How Carriers Can Keep Great Drivers Behind the Wheel

As a truck driver you are in demand more now than ever. Due to the lack of qualified truck drivers and increased competition for the experienced driver, motor carriers are facing a constant loss of qualified drivers. Some fleets are experiencing up to a 150-percent driver turnover annually. This constant driver replacement is costing carriers. It is estimated that a carrier spends $12,000 to $15,000 to find, hire, train and equip a new driver. This is a significant cost to carriers of all sizes. High driver turnover also undermines carrier safety performance and customer service.

Decreased Capacity and Growing Shipper Demand

To meet shipper demand, some carriers attempt to handle high freight volumes with a reduced driver pool, which can result in accidents and low driver morale. Hours of service rules have made safe driving and on time delivery more stressful than ever. Conflict among shippers, carriers, and receivers may also create loading and unloading delays in already tighter-than-average scheduling.

Turnover

Some driver turnover is necessary, and often benefits shippers and carriers. Occasionally driver turnover is due to driver’s lack of training, negligence is following safety regulations and or poor performance. This type of turnover saves shippers and carriers money in the long run, and helps support the carrier’s performance standards.

Negative turnover, however, is when drivers choose to leave the profession or more to another carrier. Drivers jump to competing carriers for a variety of reasons, and most often, compensation is only a fraction of the decision making process.  Carriers must make significant efforts to prevent this type of turnover by addressing the multitude of reasons drivers leave. Some of the most common causes of driver led turnover are:

  • Perceived lack of respect
  • Missing sense of belonging or team atmosphere
  • Struggle to balance work/life demands
  • Insufficient benefits
  • Inadequate compensation

Driver Retention is the Goal

Drivers are in demand.

No quick solution can fix all the causes of driver turnover, but drivers will benefit when carriers increase retention program spending instead of recruiting. Drivers should look to fleets who value retention and driver appreciation programs.  Oftentimes marketing departments fail to see that their best recruiters are their current drivers. When driver satisfaction is increased, driver referrals increase as well. Driver to driver referrals still remain the most popular recruiting tool for the most successful fleets. Retention works in two ways, maintaining relationships with current drivers and while simultaneously encouraging them to recruit for you.

Effect on Shippers

Driver retention has ramifications for the shippers as well. As driver turnover increases and capacity tightens shippers will be forced to expand their carrier pool. When shippers begin to broaden their carrier base they will bear increased costs.  Increases in transportation costs coupled with carrier capacity issues will lead to increased product pricing. Freight delays and disruptions are also a possible consequence of the driver shortage. The resulting stock shortages and late home deliveries will add to consumer dissatisfaction.

Long Term Issue

High driver turnover in an industry that already faces a shortage of qualified drivers will continue to be an issue. This trend will require the entire trucking industry to work in concert to reverse the trend.  This is to the advantage of drivers. The average age of U.S. truck drivers is increasing, and the shortage of younger drivers entering the industry is forcing carriers to improve their business models to accommodate current and incoming drivers’ needs. They are able to do this in three ways: Pay structure, haul length, and workplace satisfaction. Addressing sources of driver dissatisfaction is the best way to accommodate an increasing need for trucks to haul freight—and drivers to handle them.

PFS understands these issues and is committed to driver satisfaction as a tool to maintain the best public service possible for our customers.  Our dispatch team and fleet managers work directly with drivers on matters of schedule and days on the road. PFS drivers benefit from referral bonuses and a bonus structure based on performance. The Paramount King of the Road program rewards our owner operators who excel each month in areas of safety, on time percentages and exemplarily communication with customers and fleet managers.

At Paramount Freight retention efforts are not just programs. It is the way we do business. From our leadership team to our customer service team, driver support is in our DNA. As a 100% owner operator fleet, we are dependent on the drivers who serve the customer. If you are looking for a carrier that is focused on driver satisfaction and retention Paramount Freight would like to hear from you. Please connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 


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 Paramount Freight Systems

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