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Driver Retention: the Unmentioned Wicked Problem

Let’s face it.  Everyone knows that driver recruiting is a wicked problem.  The transportation industry is in the midst of the worst driver shortage it’s ever driver recruitingseen.  We’ve all been to seminars on it, and everyone’s looking at new ways to help bring in new drivers.  But what about the drivers you already have?  If you can retain more drivers, then the only recruiting needs you have are the ones that help you grow your business.

Recruiting is only the beginning of the journey.  Now that you’ve spent the time (and money) to get people in the door, here are a few helpful tips to keep them from turning around and walking back out.

People Don’t Quit Jobs, They Quit People

This age old adage is especially true in transportation.  People oftentimes just don’t get along, sometimes just due a clash of personality.  Before a driver quits, maybe offer to switch fleet managers.  Or, while in orientation, have the drivers complete personality tests and then match them with a fleet manager who most closely matches their personality.

Know and RESPECT your drivers

Sometimes, drivers end up speaking more to their fleet manager than they do their families.  In essence, the fleet manager should become part of their family.  If the only person that the driver speaks to is always unpleasant and demanding, the driver will be quickly looking for another job.  Drivers have all the time in the world to think about how they’re being treated, so do your part to make sure they’re good thoughts.  Get to know who their spouse and children are, and ask about them.  This means more to them than you think.

Make sure your recruiters have the most up-to-date information

Many a driver quits because they feel they were lied to by a recruiter.  This may not always be the case.  Policies change, and the information is not always communicated quickly.  Remember to keep your recruiters in the loop when it comes to changes.

Keep in constant contact with your new hires

Have the new drivers offer their feedback by filling out reviews at intervals during their first few months. Then actually read and act on them!  This will give the drivers a sense of importance, and it will give you a pretty accurate assessment of where you need to focus your attention.

Recruiting and training drivers (especially during this driver shortage) isn’t cheap or easy.  So it only makes sense that retaining drivers should be the focus of everyone in the company.  Remember – without drivers, none of the rest of us in this industry would have our jobs.

Topics: Transportation Leadership / Strategy