While retaining employees is something every manager or business owner worries about, there are very few industries that compare with the difficulty of retaining high-quality truck drivers.
With one of the highest turnover rates in the country, carriers need to devote as much energy as possible to ensuring truck drivers feel satisfied and accomplished – not just compensated well (although, that’s definitely still important.)
At the most basic level, it’s important not to forget that each of your truck drivers is a human. A human with individual goals, needs, challenges, and concerns. For the next few minutes, we’ll walk you through some retention strategies to help you create a working environment that keeps your truck drivers engaged and strengthens their loyalty to your company.
1. Aim for Consistency
Imagine not knowing how many miles you’ll receive month-to-month, or not knowing how much money you’ll earn quarter-to-quarter. It’s difficult feeling secure when your compensation fluctuates so frequently. While this might seem obvious, it’s important to make sure you’re actively working towards a consistent schedule for your truck drivers.
You might not always have control of the hours, but there are different things you can do to improve consistency. One option is focusing more energy on your full-time drivers, giving them a heavier load, and relying less on part-time drivers (who are expecting less consistency).
Before trying this method, gain insights from your best drivers and how they feel about the idea. You don’t want to risk overworking your most valuable assets because you didn’t ask. The key is investing time to figure out if your drivers (and which ones) are more interested in time home or racking up more hours.
2. Establish a Culture of Respect
Another suggestion we have for improving retention is creating an atmosphere of respect. This may seem a given, but it can be a lot tougher to follow through on than you might think.
Pay attention to your team. Are some of your truck drivers consistently working with dispatchers they dislike? Many times, respect can suffer in the workplace due to conflict. If a driver’s performance appears to be slipping, set aside some time to discuss the challenges they’re experiencing.
See if their true frustrations indicate a negative relationship with someone they work with. Offer your support in troubleshooting the issue. If for some reason the relationship can’t be reconciled, it might be helpful reassigning them. Or, if you’re able to navigate the conflict, the situation could uncover an area of opportunity to improve a process.
3. Provide a Clear and Accessible Path Forward
Like any other profession, truck drivers want to know the opportunities that lie ahead of them. You’ll also find that many have very different ideas about where they want to go.
Whether a driver wants to move into the central office, into fleet management, or specialize in HAZMAT transportation, communicating your openness to their goal is key. Providing a clear path for truck drivers to achieve their goals and communicating your support is one of the best things you can do as a carrier to improve retention.
For more information on becoming a HAZMAT truck driver, or if one of your drivers is interested in pursuing HAZMAT certification, click here to read more.
4. Plan Opportunities for Driver Team Building
Just because truck drivers spend a lot of their time alone (many enjoy that aspect of the job), it doesn’t mean they don’t also want to feel like a part of something bigger. Depending on the size of your fleet or distribution of drivers, it may be difficult to schedule opportunities for team building.
However, encouraging an atmosphere of comradery, in whatever form that may take, is a great way to boost morale. Creating strong feelings of connection with a team is one of the best ways to keep your truck drivers emotionally invested.
5. Celebrate Effort, Excellence, and Teamwork
Is one of your drivers consistently going above and beyond? Does someone in your fleet go out of their way to support the other truck drivers on your team? Try implementing a system as simple as “Driver of the Month” to highlight an employee who’s earned your recognition.
Not only doesn’t it challenge and inspire their fellow drivers, but creates an atmosphere of support as they cheer each other on in their successes.
6. Listen to Individual Truck Driver’s Concerns
Though we’ve touched on this strategy, it’s worth being noted on its own. One of the biggest risks of implementing a new retention plan is choosing a plan in a vacuum. In other words, not considering what your truck drivers actually value.
Invest some time learning their goals and challenges. Then, follow-up with intentional support by creating a plan that directly addresses their needs and outlines a path to success. Some examples of this strategy might include career paths or an employee development plan.
Job Satisfaction Begins With a Company That Respects You
If you or someone you know is looking to build a successful career in HAZMAT trucking, we’d love to speak with you. Logiflex offers top compensation and some of the best driver benefits in the industry! Click here to apply and become part of a team that’s built on respect.
To learn more about Logiflex and our HAZMAT trucking services, we invite you to reach out to us today at (847) 789-7132.