Trucking industry can do better job

March 14, 2014
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Your recent article “Trucking industry struggles with driver shortage” (Feb. 10) hit on many of the challenges we see the industry struggling with. New training programs and recruiting methods like the ones discussed are vital — but another key wicked problem at play here is driver retention.

If companies can retain more drivers, then the only recruiting needs you have are the ones that help you grow your business. Here are a few tips I’d like to share with transportation companies to keep those newly hired drivers from turning around and walking back out.

The age-old adage “people don’t quit jobs, they quit people” is especially true in transportation. People oftentimes just don’t get along, sometimes due to a clash of personality. Before a driver quits, maybe offer them the opportunity to switch fleet managers. Or, while in orientation, have the drivers complete personality tests and then match them with a fleet manager who most closely matches their personality.

Sometimes, drivers end up speaking more to their fleet manager than they do their families, so it’s important to know and respect your drivers. In essence, the fleet manager should become part of their family. If the only person the driver speaks to is always unpleasant and demanding, the driver will quickly be looking for another job. Drivers have all the time in the world to think about how they’re being treated, so do your part to make sure they’re good thoughts. Get to know who their spouse and children are and ask about them. This means more to them than you think.

Make sure your recruiters have the most up-to-date information. Many a driver quits because they feel they were lied to by a recruiter. This may not always be the case. Policies change and the information is not always communicated quickly. Remember to keep your recruiters in the loop when it comes to changes.

Keep in constant contact with your new hires. Have the new drivers offer their feedback by filling out reviews at intervals during their first few months. Then actually read and act on them! This will give the drivers a sense of importance, and it will give you a pretty accurate assessment of where you need to focus your attention.

Recruiting and training drivers (especially during this driver shortage) isn’t cheap or easy. So it only makes sense that this responsibility should be one that’s shared by everyone in the company. Remember — without drivers, none of the rest of us in this industry would have our jobs!

Jim McKinley
HNI Risk Services

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