Author and former presidential speechwriter James Humes once said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
Here at TruckRight, we tend to agree.
As our industry struggles with a massive driver shortage, fleet owners and managers are continuously seeking ways to increase driver retention rates and reduce driver turnover.
We’ve been exploring what, exactly, an effective retention strategy looks like for the past couple of weeks. We’ve examined not only why drivers leave in the first place, but also how safety culture needs to be a priority. This week, we’re looking at how increased communication and driver engagement can help determine whether your best drivers stay…or go.
Increase Communication With Technology
The trucking industry continues to deal with one of the highest turnover rates, with many drivers treating carriers as a revolving door of sorts.
But it’s not all bad news; fleets that have implemented technology-based communication are starting to see those alarming dashes for the door decrease. They recognize that drivers – who are so often alone – need to feel connected, not only to their families at home but also with their managers.
Today’s technology makes that possible.
At TruckRight, we’ve developed a fast, secure and compliant transportation-specific Applicant Tracking System that offers a paperless workflow and gives drivers the ability to quickly and effortlessly apply to your company.
From there, all DOT-required documents are auto-generated, so you – and your drivers – know they are compliant, safe, and ready for the road.
Once your drivers are onboarded, technology can continue to help foster good employer/employee relationships, making employee engagement possible from anywhere, via a computer or mobile device.
While you’ll get peace of mind knowing your drivers’ DQ files are always up-to-date, your drivers will also feel a sense of connection when they receive auto-generated messages celebrating everything from work anniversaries to birthdays. What’s this accomplish? Well, more than you think. Making everyone that drives for you feel valued, supported and cared about is crucial. After all, at the end of the day, that’s what we all want.
Aside from making things more convenient, technology can also put some of the power back into your drivers’ hands and allow them to take some ownership of their careers.
Be Open to Honest Conversation
Tech aside (we had to mention it!), there’s no discounting how powerful it is for managers and owners to take the time to communicate with their drivers directly. What are they thinking? How are they feeling? What are some ways the carrier could improve the day-to-day lives of their drivers? What are their thoughts on their schedules, their home time?
Taking the time to have open and honest communication with your drivers drastically reduces the risk of them walking out the door. By nipping issues in the bud early, so to speak, you can avoid the potential that a driver will become frustrated by processes/procedures/policies/etc. that they disagree with.
We recommend instituting a regular “check-in” with each of your drivers. This can be as simple as a survey designed to understand where your drivers’ minds are and what you could be doing to ensure they want to stick around. Constructive criticism can be challenging for some people to take, but it’s necessary for an industry that suffers from such high turnover numbers.
Alternatively, if it’s possible, schedule one-on-one calls or socially-distanced meetings with your drivers. The open dialogue goes a long way in establishing long-term relationships – and keeps your drivers from doing an abrupt about-face and heading for your competitor down the road.
Next week, we’ll explore the importance of prioritizing training and professional development, so stay tuned.