I’ve written about the truck driver shortage, Why there’s a truck driver shortage and what to do about it. We’ve mentioned health and well-being as a key ingredient to driver retention, but it wasn’t until I read this statistic that it truly hit home. “How many drivers do you think the trucking industry lost to elevated blood pressure and blood sugar levels since May 2014? More than 150,000, Bob Perry says. Perry, is the president and founder of Rolling Strong,” — Fleet Owner Magazine. 150,000 is a lot of anything, but especially drivers in an industry already short staffed.
Managing Drivers Health
Wellness education should be part of the hiring process. Onboarding should include health expectations, testing, and an introduction to company health and wellness resources. It should continue as part of the training for new drivers whether they’re new to trucking or new to the carrier. And it should be supplemented with health screening, education, and wellness benefits.
The days when traditional benefits such as health insurance and a 401K were enough to satisfy the needs of employees are receding into the past. In trucking, basic benefits aren’t only insufficient to hire and retain the best drivers they don’t help them stay healthy and therefore employed.
What healthy initiatives should you offer?
I’m going to share a list of healthy benefit options that will improve driver retention. If you think the list is too much, consider this, what if these actions allow more drivers to stay on the job? Is it too much then? And healthy drivers are happier more productive employees.
- Wellness education materials including print and online resources.
- Company diet coaches
- Employee exercise coaches
- Access to offsite workout facilities and classes
- Cessation initiatives such as quitting smoking
- Onsite Primary Health Physician
- Prescription services
- Physical therapist
Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? However, there are leaders in the industry already ahead of this curve. For example, here’s the benefits page for Drive Celadon. It should come as no surprise that Caledon’s driver retention far exceeds industry standards.
How healthy is your business?
And not only trucking. Losing a valuable employee in any industry to health problems which, may have been avoided, is a sinful loss. Unhealthy employees add to insurance costs, decrease production, and adversely affect the bottom line. Is it time for your business to get healthy?
If you’d like to read more, I suggest this article from CCJ (Commercial Carrier Journal) An Industry at Risk: A wakeup call for driver health and wellness.