As a recruiter or executive in the trucking industry, you know there’s only one certainty, and it’s that you can never be too certain about your drivers. With the industry experiencing a crippling driver shortage, it’s critical that companies take action to retain current drivers.
With a national turnover average of 95%, the trucking industry is one of the most volatile spaces for employers and employees alike. In order to combat these startling numbers, employers can start at the very beginning—building a strong sense of loyalty between your organization and your drivers.
As in any industry, if your drivers feel a strong sense of camaraderie and loyalty to your team, they’ll be less likely to leave in the long run. Here are 5 ways organizations can build strong, long-lasting driver loyalty:
- Make it easy for drivers to submit feedback
One thing is for sure in the world of trucking, and it’s that everyone has an opinion. From your drivers to your recruiters to your management team, every team member has feedback and input on how processes are managed. When it comes to retaining drivers, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to submit this feedback to your organization. Feedback should be handled as a normal, run-of-the mill workflow to get rid of any of the ‘taboo’ mentality that might be associated with corporate feedback and replace it with a standard operating procedure.
When drivers feel comfortable submitting feedback to their hiring organizations, they are more likely to be open and honest with their answers, instead of providing fluff answers to serious questions. Drivers may also view the opportunity to give feedback as a direct line of communication to the managers, and rightfully so. This is because whenever an organization asks for feedback, they should be receptive to it, whether positive or negative.
- Take that feedback into account
And here we go. If your organization is asking drivers for feedback, your team must take that it into account and update or adjust current operating procedures to reflect the valuable information that’s being shared. As long as drivers see their input being implemented into day-to-day workflows, they’ll know their feedback is being taken seriously. Everyone likes to be listened to, and everyone feels good when their opinions are taken into account. If a company goes out of its way to not only ask drivers for feedback, but actually implement it into daily operations, it speaks volumes for the integrity and respect of the organization. If you’re looking to create life-long, value-based relationships with drivers, it starts with listening to what they have to say and taking their valuable, frontline experience into account.
- Foster in-person communication
In today’s modern online world, so much communication is done via text messages and emails that it’s easy to forget about the importance of in-person communication. While technology is, of course, important to moving the industry forward, nothing can beat the sense of speaking to someone in person, over the phone, or meeting with them face-to-face.
Even a quick phone call with a driver to check in about how their onboarding experience is going can go a long way to retaining the relationship down the road. This in-person communication shows drivers you don’t just think of them as a way to get trucks on the road—you see them as people and you value them as such.
- Build valuable relationships with drivers
In an industry with such high turnover and tough competition, it definitely pays to develop strong relationships with drivers. This goes beyond just speaking with them a few times during the application process. Management should make a point to check in now and then with drivers to see how they’re doing, make sure they’re holding up, and ask if they have any issues they want to discuss.
Employers should also do everything in their power to help drivers succeed and grow in their positions, whether it’s through providing access to the right training tools and resources or introducing drivers to the right internal stakeholders who can help them move up the ranks. It’s called treating the drivers as the CEO of their own business, and this trust can go far in retaining drivers in the long run.
- Ensure driver loyalty from the beginning
Establishing these lasting, value-backed relationships with drivers starts at the very beginning—the recruitment process. Without an easy, streamlined recruitment process that improves the applicant experience, drivers won’t even be around long enough for your team to focus on retention. Employers can start delivering value-added engagement to drivers with the first interaction, and there’s no such thing as a second chance at a first impression.
Start planning for long-term retention from the very beginning with DriverReach’s recruiting system. Learn more about our modern CDL driver recruiting platform here.