Those in the trucking business regularly experience a shortage of experienced drivers, especially during the busy season. This has led to the hasty hiring of unqualified drivers who often under-perform, leading to losses. If you’re in charge of managing a team of drivers, you know how tough it can be to find reliable, skilled staff members. Rather than recruiting new drivers, however, you should focus on keeping the excellent drivers you already have. The following are just a few things you can do to improve your driver retention rate and motivate your existing team.
Establishing a solid trust foundation between you as a manager and your truckers can help improve the workflow. It will encourage open communication, which is essential for successful implementation of your company’s policies. To start building trust, you need to organize a meeting with all the drivers and lay out your expectations, while at the same time giving them a forum to express their perspectives. Doing this will show your team that you’re committed to open communication and a workplace environment characterized by mutual respect.
Talk to the Drivers in their Language
Drivers, just like workers in every industry, have a particular language or code through which they relay information to each other. This jargon is used on a daily basis and typically simplifies communication for those within the trucking industry. It is imperative that you learn this jargon, if you haven’t already, so you can communicate with your truckers on their level. When that happens, you will have a greater advantage when it comes to giving instruction. Failure to understand and use industry jargon could make you look out of touch and might send your drivers packing.
Be Concerned and Curious
As a manager, you need to have the desire to learn more about your drivers and their daily duties. Be curious and ask questions, but don’t push your drivers to answer, as it could make you seem overbearing. Use the insight this curiosity yields to develop ways of motivating your drivers. Their work can be quite tiring, especially for the long distance drivers. By expressing your concern for their well-being, you show your drivers that they have the support, rather than the disapproval, of management.
Consider implementing a competitive pay scale to encourage some healthy competition among your drivers and inspire them to perform better. Make sure that all the equipment your drivers use is well-maintained, so they don’t have to deal with the frustration and danger of broken equipment. If your business is subject to the ELD mandate, make sure all your drivers’ HOS compliance needs are met. If you have long haul drivers on your team, make sure you create their schedules with their families and personal lives in mind. These minor improvements and adjustments can go a long way toward boosting driver morale.
Those are just some of the truck driver retention tricks you can implement in your company to maintain your best drivers. By paying attention to your drivers’ needs and making an effort to keep them happy, you can build and retain a great team.