Driver retention is a huge challenge (not to mention expense) for trucking companies. And the statistics prove it; turnover numbers were alarmingly high in 2019, sitting at 87% for large truckload carriers.
So, while the vast majority of fleets are focusing primarily on recruiting new drivers, it’s worth considering how more of an emphasis should be placed on retention. One article in HR Dive went so far as to say that “keeping top performers from leaving has to be job one for employers.”
Bearing that in mind, we’ve been exploring what, exactly, an effective retention strategy looks like for the past few weeks. We’ve examined not only why drivers leave in the first place, but also how safety culture needs to be a priority. The third installment surveyed the power of increased communication and driver engagement. This week, we’re looking at how prioritizing training and professional development can mean the difference between a driver that stays and one that goes.
The Power of Investing in Your Drivers
According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, an astonishing 93% of employees would stay longer at a company if it invested in their careers. You can rest assured that your drivers are not exempt from this startling statistic; everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated in the workplace.
Mandatory training aside, fleets should be encouraging their drivers to further their education beyond what’s considered obligatory. This alone can help with driver retention; if you treat your drivers like experienced professionals, invest in the ongoing development of their skills, and find ways to enable that development (without making them give up their weekends), you will see those sought-after retention numbers begin to rise.
Consider looking into courses that go beyond life on the road; what might your drivers find useful beyond safety-based content? Courses that are geared towards becoming a successful independent owner/operator might be an option to consider. Other drivers might enjoy a course that communicates tactics on how to be a successful professional driver.
Take Driver Learning Online
A startling number of fleets continue to rely on traditional, classroom-based learning for their drivers.
While this type of learning certainly does have a time and place, you’ll find many of today’s drivers prefer to have access to their training when and where is most convenient for them; they don’t want to give up weekends to meet DOT requirements.
Access to online material increases the chance your drivers will see their learning as more of a positive opportunity to embrace, rather than as something they need to simply check off their to-do list.
Consider How Training is Delivered
Your drivers want content that’s comprehensive, but not complicated. They also want content that’s understandable, but not patronizing – are you delivering?
Seek out courses that translate complex ideas and regulations into real-world context that drivers understand; content that provides an interactive learning experience that’s effective regardless of your drivers’ learning styles, language, or educational background. Ignite, powered by CarriersEdge, for example, offers a range of content that promotes continued engagement; this can increase retention and create a more empowered, safer fleet.
What are you doing to invest in your drivers and support your driver retention goals? Remember: by making investments in your drivers, you’re demonstrating respect and appreciation for the men and women who go the distance every day to make your fleet successful.