How critical is it for the trucking industry to reduce driver turnover? “The turnover rate at large carriers rose two percentage points to 102 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the American Trucking Associations’ quarterly Trucking Activity Report.” — Trucks.com Finding ways to decrease turnover is critical because the increasing demands on trucking, large numbers of boomer generation drivers retiring, and driver turnover aren’t going away.

1. Track it

There’s a wealth of underutilized information available on ELDs. An ELD (Electronic Logging device) not only records hours worked, but also delays, lack of hours, and driving habits. Therefore this information could be used to analyze driver fatigue, changes in habits, and communications. All of this can be used to predict at-risk drivers who are more likely to quit. Responding to the information before it comes to a crunch could retain many. One such example of using this data to retain drivers is Omnitacs. “The Omnitracs ELD Driver Retention Model allows fleets of all sizes to reap the benefits of predictive modeling to prevent driver turnover and address the root causes of voluntary termination,” said Brad Taylor, Omnitracs vice president of data and IoT solutions.” Truckinginfo.com: Omnitracs Identifies Drivers Most Likely to Leave.

 2. Talk About it

Few jobs meet all the expectations of new hires. So most people have experienced beginning a new position and learning it wasn’t totally what they expected. The trucking industry is notorious for this (more on this in number 3). One of the best strategies to overcome expectation stress is communication. Because companies that follow up with new hires after one week, one month, and 90 days have lower turnover. There are hundreds of studies on new hire turnover with numbers as high as 50% in the first 90 days and one report that stated 5% of new hires decide to leave after the first day. Instead of being blind-sided by learning new employees expectations weren’t being met, ask them. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What’s not as you expected it would be?
  • What tools or training do you need to do your job?
  • How can I be a better leader for you?
  • What would you change to improve the workplace?
  • What makes you happy and unhappy at work?

3. Tell the Whole Story

I recently read an article in which a trucking carrier executive blamed truck driver training schools for not giving students realistic job expectations. Things like fluctuations in pay, customer delays, poor communications with dispatch, time away from family, and more. Another trucking executive blamed recruiters. Here’s the truth, unless the carrier has in-house recruiters and driver training, the carrier has little control over either. It’s the carrier’s responsibility in their hiring process to be transparent about the pitfalls of the position. Not only is it the responsibility of carriers—they should want to share the downside. Wouldn’t it be better to eliminate candidates that don’t fit the position before spending six months training them?

Reducing Driver Turnover Begins with Tracking, Talking, and Transparency

When companies track it, talk about, and tell the whole story they reduce turnover. And turnover is expensive. It has real costs in dollars and time, as well as disappointment and frustration.