s qualifications and future goals, hone in on the specific job. Discuss features of the job that are atypical or have raised concerns from drivers in the past.  

For example, if drivers need mechanical knowledge, ask “What experience do you have fixing mechanical problems with your truck?” Similarly, if the position includes slip seating, ask drivers about their preferences and habits when sharing a cab. All of these truck driver interview questions shift the focus to recruiting for retention.  

4. Use Behavioral Interviewing

If you have a strong driver candidate based on their qualifications, the next step is to use behavioral interviewing to assess their on-the-job competencies.  

These questions look at how a candidate has handled past situations in an attempt to predict how they’d behave in the future. Behavioral interviewing questions look at a candidate’s problem-solving, priority setting, and conflict management abilities. 

To ask effective behavioral interviewing questions, use the STAR technique. Situation, Task, Actions, and Result. To start, ask candidates to describe their past experiences. Then, listen closely and evaluate based on the Situation or Task they encountered, the Actions they took, and the Result of their actions.  

Think about situations that current drivers for your carrier deal with and ask candidates how they would react if faced with them. This will give you a good indication of if they’ll be a good fit for your carrier. 

5. Share the Mic

Truck drivers want to know that their carrier will respect and value their contributions. One way to demonstrate your commitment to drivers from the start is by sharing the mic.  

Allow time for drivers to ask questions during the interview or at the end. Doing so signals to drivers that you care about their input and whether the job is a good fit for them. It’s also another valuable opportunity to understand what they prioritize. If they’re a strong candidate but undecided about the position, that insight may help you win the driver to your team.  

As a recruiter, it’s hard to predict exactly what drivers may ask, but prepare answers for common questions. This will likely include questions about home time, pay, benefits, and equipment among other things. Before you end the conversation, make sure the driver is clear about the job offer. Transparency upfront supports long-term retention.  

Good truck driver interview questions give you the opportunity to get to know potential drivers so you can focus on boosting retention. When drivers and carriers connect transparently over a job that is a mutually good fit, the interview time is well worth the investment. 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

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

Get the Ebook

trucking endorsements
Drivers are looking for companies that respect them, offer compensation that is commensurate with experience and skill, and that fits their lifestyle and professional trajectory. In a highly competitive driver market, and it’s difficult to stand out from other trucking companies. It’s also essential. To attract drivers, some companies help drivers obtain or renew trucking endorsements as a way of differentiating themselves. While this may not work for all business models, it can be a great way to incentivize drivers to apply, diversify your candidate pool, and build goodwill among your new hires.

Paying for Trucking Endorsements?

truck in the cityUltimately, the decision to pay for trucking endorsements is a company by company decision. Factor in driver supply, the difficulty of the position you are hiring for, and the type of drivers you want to attract. For example, Button Transportation offers to reimburse drivers for their Hazmat endorsement if there is high seasonal demand. It’s a competitive market for hiring drivers right now, and companies that want to stand out need to go above and beyond. Paying for trucking endorsements is a way to incentivize driver applications by making your offering more appealing. 

Financially supporting drivers as they obtain or renew trucking endorsements is also a good way to diversify your candidate pool. Without offering financial support, your hiring pool is inherently limited to drivers who already have the requisite qualifications. If you are getting plenty of qualified applicants, that might not be a problem. On the other hand, you may want to invest in newer, skilled drivers to grow your fleet. In that case, sponsoring endorsements is a great way to attract drivers who might not otherwise apply. 

Implementing a Sponsorship Program

If you decide that helping with their trucking endorsements is right for you, use best practices to launch successfully. First, make sure you set clear rules and expectations for what will and will not be reimbursed. Drive My Way Customer Button Transportation sets an excellent example.

Button TransportationButton Transportation pays for driver Medical cards, TWIC Cards, and Passports because top interested drivers expect these to be sponsored by their company. Button also clearly established a reimbursement policy for drivers. For each sponsorship, they pay when they receive the expense report and receipt. 

Consistency is critical for successful program implementation. Everyone from recruiters to finance managers to prospective drivers should understand the structure of the program in a successful launch.

Once you set up your program parameters, communication with drivers is the next step. Offering to help drivers obtain or renew trucking endorsements is a powerful advertising tool! Make sure to include the details of your program in a job description. In addition, make sure your marketing efforts are targeted at drivers who already have the necessary endorsements as well as those who might take advantage of your sponsorship program. In addition, some companies like Way Routes encourage drivers to study for their double/triple endorsement using the CDL Prep App. This app is a great option because it is available for both Apple and Android users.

We spoke with Guilherme Ribeiro, President at Way Routes, and he shared that:

“[CDL Prep] is the best app and will help you study before taking the test at your local DMV.”

Both drivers who have the necessary endorsements and those preparing for the test may be strong candidates. So, it’s important to include both in your recruitment and marketing. 

Supporting Drivers with New Endorsements

Supporting drivers as they earn a trucking endorsement is only the start of the road. Strong sponsorship programs also support drivers as they transition to their new roles. 

Way RoutesWe spoke with Guilherme Ribeiro, President at Way Routes, and he shared best practices based on their program’s success:

“If a driver gets [a doubles/triples] endorsement and has not driven doubles/triples before, we have a training program to help them gain the confidence and knowledge they need to be successful.” 

He continued, “When a driver starts, we have them train with someone for a week before they hit the road for normal shifts. You will spend your first week: learning how to connect and disconnect safely in the yard, shadowing a driver on local routes, and running local routes during evening hours when there is less traffic (live road training).” Way Routes continues to support drivers throughout their transition.

Guilherme added, “If after your first week you do not feel safe or confident with your new endorsement, you have the option to part ways with this opportunity, and Way Routes is very respectful about your decision and is happy to have given you initial training. On the contrary, if you are feeling confident but would like an additional week (+/-) of shadowing/training, Way Routes is happy to continue investing in training for you so you feel safe and confident when you hit the road!” 

Supporting drivers through their new role ensures that new drivers meet your safety standards and it builds a good rapport with new drivers. For some companies, helping drivers obtain or renew trucking endorsements is a great way to bolster recruitment and retention efforts.

truck driver incentive program checklist

FREE RESOURCE

Truck Driver Incentive Program Checklist

The best incentive program is the one that’s effective, sustainable, and engaging for drivers. Use this checklist to align your target behavior with rewards that motivate your drivers and create a program with lasting impact.

Get the Checklist