How to Significantly Reduce Driver Onboarding Time and Costs

How to Significantly Reduce Driver Onboarding Time and Costs

Onboarding is the initial and substantial investment you make in all of your drivers. But it’s also their initial investment in you. With a proliferation of driving jobs and a shortage of drivers, there’s a temptation to do whatever it takes just to fill positions. But in the long run, this wastes your (and your applicants’) valuable time and money. What really reduces onboarding time and costs? Remember: accuracy equals savings.

Why onboarding is a financial keystone

You already know that driver orientation has a huge impact on turning out safer, more professional, and better-prepared drivers. But orientation is just a subset of the longer onboarding investment.


It can cost up to $10,000 to train and onboard a new employee, only to find it’s not a good fit and you have to replace him or her. There needs to be a good match, on both sides. Onboarding is also the very first impression you make, and if it’s not impressive, drivers will go elsewhere. Your training process has to be consistent, professional, effective, and meet expectations for drivers of different types of freight in order for it to give new hires the confidence to continue.

You’re not going to be the right company for every driver. And every driver won’t be right for you. Whatever helps you get exactly the people you want, and ensures that drivers choose you because you’re the right fit—that’s your best strategy.

How do you do it?


Use online training tools to screen

If you use an online training system, use it as a screening tool, even for initial applicants.

Test initial knowledge levels. Leverage online training from the start, and get basic knowledge out of the way. Test for general knowledge, as well as knowledge specific to the job. Is this applicant competent in driving laws and safety regulations? Does he or she have experience in dangerous or unusual driving conditions? Does he or she have knowledge about dry van, flatbed, tankers, reefers, etc.?

Reduce orientation by days. Why bring drivers on site for all parts of your new driver orientation? In the 21st century, there is simply no need. Have your drivers complete parts of our orientation online and then answer questions and focus on things most important to the success of the driver while they are with you in person. This will also test their willingness to use an online system. You can cut orientation time and costs by entire days this way.  Days not in orientation are productive days moving freight.

Test motivation. Applicants with a will to succeed and attention to detail will jump through a few initial hoops—as long as these hoops make sense. Training and information tools should be easy to use, consistently branded, and reflect your training process. Disorganized communication, long, in-person training sessions, and long periods without pay are a different kind of hoop—and it’s the kind that turns applicants off.

Before drivers are even offered employment, use online training tools as a firewall for unqualified and unsuitable applicants. And continue using them to streamline training.


Communicate the right job

The more you narrow your pool of applicants and orientees to those who are qualified from the start, the more time and money you save.

Another crucial aspect of efficient onboarding is clarity. This includes honesty about the kind of driver you’re looking for—you’re not looking for everyone who throws a resume your way. Clarity also includes clear information, from job posting to the last day of onboarding, about the job description and the professional expectations of your company. By the time drivers are out on the road, there should be no surprises.

Don’t create your own turnover. No matter how badly you need drivers, you will do better for your budget to find the right fit for your driving job rather than to lose tens of thousands of dollars onboarding hastily and hiring the wrong employees. Don’t sacrifice accuracy. Surveys, skill tests, job postings, learning modules, web resources, manuals, on-site training days, organizational systems, and office staff should all communicate clearly the kind of jobs you offer, the kind of drivers you need, and the kind of company you are.


Customize screening and onboarding

A natural extension of clear communication is customization. Not every trucking job is the same. Not by a long shot. Local and regional jobs are different than over the road. A driver pulling a reefer needs different training than a dry van driver, and both will need different training than a  driver hauling a tanker full of HAZMAT.

Customize to reduce multiple costs. Screening can be customized to encourage the right applicants and prevent the wrong ones. Customized training and onboarding are especially crucial, because it not only saves you money in turnover and wasted training time, but protects you against the greater costs of needless accidents and violations when you put unqualified drivers on the road.

Integrate tools to save money. Did you know you can integrate applicant tracking software (ATI) with your onboarding process? Infinit-I can make sure that your online training tools, from content to videos, fit seamlessly with applicant tracking, so you’re not wasting time juggling multiple organizing tools that don’t talk to each other.

Hiring isn’t easy. And onboarding is an investment. It costs time and money in staff hours, resources, outreach, meetings, parked trucks, and travel reimbursements for trainees. But with accurate communication and strong initial screening tools, you can impress the right applicants, reduce training days, and significantly reduce onboarding time and costs.


See for yourself how Infinit-I Workforce makes onboarding for trucking quick and accurate. Request your free demo today.