An unfortunate reality for many freight companies is that it's difficult to retain their truckers on an ongoing basis. Many are retiring, and others are being enticed to competitors in an ever-escalating tug-of-war for qualified, experienced drivers. The question you may have is what you can do to attract and retain talent, especially if you can't always afford to keep up with the competitive rates other companies are offering.
One of the best ways to do that is by focusing more intently on what you can do to make drivers more satisfied in their roles within your larger organization, and happier on the road:
1) Take their feedback to heart
Few things are more frustrating, professionally, than feeling like your comments and concerns about your job are falling on deaf ears, and many truckers will tell you that's become an all too pervasive problem in the industry, according to Teletrac. As such, try to make a greater effort to not only listen to these issues, but to act on them as is reasonable and solicit opinions to make sure you are all on the same page.
2) Be more understanding with assignments
A little reliability in scheduling is a great thing for truckers, especially if they're in a situation where they are on the road for long stretches, Teletrac said. Being able to count on something as simple as, "I will always be away for the second week of the month," can bring a lot of solidity to a driver's life — and those of their various members. Sometimes, it's not always feasible to make sure your drivers are in their own beds a few nights a week, but you can offer transparency and predictability.
3) Incentivize great work
Another thing you can't always do is boost driver's pay to keep up with signing bonuses other companies offer, but there may be more wiggle room here than you realize, according to Trucking Info. It may be wise to start giving performance bonuses to drivers who operate with greater fuel efficiency, get their shipments delivered on time (or early) with consistency, and otherwise represent the best of your operation.
4) Provide tech to make their jobs easier
Truckers are still asked to do a decent amount of administrative work and fend for themselves when they're on the road, but the least you can do is give them devices that will help them work more efficiently, according to Axele. Company laptops loaded with software to give them a better handle on everything they have to deal with will go a long way toward making them feel like you're taking care of them.
5) Don't keep them in the dark
Finally, truckers will often complain about a lack of clarity in what they do, so communication while they're on the road is vital for everyone, Axele advised. A little extra outreach will go a long way toward helping them feel that you're with them every mile of the way, even if it's just via email, text or phone call.
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