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Pay & Respect – The Key to Retaining Drivers

money-pexels.jpegDriver pay has a direct correlation with retaining your drivers and oftentimes employers believe that higher pay will keep their drivers around. With recent findings, thinking outside of the box may be your best bet for hanging tight to your most valued drivers.

On the flip side, it’s not all about the dollar bills. A little R-E-S-P-E-C-T goes a long way in terms of driver retention. How are you treating your drivers?

A Nontraditional Approach to Driver Pay

With a turnover rate steadily holding above 90% for eight quarters in a row, it’s no wonder large truckload carriers are looking at unconventional options for retaining their drivers. Here’s a look at three alternative forms of compensation:

  1. Bonuses

Many of you are familiar with sign on bonuses to recruit drivers to your front door, but what you may not have heard of is bonuses for improved productivity, such a compliance, safety, and a whole slew of options – like fuel economy, which seems to be the major incentive for these programs.

  1. Per Hour vs. Per Mile

Paying your drivers hourly instead of by mileage is a definite plus for safety. The idea is to keep drivers safe rather than trying to beat the clock making up for idle time.  Regardless, they will be paid and will keep their focus on being safe while also being efficient on the road. 

  1. Commission Based

Drivers are a lot like salespeople due to their control over their performance, variable pay, and also simply due to the fact - if they don't drive, they don't get paid. Naturally, it would make sense to incentivize driver pay, so your rockstar driver isn't looking over at Lazy Larry wondering why they are paid the same. It truly puts your drivers in control. 

These money-based incentives should be shelled out as quickly as possible following the desired behavior to ensure it is also incentivized in the drivers mind. Simply put, this is not a raise - the drivers have to earn it.

But what about respect?

It's no secret that valuing your drivers goes a long way in their impression of you, but are you going the extra mile to make your drivers feel a part of your organization? Long haul drivers specifically feel detached from their fellow co-workers and driver managers - what are you doing to combat this?

Trickle-down culture is alive and well - creating a positive working experience starts at the top with the c-suite. Build quality relationships with your drivers- get to know them, be available for them, and be open to feedback. Host events that bring your drivers together and also gets them in front of management. 

Truthfully, it's not all about the money, it's about how valuable your drivers feel and that begins from their hire date and continues on throughout their employment.

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Topics: Transportation Leadership / Strategy