Trucking companies are seemingly in an endless rat race to fill trucks that are newly vacant from a surprise departure. Most trucking companies, it seems, have taken to the mindset that drivers always leave for better pay. What we’ve learned through speaking to many drivers, is that pay isn’t always the deciding factor. In fact, drivers identified it as a priority less than half of the time. Yea, verily, we’ve uncovered an astonishing reality: drivers leave when they don’t feel respected or valued.
Getting a driver onboard is a mountain of a task itself, but pales in comparison to keeping a driver happy, so many companies tend to ignore their drivers until it’s too late. If we take a page out of Silicon Valley’s playbook, trucking companies can increase efficiency, decrease cost, and stabilize their drivers.
In this article, we’ll introduce some simple things that can improve the relationship between drivers and their company. Follow these and it will drastically reduce the possibility that you lose an employee to a competitor.
- Call them once a week – just to check up.
It’s no secret that driving can get lonely. Out on the road for weeks at a time, it can be nice to hear a familiar voice without having to discuss work matters. Calling each driver and chatting for 10 minutes to talk about their week, their family, or even just the last NBA game can leave a lasting impression on anyone. Treat your drivers well, and they’ll treat you well.
- Offer a free lunch once per week
This can seem costly if you’ve got hundreds of drivers — but in the larger picture, it’s much less costly than losing an employee during a crucial time. Gifting a driver a meal in a nice truckstop restaurant will create an experience that they’ll be grateful for.
- Recognize them publicly
We realize that some drivers like to stay invisible, but with the rise of social media, many are becoming more and more enthused by a “driver appreciation post” on the website or Facebook. To take a step further, rewarding one driver per week as the “Employee of the Week” and a small gift card can really cement to your drivers that you value their hard work. After all, you get to sit in a cushy office chair while they’re on the road all day.
- Be conscious of their time
A 15 minute wait may not be much to most people, but in the world of trucking, 15 minutes can mean the difference between getting home to spend the night with their family or sleeping in a truck stop outside of town.
- Offer bonuses
Some bonuses can be beneficial not only for the drivers, but the company as well. Safe driving bonuses are a great example. Other bonuses include:
- low fuel consumption bonus
- No-idling bonus
- route optimization bonus
- on-time delivery bonus
- Home time
Drivers are drivers because they love the open road. They like driving on it. But they don’t necessarily like living on it. Being as accommodating as possible when assigning routes to drivers can have a huge impact. Some prefer shorter runs, some are happy to be out for months at a time.
- Let them drive
Drivers are hired to drive. They’re not hired to count freight or unload freight. Making sure that processes are in place to get freight loaded and unloaded quickly will make drivers happy, trip times shorter, and trucking companies more profitable.
- Be mindful when a driver goes above and beyond
One of our partners has implemented an “Above and Beyond” program, in which employees can anonymously nominate other employees when they exceeded their duties. Nominating drivers for picking up an extra load, consistent on-time delivery, or anything else is a great way to show appreciation.
- Keep well maintained equipment
New equipment isn’t necessary as long as your equipment is maintained. No driver wants to get stuck on the side of the highway or dinged at an inspection. Neglecting your equipment can be a nuisance but also a safety hazard.
- Hold shippers and receivers accountable
Many of the drivers we spoke with complained that their biggest problem is communication with shippers and receivers. Drivers are expected to pick up and drop off on exact schedules, but are often left waiting for shippers and receivers that aren’t on the same page. Holding your shippers and receivers to a high standard is quite possibly the biggest thing you can do as a company to ensure your drivers stay with you for years to come. Like we said, treat your drivers well and they’ll treat you well right back.
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