Make it clear that driver retention is a priority for everyone in the company, especially for driver managers. Driver turnover should be measured by driver manager (not just at the company level) and the driver manager’s performance review (and any bonus system) should be tied to this statistic.
1. Enlist driver managers’ help with training of new hires
During the orientation process make sure to have the driver manager involved. Have them involved in the development of your orientation program, making sure what the drivers are being told is actually what is going to occur when the driver reports to dispatch.
During orientation, have the driver manager spend some time with the new hire to discuss how they are going to work together. Establish how much money the driver needs to make to meet his/her needs, and have the driver manager sit down with the new hire and discuss this. Make it clear what it is going to take to make this type of money as well as what is the agreed home time requirement. Setting these expectations from the get-go is essential in reducing driver turnover.
2. Have a special dispatch system for new hires
Consider having a special dispatch system for new hires instead of including them as part of your regular fleet. This can be helpful in helping new drivers “ramp up” as they learn your company and procedures.
Have driver manager meet with new hire upon return from their first trip to review how the trip went, make sure paperwork is properly filled out – so that the driver gets their pay check – and discuss any issues that may have popped up that the driver didn’t catch during orientation.
3. Have driver managers let dispatch know what you promised in recruiting
How do you let dispatch know what was the agreed “home time” policy was for the new hire? Do you have a process in place to measure home time? What is your process for ensuring that the driver’s expectation for miles is not only met, but also meets the needs for your company?
If dispatch doesn’t know what recruiting is promising drivers in terms of home time, miles, etc., you are going to have some disgruntled employees pretty quickly, and your driver turnover rate will reflect this. Have the driver manager coordinate between the driver, dispatch, and recruiters to ensure everyone is on the same wave length.
4. Train driver managers on driver relations
Consider training driver managers on working with different personalities and conflict resolution. While you’re not going to smooth over every personality clash with a meeting or a class, bringing up this topic shows that you know it’s important, and it raises awareness.
5. Establish a common set of measurements that define success
Agree on the most important metrics to monitor, and ensure they can be presented in a manner that both the driver manager and the driver can understand. Concentrate on your CSF’s (Critical Success Factors).
You need to have a process in place that ensures that your driver manager is aware of potential issues with drivers and are addressing them before they get out of control. Regularly scheduled meetings for drivers who have numbers that are not acceptable along with regularly scheduled performance reviews with all drivers (using your driver managers) are the catalyst is essential for success
The bottom line is that everyone at your company needs to know that reducing driver turnover is a priority – and that it is everyone’s job. If that responsibility is given to Safety or H.R. and no one else is accountable, then your company’s missing a huge opportunity and will fall short of being the kind of company that drivers are not only excited to work for but that drivers are willing to communicate about to other potential applicants.