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Investing in Your Driver Fleet for Truck Driver Retention

driver retention definitionIn a recent blog on driver retention, we focused on increasing communication – not only with
your driver managers and department heads, but also by listening to your current drivers and their needs.  Another crucial aspect of driver retention is investing (and not just monetarily) in your driver fleet.  Sure, everyone would like to be paid more, but it goes beyond that.  By making an investment in your driver fleet, you are demonstrating respect and appreciation for your people, something that goes a long way when it comes to retaining drivers.

While there are many ways to invest in drivers, we have a few simple suggestions that may help you retain your drivers without straining your bottom line.

Start or expand your incentive programs to improve driver retention.

Some companies have monetary bonuses ($10-$100 in most cases) for clean roadside inspections, staying compliant with logs, fuel conservation, no critical events, etc.  Others offer gift cards for places like Wal-Mart, Target, Truck Washes, Showers or for a good local restaurant.  Some have even gone as far as offer Branded Company wearable’s and even have a catalog for the family to order from on-line.

For many drivers, they see these programs as easy ways to pick up a few extra bucks in their paycheck, pick up some branded company wear, or even a surprise for their significant other and kids. 

Listen to your drivers when it comes to equipment.

Many fleets are rushing to buy newer equipment – but do your drivers want a different tractor?  Some drivers are completely content with their equipment and would just like it to be in good shape.  By replacing seats, dashboards and other aging parts that make their tractors comfortable, you could save some money AND keep your drivers happy.  Make sure your drivers have an open line of communication to your shop management.

Take a look at your driver benefits package.

This is becoming one of the hottest topics of 2012 (see our blog listing and upcoming HNI U events for some of the discussion), but there are many options out there.  Adding incentives for time off, hotel stays and other fringe benefits can add tremendous value to your program.  Additionally, there are some independent contractor offerings that are of no cost to the carrier. 

Give your managers the tools and training to be successful.   

Being a fleet manager is just like running a small business. Fleet managers aren’t just dispatchers.  They’re friends, salesmen, and managers. 

Help your fleet managers acquire the business skills they need to be successful be offering effective, focused training programs.  Topics like “Business Partnership” or “Managing a Multigenerational Workforce” are the kinds of training courses that fleet managers can really benefit from.

By training your managers they can better understand their fleets.  Efficient managers will have higher driver retention, as they keep their drivers’ wheels turning – and when drivers are moving freight, they stay happy!

These are just a few suggestions for investing in your driver fleet.  What are you doing to invest in your drivers and support driver retention?  Leave a comment if you’d like to share!

Image via Merriam-Webster

Topics: Transportation