With the nationwide truck driver shortage and turnover rates at an all-time high in the US, creating driver retention strategies for your fleet is more important than ever. There are many issues drivers face during their day that range from unpleasant to dangerous. This can cause high-stress levels for drivers and high turnover rates for your business. Fortunately, the solution is a lot easier than you think. Here are five simple strategies you can use to increase driver retention.
Driver Retention Strategies that Work:
HOLD REGULAR SAFETY MEETINGS
It makes sense that truck drivers face most of their day’s challenges while out on the road. As a safety manager, you can take a load off their shoulders by anticipating issues that might come up, and addressing them before they happen. Giving drivers the resources they need to be successful will make them more comfortable in their position.
Other fleet managers have found it useful to use dash camera footage in these safety meetings as well. That way, they can show specific on-the-road behaviors to avoid while also highlighting safe practices by members of your fleet. Safety manager, Jason Douglas, from James H Clark & Sons Inc. stressed the importance of using cameras for positive recognition explaining, “You have to remind your team, this is not a get in trouble tool, this is a make drivers better tool”. The emphasis should be on learning, and growth throughout your team. Check out our article here to learn some helpful tips for setting up safety topics for your fleet.
RECOGNIZE RISKY PATTERNS
Accidents can affect your driver retention rates in more ways than one. Often, your diver could have been in an accident that wasn’t their fault, but keeping them on your team is still out of your hands. In the event that they are faced with a claim, the severity of the event could force you to let them go. Working with your drivers to promote careful practices, and providing proof if they were not at fault are great ways to help keep this from happening.
For example, Corporate EHS Director for Merchants Metals, Nathan Brown, goes over best driving practices with his fleet before his truck drivers go out on the road. This helps him stop accidents before they happen and prevents him from losing his drivers for legal reasons. Nathan explains that sometimes you can have someone who is a hard worker, is on time, and cares about their job but something can happen where they get caught in an incident, and you are legally required to let them go. Using this strategy helps keeps your driver’s position secure, and will let you retain them as an employee.
SCHEDULE DRIVER RIDE ALONGS
Another tool strategy managers use to increase their truck driver retention is to have new drivers do ride alongs with more experienced fleet members. This is a great teaching tool to prevent incidents and is a great professional development opportunity for your experienced drivers. This provides them with the skills they need to be successful down the road. The sense of mentorship built through this training process can also help to create a strong sense of community in your business and make your employees feel more connected, increasing employee satisfaction levels.
Nathan Brown said, “Our supervisors will schedule time to ride along with their drivers and let the drivers suggest which deliveries would be best to observe. In one instance, we had a driver who had reported unsafe conditions at one of our customer’s locations a couple of times, but the supervisor hadn’t taken action yet. The driver asked the supervisor to ride along to that location and when the supervisor saw the conditions at the location, he told the customer we wouldn’t be able to deliver to them anymore unless they fixed the unsafe conditions. That ride along resulted in a decision that made our driver’s life easier and safer.”
CREATE A DRIVER INCENTIVE PROGRAM
Providing rewards and recognition for drivers who prioritize safety can also have a huge impact on your fleet. This strategy motivates your drivers to use best practices on the road and can help make them feel valued for their time and effort, drastically increasing driver retention rates. You can use footage from your dash cameras to help figure out which of your drivers have been putting in extra effort.
Fleet Safety Manager Ziul Bayardo uses this method to figure out which drivers will be rewarded with extra hours at work. “If you’re a driver who has a good record, you’re going to get overtime. We’re going to give that to you. We use our cameras as a way to know which drivers are going to be the safest.”
Manning Transfer Inc. Safety Director Kacie Jestus works to increase retention by motivating her drivers with a pay bonus. She uses footage from her cameras to figure out who is the safest on the road. “They have to meet several safety qualifiers to qualify for any of the bonus. Then, beyond that, a step above that, they can earn a safety bonus, a quarterly bonus, and a field savings discount. Learn more about setting up a safety incentive program for your fleet here.
BE AN ADVOCATE FOR YOUR DRIVERS
One of the most common issues drivers face in the transportation industry today is false claims from accidents where they were not at fault. These events are very stressful and can be difficult to manage. Safety manager Ziul Bayardo has come across this issue many times with his drivers and uses technology as a way to stay on top of alerts and be an advocate for his employees.
Ziul from BMC has several drivers who speak English as a second language and can find it challenging to explain their case to law enforcement after an accident. Receiving alerts from his SureCam cameras allows Ziul to know when his team needed backup. He explained one instance where his employee was accused of drunk driving after being hit by a personal vehicle. Ziul received an alert from his SureCam camera system and, after arriving at the scene, was able to pull up the camera footage and get his driver cleared. “At the end of the day the camera is going to tell the truth whether it’s you or the other party,” Ziul explained. By staying on top of incident alerts, he was able to support his team, prove his driver’s innocence, and retain them as an employee.
Driver retention levels are a common concern for today’s safety managers. Many fleets are struggling with the reality of the truck driver shortage, and worrying about losing more employees down the line. Fortunately, by using a few simple strategies, you can create a company culture your drivers will never want to leave.