As the shortage of truck drivers continues, carrier companies are looking for every possible advantage to hold onto team members. Many have improved compensation and benefits plans to retain the best employees and recruit new people to the profession. These efforts aren’t wasted because they do produce results. However, while competitive pay is a big incentive, it’s not the most important motivator for everyone. Here are nine strategies other than pay and benefits to help boost your company’s driver retention trucking industry.
1. Encourage Input and Listen
Many companies find great value in employee feedback surveys when looking for how to improve driver retention. Online tools abound that allow your drivers to respond to questions anonymously so that you can encourage honesty and openness. When you ask your team members the right questions about the company’s culture and what it’s like to work there, you can glean information that you’ll never get any other way.
However, the most crucial part of the process is not just gathering the data but actually using it to make meaningful improvements. Drivers who feel that their needs and opinions are valued and respected tend to show greater loyalty and stay with companies longer.
2. Advocate for Your Team
Truck drivers face many challenges when they are out on the road. People may blame truckers for accidents that weren’t their fault. They may have difficulty communicating with or understanding people, especially if English isn’t the primary language. Carrier companies can provide tools such as dash cameras to capture images that may protect drivers from false accusations. Another option is a 24/7 alert system or an on-call network that allows drivers to reach an administrator anytime. Knowing that kind of backup is available makes drivers feel more supported and protected.
3. Recognize Safe Behavior
Carriers that recognize and reward drivers who model safe behavior see those actions repeated by other drivers. By establishing a system that identifies, publicizes, and rewards safe driving, the company shows that the drivers’ well-being comes first. These systems don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Small, simple rewards such as gift cards or company swag can be very effective, and recognition in a company newsletter or on a social media page can inspire drivers with feelings of being noticed and appreciated.
4. Provide Mentors to New Drivers
Assigning mentors to new drivers is something you can start while the new drivers are still in training. Incorporating ride-along experiences where learners spend time with experienced professionals is a powerful addition to the curriculum. New drivers get a better idea of what it’s like to be a truck driver, and they also develop a camaraderie that makes them more likely to stay with your company for the long term. Forming those relationships early on helps new people feel welcome and valued. Also, when you choose mentor drivers who practice safe habits and who are positive and encouraging, you have a better chance of developing the kind of driver you want to hire.
5. Prioritize Safety Training
Regular safety meetings are essential, but carriers should ensure that these gatherings don’t become boilerplate, routine, or monotonous. No one wants to sit through hours of statistics or gloom-and-doom lectures. Instead, safety managers can keep drivers engaged by using real-world scenarios that drivers encounter on the road and equipping them with tools to handle those problems. For example, you might try using dash camera footage of an accident to discuss how it might have been avoided. Don’t limit the footage to just the negatives, though; you can also use it to recognize and encourage safe behavior.
6. Communicate More Than Necessary
When you are searching for how to motivate truck drivers, nothing goes further than clear, compelling, and regular communication. Drivers who regularly hear from the company feel more valued and well-informed. Consistently communicating also removes ambiguity, which can lead to misunderstandings and job dissatisfaction.
Group communications such as email blasts and company newsletters are excellent. Carriers should also prioritize one-on-one contact with drivers through annual performance reviews and other opportunities for individual communication. Periodic evaluations can start in the early days of your relationship with a new driver. If your company has a probationary period, use that time to reward safe behavior as well as to correct deficiencies.
7. Respect Family Time
Work-life balance is one of the most sought-after characteristics among people looking to make a career change. Because driving a semi-truck can sometimes require several days at a time away from home, it can be a challenge to give drivers the time at home they need. However, carriers can still support work-life balance by providing drivers with their schedules as far in advance as possible so they can plan family activities. Another good tip is to avoid interrupting drivers’ home time by asking them to come in and work. When you make an effort to support time at home, your drivers understand that you know and believe in what is important to them.
8. Understand Mental Health Needs
Carriers should be aware that driving a truck can contribute to some types of mental health challenges. Depression, loneliness, and an inability to sleep are some of the common mental health difficulties that truck drivers face. Pressure to meet deadlines, regulations, and interactions with difficult people can contribute to mental health problems. More companies now recognize this and incorporate benefits to help address the issues. Employee assistance programs, wellness offerings, and gym memberships are a few things that show you care about your drivers’ health and well-being.
9. Allocate Resources to Training
As your company plans the annual budget, consider whether the allocation for training is enough. While a thorough, effective, and organized training program costs resources to implement, many companies find it saves money over the long term. Some of the benefits include improved driver retention, safer practices, and fewer accidents, all of which show a significant return on your investment in training drivers. When a company is willing to put its time, dollars, and energy into safety training, this is another signal to drivers that they are valued.
When you establish a reputation as a company that supports its drivers, you learn how to get more truck drivers in less time and with less expense. You become an employer of choice among the people in the industry.
Once you have your retention plan in place, let Rev Insurance help you get the right coverage to protect your drivers and your company. We cover trucking companies of all kinds with liability, workers’ compensation, cargo, and other types of insurance. Contact us today to see how we can help your company protect your drivers and save money at the same time.