Finding great drivers is tough. These days, retaining them is even harder. With a growing driver shortage, fleets are scrambling to keep their trucks moving.
Many commercial drivers change employers for better compensation, perks, or hours. But beyond continuously raising wages, how can fleets retain their top drivers?
Employee engagement is the answer. Engaged drivers are better, safer employees—and more likely to remain loyal. Gallup cites about “one in 12 British employees are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplaces. Engaged employees help produce favourable business outcomes in many ways, including though higher retention rates, lower absenteeism and more positive relationships with customers and coworkers.” Here are five methods of engaging drivers to keep them moving your fleet.
1) Connect safety with culture to boost driver retention
Building a safety culture that engages drivers on their daily routes is a great place to start. Emphasise how their actions matter. Make it clear that safety is your top priority, and invest in compliance and coaching rather than paying regulatory fines. Connecting the dots between drivers’ safe behaviour and the fleet’s reputation and bottom line can help.
2) Celebrate performance
Driver retention starts with acknowledging a job well done. Did you know that drivers who feel appreciated and rewarded are more likely to stick around? So don’t be afraid to set metrics or milestones for drivers and offer meaningful incentives. Tying performance to data-driven, objective measures such as consecutive collision-free days, coaching effectiveness scores, or safe miles driven can motivate and incentivise drivers. Another option is to reward drivers for improving unsafe habits, idling less, or minimising downtime. Consider a “driver of the month” or year programme to recognise top performers. Additionally, make sure positive customer feedback makes it to drivers (and their managers).
3) Ask for—and act on—driver feedback
Like employees everywhere, drivers want their voices heard. However, communication from the road is trickier than around an office. Consider overcoming this challenge by establishing clear communication channels for drivers to share their ideas and feedback and encouraging a dialogue during coaching sessions. When you engage drivers as partners in problem solving, it can make them feel like active contributors to the company. Share how you’re applying their feedback—and better yet, the impact of changes they inspired. Larger fleets can even consider creating a committee that discusses and prioritises peer input. Efforts like these can ultimately improve driver retention.
4) Build a true team
Revamp your onboarding programme to connect new drivers with your values, policies and expectations. Take the time to nurture new relationships and ask drivers about their career goals and desires. Consider integrating new drivers with existing teams, and pair each new driver with a peer who has some tenure. Create groups of drivers with similar roles (e.g., cargo types, geography, etc.) so they can swap experiences. When setting performance goals, blend individual and team metrics to inspire some friendly competition.
5) Embrace technology
Don’t let drivers get stuck with outdated methods. Invest in technology that makes drivers’ daily routines easier, safer, and more productive. Technology can also help drivers feel more supported. The Lytx® Driver Safety Programme, for example, gives drivers the opportunity to improve their skills through coaching sessions while retaining their jobs over the long run. The programme cultivates the driver-coach relationship and helps build trust on both sides. When drivers feel their fleet has their back, they’re more apt to stay.
Investing in engagement can be more cost effective than recruiting new drivers. Ready to start improving your own driver retention rate? Check out this article on Incentivising Your Fleet to Drive Safely.