As the Trucking Consultant at Acuity Insurance, one of the most frequent challenges I hear about from motor carriers is recruiting and retaining experienced drivers. Matching the right truck driving job that will meet the drivers needs and those of the motor carrier can be challenging to both parties. Sometimes, just finding an available driver can be a challenge. Many trucking companies have found success in advertising their open positions on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, employment websites like Indeed or Glassdoor, and driver-specific recruitment services.
The costs associated with finding and recruiting a qualified driver, training them to be successful, and placing them behind the wheel have been estimated to average $5,000 for each driver. That’s a lot of money for any operation, so once you have a qualified driver who has joined your team, it is important to make sure they get started on the right foot and stay.
It will come as no surprise to many of us who have worked as drivers what the issues at stake are. Quality home time, pay and benefits, geographic area traveled, type of equipment used, and freight hauled all weigh into driver satisfaction. But often, it is the little things that can matter most, such as friendly customers, an informed and capable dispatcher, and even an effective preventative maintenance program.
One positive example I've seen is a dispatcher who keeps a spreadsheet with drivers' important dates, including family birthdays, anniversaries, and major events. Imagine in this scenario that the dispatcher realizes a driver’s upcoming wedding anniversary. As a result, the dispatcher chooses and works with customers to get the driver back home in time to celebrate. Likewise, a commitment to preventative maintenance improves reliability, is less expensive than reactive maintenance, and plays an important part in getting drivers home as well.
Compare that to the opposite situation—working with a dispatcher who is largely unconcerned about drivers' personal lives or working for a company that is unconcerned about breakdowns. Drivers who end up not being home when they want or who wind up broken down or waiting for assignments won't be with that carrier for long.
Investment in driver retention can pay dividends. Spending a few thousand dollars in ways that benefit drivers and spreading those costs out over hundreds of thousands of miles or years of service is far cheaper than having a driver quit and starting the hiring process over. A good driver recruitment program starts with understanding your driver turnover. Gaining that understanding and using it to address reasons for turnover is a key step in both recruitment and retention.
Each trucking company is different in their structure, operations, and needs. In your organization, what are the little things that would make a difference to your team?