June 10, 2021
PacLease Driver Retention Best Practices
For any company that operates a fleet in today’s environment, truck drivers are typically one of the most important resource that allows them to grow their business. However, finding drivers – which account for nearly 3.5 million jobs in the US – was listed as the top challenge in the National Private Truck Council (NPTC ) Benchmarking Survey Report.
The primary reason companies operate their own fleet is to provide exceptional levels of customer service (NPTC 2020 Benchmarking Survey Report). It is important to understand that drivers are an essential part of any fleet or transport business and contribute directly to the perception of a company’s customer service. However, with the continued driver shortage haunting the trucking industry, it should come as no surprise that driver-related issues were cited by nearly every benchmarking survey respondent, often more than once. In fact, more than one-third of all problems were driver related – an aging driver population, driver recruiting, driver turnover, driver hiring, driver retention, and the driver shortage – outdistancing its closest challenger by a factor of almost 4:1.
With that said, how can companies improve their driver retention? Here are a few best practices and tips as outlined in the 2020 report:
Pre-Employment Screening Practices
Fleet managers are spending more time during the interview process to ensure they are hiring the right person for the right job. They are partnering with their human resource(s) manager to develop particular criteria, specifically around driver position competencies, which allows for a more thorough interview process.
Tip: Driver qualifications, knowledge, skills and abilities should be a focal point of the interview.
Do you know how your company’s compensation compares with the local market? How about your driver compensation packages? Understanding current market pay, driver compensation packages and performance incentives is critical to maintaining a strong driver pool. More companies are introducing a multi-faceted pay structure based on the driver’s route. Gone are the days of only paying for stops and miles. Companies are considering OTR (over the road) versus regional pay versus local pay components when developing their driver compensation program. Activity-based pay is also being introduced, where drivers are compensated based on their productivity.
Balancing work and personal life is very important for many employees, including drivers. Often it is found that drivers spend most of the time on the road. This can be very frustrating for them. By giving more flexibility to drivers, a fleet manager can retain them for a longer time.
Tip: A good break between two trips is helpful in smooth driving.
Employee Benefits Packages
Another area to focus on is the driver benefits package. More often than not, drivers are making their employment decisions with their family in mind. Offering a generous benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, paid holidays, life insurance, 401(k) programs, short-term disability and funeral leave shows a level of commitment that the hiring company truly appreciates each and every employee the same.
Employee Rewards/Recognition and Incentives
A majority of fleets are stating they are now paying their drivers incentives – geared around goals, targets and performance. Appreciation shows a value and respect for someone’s efforts. Having a rewards/recognition and incentive program allows drivers the ability to be acknowledged for their hard work and dedication to their job. This should promote a culture of positive reinforcement and encourage increased driver production. The thinking here is that what gets rewarded, gets done. Companies are looking at compensation in ways that link performance to productivity and the plentiful data that can now be used to track key performance metrics. A few incentive items to mention are:
- On-Time Performance
- Fuel Economy
- Idle Time
Tip: There are multiple ways to recognize your driver pool. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Driver of the Month/Quarter/Year Recognition
- Driver Appreciation Week
- Annual “Million Miler Banquet” (Drivers who go one million miles without an accident)
- Service Anniversaries
Driver retention has a huge impact on America’s economy. Because of truck drivers, food, products, equipment and other freight are able to be delivered from coast to coast. Truck drivers remain the backbone of the logistical infrastructure. Finding drivers is no easy feat. For businesses to continue to deliver exceptional customer service, they will need to train and retain drivers to stay ahead of the competition.
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