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Your How-To Guide for Building Driver Loyalty in Your Organization


The CDL trucking industry has been under a microscope recently for a few reasons:

  • First, the ongoing economic uncertainty has been echoed in the ups and downs of the supply and logistics chain.
  • Second, the ongoing driver shortage – still an issue even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on – has increased competition among carriers who are still on the road.
  • And finally, the sheer rate of turnover in the industry (thanks in large part to frantic competition and driver poaching) has put the CDL trucking industry in a league all its own.

Incredibly, the average turnover rate of a CDL trucking organization is around 95%, meaning getting drivers to stick around can be incredibly difficult. For employers, this means constantly having to fill a bucket with leads that keep leaking out the holes in the bottom.

One of the most foundational ways to combat driver turnover and set your drivers up for long-term success at your organization is by instilling a sense of loyalty with both drivers and recruiters. If a driver feels loyal, heard, and appreciated by your organization, they are less likely to leave for another carrier.

You can start building driver loyalty with these easy steps:

  1. Ask for – and act on – driver feedback
  2. Prioritize face-to-face communication (even while remote)
  3. Establish personal relationships with drivers
  4. Start promoting loyalty as early as possible
  5. Use driver loyalty as an industry differentiator

For many, loyalty starts with having a voice, and in CDL recruiting driver’s voices need to be heard. Ask your drivers for feedback on your processes and workflows (starting with the application process) and then – and this is the big point – take action on this feedback. Going as far as following up on individual driver requests to show them exactly how you made changes can make a huge difference.

Even though face-to-face communication may be out of the question right now, for CDL drivers and recruiters this isn’t too far out of the ordinary. Even though drivers are on the road a majority of the time, they still want to feel like part of a team, which means recruiters should strive to deliver this kind of experience. Check-in phone calls, text messages, and video calls are key to proving to drivers that their time and effort means everything to your organization.

Drivers are more than just trucks on the road, and recruiters should make sure they know this. They are co-workers just like in any other industry, which means personal, meaningful relationships are a must. Ask your drivers about their families, what they’re watching on TV, or what radio shows are their favorite. Check in regularly to see if there are any issues and work diligently on professional development and growth tracks to keep them moving in their careers.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to focus on driver loyalty. Establishing lasting relationships with drivers starts with a great first impression, usually during the application process. Do a complete audit of your current application and recruitment process to make sure that it is easily accessible, fully remote/mobile, and that there are clear lines of communication established early on.

While this one is more of a benefit of driver loyalty than a step to achieve it, it’s still something to think about in the long run. Incredibly (not), drivers don’t want to move around as much as they do. They’re looking for a carrier that has their best interests in mind to help them grow in their profession. Once your team has a clear plan in place for building driver loyalty (and once you have drivers who are willing to vouch for your organization) you can use this sense of team and camaraderie as a recruiting function for new drivers, becoming an industry leader and standing out from the sea of other carriers.

Ready to learn more?

Long-term retention planning doesn’t happen overnight. By working with your current drivers as well as your new driver applicants, your recruiting team will be able to break through the competition and reduce driver turnover. You can learn more about creating a driver-first application, recruiting, and retention process here.

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Stay up to date on CDL trucking trends! Be sure to check out the DriverReach blog or follow us on LinkedIn for other relevant articles and head over to our webinars page for an up-to-date list of upcoming events and on-demand recordings.

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