Driver retention is a constant battle for trucking companies. Truckers come and go from carrier after carrier, and this is a drain for company budgets and driver morale. What can you do as a trucking employer to reduce driver turnover? Start by ensuring your truck drivers are happy. Although these logistical conditions don’t necessarily apply to all Veltri drivers, here are three ways to turn truckers’ frowns upside-down.
Communicate with Drivers
After a new truck driver joins your fleet, it’s vital for you to stay in contact beyond the regular dispatches. Since over the road truckers tend to be out of sight for weeks at a time, you won’t be able to catch them at their cubicle, so to speak. Yet staying in contact is essential if you want to develop a professional relationship with your drivers. Here is how to do this:
• Contact your drivers for an interview, either over the phone, over a video conferencing service like Skype, or in office, every four weeks.
• Ask open-ended questions during the interview that gives the driver a chance to offer constructive criticism and personal answers. “Yes” and “no” answers simply aren’t very useful for finding out how your driver is really doing.
By keeping in touch with your drivers, listening to what they have to say, and using that feedback to make changes for your fleet, you will make your truckers happier. Better yet, you will also build loyalty and trust among the truck drivers.
Dole Out Bonuses and Recognition Regularly
Why do truckers come to you for a job? Because they need a paycheck, that’s the primary reason. As such, one of the best ways to ensure drivers’ happiness is to offer financial perks along the way. Creating a competition atmosphere to see who can have the best fuel economy or drive the most miles in a week also benefits your bottom line. So give back to those drivers going above and beyond by offering bonuses on their paychecks and competitive wages.
Sometimes you don’t even have to give the drivers a financial reward. Simply recognizing your drivers for being hard workers and going above the call of duty is morale boosting in its own right. Of course, gifting drivers some branded company merchandise or a personalized plaque will also be appreciated.
Provide Comfortable and Reliable Rigs
A driver who takes over the road trucking jobs is going to be living in his rig. Literally. It is up to you as the employer to offer the best tractor-trailers that you can provide. Main features that drivers want are:
• Reliability and minimal breakdowns
• Properly maintained trucks
• Ergonomics for drivers, i.e. seats that improve posture, etc.
• Trucks with limited mileage
• Semis that meet emissions standards especially when hauling in highly regulated states like California
Also, cleanliness is paramount for truckers who live in their trucks. Between drivers use a professional cleaning service to ensure new drivers receive a freshly smelling, clean truck. By providing your company drivers with new or top rated equipment you also reduce the amount of downtime and expense due to costly and sudden breakdowns. It’s a win for both you and the drivers.
Give Regular Home Time
This last one is a big issue among OTR truckers as being away from home is part of the job requirements. However, you can make this easier by providing your truck drivers with regularly scheduled home time. Examples of this could be one weekend every two weeks, or one week off after being over the road for three weeks. Whatever you do, try to keep with a schedule.
This allows truckers and their loved ones to have some routine in their lives. Instead of always wondering when they can see their family, a driver has a mental note of just how many more days it will be each time they head out. This is crucial in keeping drivers happy, as well as emotionally healthy.