Overcoming The #1 Industry Issue: Driver Retention

driver retention

The Struggle for Driver Retention

The number of drivers looking for a job continues to decrease, but the demand for drivers is still increasing. Between driver retention and recruitment issues, the trucking industry is close to a crisis.

Many options have been discussed to deal with the driver shortage, but part of this issue is making sure you put qualified and competent drivers on the road. There isn’t a quick fix to this issue, but there are some things trucking companies can do to bring in the drivers needed to fill the yearly 44% increase in job postings.

Why is There a Driver Shortage?

There are several issues that contribute to the driver shortage. According to anecdotal research done by ATRI, the four biggest issues are compensation, work life balance, being detained when loading and unloading, and truck parking issues.

21.6% of drivers say consistent time home is an issue that will make them leave a company. This number will likely increase as the trucking industry seeks to attract younger drivers.

The aging workforce also contributes to the driver shortage. The combination of drivers retiring, and difficulty recruiting and retaining younger drivers adds to the problem. Younger drivers are difficult to retain once they have 6 months of experience.

Many drivers have also been lost due to changes in the drug screening process. Most drivers who fail their drug tests are leaving the industry rather than completing programs to get back on the road.

The debate over vaccine mandates could cost the industry more drivers. With 36% of drivers stating they have no intention of getting a vaccine, this means these people could move into other industries if the vaccine mandates are instituted.

Unfortunately, 11% of drivers won’t tell you when they are having issues that would make them leave. This makes it difficult to determine the best methods for keeping drivers around. Luckily, there are some areas you can work on to help with driver retention.

How Can You Retain Qualified Drivers?

Truth in compensation is a big issue when it comes to driver retention. Many people leave the industry when they feel they were lied to about salaries. It’s important to make sure drivers are getting paid what they were promised if you want to keep them around.

You can also look at better payment models to keep drivers around. Make the payment process simple with pay per mile and guaranteed payment options. Direct deposit can also help reduce turnover as it keeps drivers from having to track down their checks.

Your equipment also plays a role in the compensation issue. Breakdowns cost drivers money. If they are dealing with equipment breakdown issues regularly, they will leave. You need to ensure that all equipment is well maintained to avoid this issue.

Communication and authority are also key to recruiting and retaining drivers. You need to provide relevant content that drivers can engage with to grab the attention of new drivers. Managing your online company branding is essential to recruiting drivers.

Maintaining communication with drivers once they are hired will help keep them around. Listen to their feedback and make sure they are clear on the policies and procedures necessary. Provide regular training and communications to maintain driver safety and understanding.

Where Can You Find New Drivers?

Understanding where your preferred drivers are likely to be found is important to the recruitment process. This isn’t just about the job searches. This includes social media so you can communicate with them.

Recruiting new drivers is about engaging them. Provide content in places drivers are likely to hang out such as YouTube and Facebook. You can also look at other avenues to recruit younger drivers. Share content on several medias regularly to interact with potential drivers.

55% of drivers will look for new jobs in online searches such as Indeed, Zip Recruiter, or even Google searches. You want to spend time setting up applications in these areas to catch their attention.

Be careful about making the application process simple though. More than 18% of drivers state length of applications as an issue during the hiring process.

You should also get current drivers involved in the recruiting process. 18.9% of recruits look for driver referrals. You can set up a referral bonus program to help with this process. These referral bonuses can help with driver retention as well, since drivers are less likely to leave a company they refer others to.

17.5% of drivers will check out job boards when seeking a job. This means posting openings on these job board sites is still a viable option for driver recruitment. You don’t want to rely solely on these though.

Keep in mind that 76.5% of drivers will check out all the online data they can find about a carrier before deciding to apply. To attract qualified drivers, you need to be aware of the reviews, content, and company data that exists for your company.

How others perceive you online will play a big role in how many applications you receive. Get current drivers involved in helping to strengthen that online presence wherever possible.

Preparing New Drivers

As the trucking industry focuses attention on driver recruitment and driver retention, you don’t want to forget about making sure new drivers are prepared. The best way to do this is to develop a training program that includes orientation, ongoing safety, and corrective action training materials.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions is an online training management platform that allows you to keep up with your training needs without disrupting workflows. Allow your drivers to stay on the road and making money, while ensuring they keep safety top of mind.

Want to learn more about how Infinit-I can help save you money on training and retain qualified drivers? Request a demo to get started.