Truck drivers are the backbone of American commerce and depending on where you look, there is either a significant shortage of truck drivers or there isn’t really a shortage at all, but rather a lack of high-quality trucking jobs.
Regardless of which perspective ultimately holds true, the reality is that the trucking industry is facing an avalanche of turnover and employers would be wise to respond by prioritizing retention and improving the driver experience.
Here are six key areas of focus to help reduce truck driver turnover.
Though our WorkStep Workforce Insights research reveals that pay is consistently not the primary turnover driver, there has been increasing weight attributed to compensation in recent quarters. With inflation at record highs, it’s understandable that workers would be concerned about their pay and the diminishing value of their paycheck.
Consider implementing alternate methods of computing truck driver pay that offer a more consistent and reliable revenue stream. Truck drivers are still often paid by the mile and many report long, grueling work weeks, which can impact health, safety, and efficiency. Look to the possibility of hourly or salary based compensation, and evaluate the feasibility of augmenting your current approach with a guaranteed payment plan.
Competitive pay and sign-on bonuses are now just the initial barrier to hiring and insufficient for long-term retention, so think beyond base compensation alone to reduce truck driver turnover.
Along with traditional benefits like medical coverage and retirement accounts, aim for creative perks that contribute to drivers’ well-being while they’re on the road, and reward performance, attendance, and retention.
Like most of us, truck drivers yearn for a level of flexibility that enables them to recharge and focus on their personal lives. Offering flexible scheduling not only benefits drivers, but also reduces the risk of safety incidents and burnout — two energized part-time drivers will often outperform one tired full-time driver.
Your truck drivers are your business partners — be honest and upfront with them about compensation, bonuses, perks, and schedules, as well as training, safety, and operational strategy.
Set clear expectations, promote your company safety records, and implement a rapid-response process that addresses driver safety concerns as quickly as possible. And be sure to keep truck drivers in the loop about what’s happening at the company level and how their role contributes to the bigger picture at the organizational level.
Every employee deserves to feel safe regardless of their background or who they are, and employees rightly feel empowered to demand workplaces that are welcoming and encourage a sense of mutual respect.
Employers who take DE&I seriously and create inclusive environments that allow all employees to thrive tend to report higher retention and overall employee engagement. Be sure your DE&I plan includes diverse hiring but also retention and ongoing efforts towards fostering a culture of inclusivity throughout the organization. Diverse hiring shouldn’t stop at your truck drivers and frontline workers, managers and leadership positions should also reflect a diverse workforce.
Take a look at our blog post about Driving DE&I Initiatives to read more.
An annual or quarterly questionnaire is no longer sufficient and true truck driver engagement means periodic, consistent check-ins and direct communication with your drivers.
Communicate with them via SMS and email in short, digestible check-ins, share company news, publicly acknowledge employee anniversaries and success stories, and ensure open lines of communication all around.
While the strategies summarized here will help strengthen retention and reduce turnover, they are general practices. Each business is different, as are its employees, so you should target your efforts to their specific needs by soliciting feedback and acting on the feedback you receive.
Your drivers are busy enough as it is, so you need an engagement solution that goes on the road with them.
Request a demo to see how WorkStep can help you retain your drivers for the long haul.