Employers in the parcel delivery and warehousing industries know that truck drivers are one of the most important parts of their organization. Employee retention is especially important in these sectors, which rely on drivers for the safe transportation of goods and services to maintain their operations.
As the demand for drivers increases in the last-mile delivery space, employees can be more discerning about where they choose to work. In fact, turnover rates among truck drivers sit around 90%, resulting in a shortage of drivers estimated at 60,000 in the US, according to the American Trucking Association.
This shortage and high churn rate cost employers thousands of dollars in idle equipment, reduced productivity and lowered customer satisfaction. According to a survey by Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, the cost of driver turnover ranges from $2,243 to $20,729.
Employers who fall short in their fleet management practices may be inadvertently contributing to higher driver turnover. Here are four strategies employers can adopt to help attract new drivers and keep valued drivers on the road:
1. Competitive Compensation
The first step to attracting and retaining drivers is to offer competitive compensation packages that include good pay, benefits and a supportive work environment. Truck drivers are in high demand, and employers must offer salaries and benefits matching market rates to attract the best candidates.
According to the American Trucking Association, truckers’ earnings are increasing at 5x their historical rate.
Employers should also provide a flexible work schedule and opportunities for advancement, which can help retain drivers looking for stability and career growth.
2. Training & Professional Development
Another effective way to attract and retain employees is to provide ongoing training and professional growth opportunities. With new technologies and regulations constantly emerging in the industry, truck drivers must be continuously updated on the latest skills and techniques.
Employers might consider helping drivers prepare or pay for driving exams for different vehicles to further their development. Likewise, creating growth opportunities – like supervising and training other drivers – keeps employees motivated and engaged in their work. It shows that the company is one they can advance at if they stay.
3. Efficient Hiring Processes
The hiring process is critical to attracting and retaining drivers. Smart hiring decisions help employers reduce the risk of transportation-related accidents, which are the leading cause of occupational fatalities and can cost from tens of thousands of dollars for property-damage accidents, to millions of dollars for those resulting in fatalities.
Employers must effectively screen applicants to ensure they are properly licensed and qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle and meet the minimum qualifications established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Among other criteria, a driver is qualified if they:
- Have a valid CMV operator’s license for the type of vehicle operated
- Can safely operate the CMV with relevant experience, training or both
- Are physically qualified to operate a CMV
- Have completed a driver’s road test
Thorough background checks and screenings should also be performed on all potential candidates. A clear and streamlined hiring process allows employers to quickly and efficiently screen, interview and onboard new drivers.
4. A Safe & Positive Work Environment
Building a safe and supportive workplace culture is essential for attracting and retaining truck drivers, who face a variety of workplace hazards and pressures. Employers can build strong relationships with employees by providing open and honest communication, recognizing and rewarding them for their hard work and creating a culture of safety.
Employers are responsible for ensuring their workers are protected from workplace risks. This includes providing training and education to employees on the proper use of equipment, safe driving practices and how to prevent injuries and accidents. Additionally, employers can provide safety technology that both reduces workplace hazards and helps to attract and retain drivers. By incorporating safety tech into their operations, employers demonstrate their commitment to innovation as well as to worker well-being.
Adopting strategies to help attract and retain truck drivers, such as good pay and benefits, training and growth opportunities, smart hiring practices and creating safe and supportive work environments, can help employers combat the turnover and driver shortage challenges that trouble the trucking and last-mile delivery industries.
How Wearable Tech Can Help Combat the Labor Shortage
Learn how wearables help employers attract and retain workers, and improve performance, through reduced injuries, fewer lost work days, increased productivity and enhanced loyalty.