Your fleet is only as good as the drivers you hire. You can invest in the latest and greatest vehicles and trucking technologies, but it will mean nothing if you’re unable to onboard and retain competent drivers.
This is especially important given the current competitive hiring landscape and the shortage of drivers. In its most recent report, the American Trucking Associations estimates that by 2028 there will be a shortage of 160,000 drivers in the US trucking industry if the current trend continues.
Trucking companies are fighting over a limited number of drivers (Image Source).
If fleet companies are to remain competitive, they must continue to grow. As a key part of sustaining this growth, fleets need to ensure they attract and employ enough high-performing drivers.
Finders Keepers? The Cost of High Driver Turnover Rates
It’s one thing to recruit competent drivers. Retaining them presents a whole new set of challenges.
The National Private Truck Council reports that the attrition rate among private (in-house) fleets is 10% annually, while it’s a massive 90% among for-hire carriers.
These high turnover rates can puncture a hole in the profitability of any fleet. According to flatbed carrier PGT Trucking Inc., the financial loss associated with driver resignation is roughly $9,500 per driver.
This amount is no joke.
As a fleet manager or owner, it’s time to put on your human resources hat and figure out the best strategies to attract, hire, and retain the best drivers.
Every fleet has its own human capital management practices and culture, but here’s a set of real-world tested tips to jumpstart your talent acquisition and retention practices.
1. Adapt Your Hiring Practices to Attract Millennial Drivers
Many truckers within the current workforce are nearing retirement age, which necessitates expanding your hiring efforts and casting a wider net to attract younger drivers.
In short, you need to speak in a voice that these millennial drivers understand and focus on what matters to this younger generation.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Use social media. Apart from being a powerful marketing tool, social media can exponentially increase your job ads' reach. As a generation that grew up with the internet, millennials don’t just use social media for communication and entertainment. They also use it to search for new career opportunities.
- Streamline your hiring process. Millennials are getting frustrated with the time it takes to go through the traditional hiring process. Audit your hiring process, identify unnecessary steps, and remove them from your system.
- Highlight perks that are important to millennials. Just like their peers working in other industries, millennial truck drivers value work-life balance, health, and wellness, among other things. Highlight these benefits in your job postings. If you don’t offer them yet, it’s high time you reconsider revising your benefits package.
2. Put Your Culture Front and Center
The salary and other tangible benefits that your fleet offers are still important, but they’re not everything. With all else equal, drivers will choose the fleet that has the most appealing company culture every time.
For instance, one poll revealed that 70% of drivers feel like their workplaces lack respect. They also feel disconnected from the rest of the company when they’re on the road. Likewise, many fleet drivers believe they don’t get enough support to help them overcome challenging situations at work when dealing with law enforcement and difficult clients.
It’s time for your fleet to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if your company culture creates a conducive work environment that compels drivers to line up and apply for your job vacancies. Highlight your culture in your job ads and during interviews with candidates.
3. Secure the Best Possible Fleet Management Technology
Driving in a fleet entails more than just getting from Point A to Point B. Drivers need to comply with external regulations and internal reporting requirements. Safety considerations and vehicle health maintenance are also big concerns.
Outdated technology can make the job of fleet drivers increasingly difficult. For instance, not having telematics onboard is shortchanging your drivers and discounting its proven benefits to efficiency and safety. Another example is Electronic Logging Devices (ELD). Not having a driver-friendly ELD technology in your fleet vehicles increases the likelihood of non-compliance issues and run-ins with law enforcement.
The fleet management technology you choose greatly impacts the overall experience of your drivers. Fortunately, BigRoad offers technologies that can be customized to your fleet’s unique business structure and operational needs.
Put the Pedal to the Metal to Find the Best Drivers
A fleet is the perfect example of human and machine working as a single unit. You may have the best fleet, but if you don’t have highly-capable drivers, it can do real harm to your business.
To retain the best drivers, fleet companies need to adapt. This includes invest time and resources in reinventing their hiring practices to appeal to a broader workforce, focus on creating a company culture that values drivers as part of a team, and use the latest technology to make their drivers’ life easier and safer.
To learn more about how BigRoad's solution can help with your driver retention programs, request our BigRoad demo. If you have additional questions about how BigRoad can help make your fleet safer and more efficient contact us here.