The trucking industry has endured numerous driver shortages throughout its history. And while past crises have eventually come to pass, the current labor challenge has defied expectations. Widely regarded as the most severe shortage of all-time, today’s labor shortfall has forced transportation companies to adopt new methods of retaining the drivers they employ. Because the most common tactics (e.g. raising wages, expanding benefits, etc.) are well-covered elsewhere, this blog post will highlight creative, outside-the-box approaches to driver retention.
Streamline Training Processes
Above all else, drivers just want to be out on the road, earning their living wage. Needlessly lengthy training sessions can frustrate that desire, and in some cases, even compel individuals to look for other opportunities. 90% of driver turnover occurs within the first six months of being hired, so encouraging a positive working experience upfront is crucial for retention. And while safety behind the wheel is vitally important, training courses can be both informative and succinct. By abbreviating mandatory training sessions, or by administering them online and on-demand, the driver on-boarding experience can be made significantly more enjoyable and efficient.
Driver Referral Programs
An increasingly popular approach with trucking companies across the United States, driver referral programs address the current labor shortage from both ends. Awarding drivers whose recommend candidates end up being on-boarded serves to increase existing employee happiness while recruiting new staff. So long as the awards for recommending a new driver are valued, they can take the form of anything from monetary bonuses to physical prizes or even additional time-off. And because drivers tend to recognize talent within their community, working off driver-provided recommendations can often prove more fruitful than wide-net recruiting tactics.
Driver Wellness Programs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 28% of current drivers are above the age of 54. While the trucking lifestyle impacts the health of all demographics, older individuals are most vulnerable to common health problems due to smoking, obesity, and sleep apnea. To combat this, many transportation companies are choosing to adopt driver wellness programs in order to promote well-being on-the-road. Encouraging, rewarding, and investing in employee health can make a profound, company-wide impact on overall employee satisfaction. In addition, numerous studies have found that wellness programs benefit companies just as much as employees from a financial perspective (due to health care savings).
Regardless of what approach transportation companies choose to take, the current labor climate makes each driver an invaluable resource. By investing in their happiness, well-being, and sense of satisfaction, transportation companies can communicate that they truly value the contributions of their drivers.