It's no industry secret that the "driver shortage" over recent years remains a top concern of trucking fleets, big or small. Bob Costello, Chief Economist of the American Trucking Association, credits the shortage to the growing number of retiring drivers, with younger drivers not entering the workforce fast enough to replace them. Additionally, according to the American Trucking Association, the turnover rate at large truckload fleets rose to 96% in the third quarter of 2019. Replacing even one driver can cost a business thousands of dollars, and this along with the turnover rate and overall shortage has generated quite the storm for trucking fleets.
Why are so many drivers leaving their positions and even the industry? Simply put, younger drivers are placing a greater emphasis on their benefits, pay, and wellness. Many seasoned drivers are reaching retirement age, leaving fleets to look towards Generation X'ers and Millennials to fill the gap; the problem comes with finding ways to attract and retain younger drivers. According to a survey by EpicVue, perks such as fair benefits, wage, work-life balance, larger cabs, better equipment, and healthcare are of great concern by Millennials. In order to combat driver shortage and the increasingly costly high turnover rates, it's time to consider some changes to revamp your driver retention strategy:
- Show you care. Drivers are feeling undervalued - those that choose to stay will stay where they feel appreciated. Place a focus on employee onboarding to properly train and integrate them with your company. Communicate openly, actively, and respectfully with all drivers.
- Try adopting an incentive program that acknowledges their hard work or experience, and offer rewards ranging from bonus pay, PTO, and prizes. Some incentive programs include safe driving and fuel efficiency goals. These perks are highly valued by younger drivers.
- Relook at the staples of your benefit offers such as healthcare, vacation time, and 401(k). How do they measure up to your competition? Offering worksite benefits are a good way to look more attractive to candidates.
- Offer a gym membership or other forms of a wellness program to your drivers. Look into providing drivers with roomier cabs and comfortable sleeper berths, as well as up-to-date equipment. High stress and uncomfortable working conditions are large factors of wellness concerns among drivers, so offer them solutions!
Don't let the driver shortage take control of your fleet; re-evaluate your retention strategy with some of these ideas, and you'll be attracting and retaining more drivers than before!