Ask anyone in trucking management what their company's biggest issue is these days, and the most likely answer will probably have to do with attracting and retaining talent. The trucker shortage has gotten a lot of press in recent years and seems to be growing more concerning for the industry. As such, you certainly need to be proactive about monitoring your own situation and understand areas where you might be falling short and, in doing so, hastening a driver exodus from your company.
The following are some of the most proven ways to attract and retain truckers in today's environment:
1) Increase pay, benefits and perks
First and foremost, it's important to keep in mind that today's truckers make a fraction of what they used to on an inflation-adjusted basis, and yet are asked to do more than ever, according to Geotab. For that reason, compensation is a big issue for many drivers and something you may need to look at. Are your rates competitive with the industry at large, or your local market? The same applies to benefits. However, if your finances are already squeezed, you may need to think outside the box and find novel ways to keep truckers happy.
2) Give them more health support
This is a physically and mentally demanding job, and the life of a trucker certainly isn't easy — but you can help, Geotab advised. Whether you're just more proactive about encouraging drivers to get annual checkups (including potentially hosting clinics at your site) or you make services available to them that will support their mental health, your drivers are likely to appreciate that you're looking out for them.
3) Look at your recruiting efforts
Many freight companies now face situations in which they hire someone and that new driver only sticks around for a few months before quitting, according to Fleet Owner. Obviously, that's a problem, but you might want to consider why those people leave and make sure you are constantly working to address those factors whenever you can. What went well with the hires who are working out? What what wrong with the busts?
4) Set up mentorship programs
A mentorship program can be a great way to make your hiring process "stickier" going forward, Fleet Owner said. This will help when it comes to retention efforts with both fresh hires and the truckers you've had on the roster for years. The new drivers will feel more connected to their coworkers and the job, while older ones will get reminders of why they got into the business in the first place, and won't want to let down the people coming into the industry with an optimistic outlook.
5) Be honest and realistic
One thing you don't want to do is present trucking as this kind of free and easy career for those who are just coming into it, according to IMI Products. Instead, talk about how it is simultaneously rewarding and demanding, so truckers have a clear picture of what they're getting into. If they still want to be involved in the industry, you should also be highly understanding that they're just learning the ropes, and set them up for success.
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