Recruiting and training a driver costs thousands, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to retain them. Fortunately, there are ways to improve fleet driver retention rates.
It starts with leadership, which sets pay rates and policies—the primary factors bringing drivers to your company. Then, field management needs to deliver and execute those same strategies consistently.
Create a Safety Culture
One of the most essential things a fleet manager can do is to create a safety culture. Drivers are more inclined to stay with the organization and work hard if they believe in a safe atmosphere.
Developing a safety culture starts with the company’s written policies that outline driving expectations and procedures. These should be clear and comprehensive, as well as enforceable. The policies should be reviewed regularly and amended as needed.
It is also essential that these policies be communicated to all stakeholders in the fleet, including the leadership team and hourly employees. Employees will quickly detect that a safety policy is not a top priority when it is only mentioned at meetings and newsletters, with consistent policy enforcement daily.
Drivers are more likely to feel empowered when encouraged to act safely and be rewarded for doing so. Fleet managers, for example, can encourage safe conduct by providing incentives such as cash awards for high CSA ratings or recognizing top safety performers via a virtual leaderboard shown on their mobile dashcams. This type of encouragement and reinforcement helps build loyalty among drivers and creates a workplace safety culture.
Invest in Driver Training
One of the most common reasons fleet drivers leave is because they feel their professional needs aren’t met. Ensuring that training is an ongoing part of your driver retention strategies with drivers will help engage them more with their work and increase employee retention.
Fleets can also invest in driver retention by improving how they manage their truck drivers’ daily routines. Providing smarter routing and scheduling through fleet tracking solutions can save fuel costs, improve safety, and get drivers home more often.
Finally, fleet managers must listen to their drivers. Having an open-door policy that includes regularly soliciting feedback and acting on it shows drivers that their opinions matter.
Drivers aren’t happy when they’re stuck on the road with faulty equipment or vehicles, so investing in the quality of the fleet’s vehicle and equipment maintenance will help ensure that drivers have an enjoyable experience on the job. This will also keep them coming back. It’s easy to find a good truck driving job, but it is easy for fleets to lose top talent if they nurture loyalty and satisfaction.
Provide a Voice in the Workplace
Fleet managers often spend so much time searching for new drivers that they must remember to commit to the ones they already have. Providing competitive pay, consistent home time policies, and well-maintained equipment will keep drivers happy and increase your chances of keeping them around.
Ensure your field staff has effective communication channels for resolving problems and addressing concerns. Ensure they know the corporate office values feedback and will consider it when making decisions impacting your team members.
Providing options for progress in one’s profession also makes drivers feel valued by their employers. Younger truck drivers especially want to be able to establish a professional career and find stability. Mentorship programs that pair novice truckers with experienced veterans provide this and give drivers a sense of purpose and meaning to their jobs.
When fleet managers can take the time to listen to drivers and address concerns, they can make it much less likely for them to leave. Taking action on feedback and giving drivers opportunities to interact with one another builds loyalty and helps them feel like they’re a part of the company.
Driver turnover can be expensive. It’s estimated that replacing them costs up to two times an employee’s annual salary. Plus, it’s frustrating for a fleet manager to invest in a new driver and then see them leave after the honeymoon period.
To avoid this, it’s essential to pay drivers well. This means having a competitive pay scale, providing benefits, and offering various opportunities for growth and advancement. In addition, it’s essential to know what competitors are paying and try to match or even exceed those rates. A competitive pay scale will also motivate your drivers to stay on the job longer, which can help lower your turnover rate. The right truck driver retention strategy can boost the morale of your fleet and keep your team happy and motivated.
Offer a Reward System
Creating a system that rewards good work is critical to keeping CDL truck drivers engaged. This can be as simple as providing a congratulatory letter for an outstanding performance or as involved as pairing new drivers with experienced veterans so they can learn the ins and outs of the job from someone who already knows.
Ensure you immediately provide a reward, as it can be counterproductive. Instead, ensure positive feedback is shared as soon as the behavior occurs so it has a chance to motivate fleet drivers.
Keeping up to date with vehicle maintenance and investing in driver training is also essential for building loyalty. However, establishing clear communication channels and ensuring that field managers consistently deliver on the income and home time expectations that attract drivers to the company in the first place is crucial. By implementing these rock-solid strategies, your fleet can reap the benefits of happier, more productive drivers and avoid costly turnover.