By Don Mitchell
At the height of the Cold War, there’s a story that will forever live on in the hearts and minds of Americans. Well, at least for those of us who are old enough to remember.
In one of the most nail-biting moments in Olympic history, the underdog American hockey team of college players beat the four-time gold-medal-winning Soviets. As 10,000 spectators looked on, the Soviet team, previously seen as the best in the world, lost 4-3 to the gritty, bright-eyed Americans. Two days later, the Americans clinched the hockey gold when they defeated Finland 4-2.
Why am I talking about a hockey game that happened 40 plus years ago, and what does this have to do with truck driver retention? Stay with me.
On that fateful day in February 1980, a team of unlikely champions won big by working together. Every player performed a vital role, and everyone on the team was gunning for the same thing: the gold medal. You can think of truck driver retention in the same way: when your team is working hard and believes in something bigger, everyone wins.
Yet, in 2020, fleets with more than $30 million in revenue had a staggering 90 percent truck driver turnover rate. In this current climate, how can you keep drivers safe, happy, and playing their best game? Read on for a few technology-driven tips.
One Player Can Affect the Whole Team
Running a profitable fleet is about more than just moving freight. Without your drivers, you wouldn’t even have a fleet. Like the gold-medal-winning Americans, every productive, profitable fleet is made of team players ready to put forth their best effort. And, as the Soviets learned in their epic defeat, when one player checks out, the whole team suffers.
When a driver leaves, fleets incur $12,000 to $15,000 in additional costs to reseat that truck.
Losing a good driver negatively impacts your morale and company culture too, causing ripple effects across your entire organization. Successful fleet management means treating every driver like an important part of the team. By properly planning for and mitigating truck driver turnover, you can address the issue before it becomes a major profit drain.
Winners Focus on What They Can Control
When the Soviet team scored their third goal in the 1980 Olympics, the American team could have braced themselves for defeat. The Soviet’s goal-scoring skills were impressive, after all. Instead, the Americans focused on what they could control: playing their best game.
To boost truck driver retention and run a successful fleet, you must know what’s within, and outside of, your control.
Your truck driver turnover rate will never be zero but improving your numbers even slightly will pay dividends today and down the road.
Like competitive team sports, being a professional truck driver is gruelling mentally and physically, and not everyone can do the job. Given these challenges, it’s not surprising that unhappy drivers often find a new job in a matter of days.
To remedy the situation, you could increase your drivers’ miles and pay package, but that alone isn’t enough to retain them. To reduce truck driver turnover, get a handle on what you can control, and then use technology to gain that control.
1. Build a positive company culture.
2. Do exit interviews to better understand why your drivers leave.
3. Regularly engage with your drivers to get a better idea of their wants and needs.
4. Use technology (like a trucking app with weigh station bypass, easy driver/fleet communication, GPS navigation, etc.) to make your drivers’ day-to-day easier.
5. Give your drivers more home time and better visibility around their schedule.
With Transflo’s schedule tool, drivers can see paid time off, vacations, planned maintenance, and any other events in their calendar. This visibility gives drivers a greater sense of control over their schedule.
Setbacks Aren’t the End of the Game
Just like the Americans learned in that historic hockey game, not all is lost once you face a setback. Once a driver starts working for a new company, they may quickly realize their new role isn’t exactly a step up. Maybe they’re not getting the hours they need, or maybe they don’t like their schedule or team. Whatever the case, the game isn’t over when a driver leaves, as they could be willing to come back with a bit of persuading.
To boost profitability and reduce your truck driver turnover rate, focus on increasing your rehire percentages.
With the white-label version of Transflo’s fleet management solution, you can engage drivers while they’re on your payroll and win them back if they leave. The app allows you to connect with drivers and keep them in the loop about new pay packages and opportunities, like a dedicated lane or something else that might sweeten the deal.
Want more tips to help you improve truck driver retention and boost profits? Request the full Fleet Profitability guide below for more insights.
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Sources & Credits
Parade: The 12 Most Memorable Moments in Sports History