Lower driver turnover and showcase your stars

It’s time to get much more granular when measuring driver turnover. To do this, first focus on sub-categories such as: dispatch board; company driver vs. owner-operators; and entry-level drivers.

This exercise will reveal your company’s strengths and weaknesses, providing an opportunity to improve overall. Note that it is imperative to include all drivers in these calculations, whether they left on their own, were terminated, retired, or left for health or family issues. Why they are not longer at your company doesn’t matter. We are just looking for the exact cause of the turnover problem.

Better-focused numbers will give your company a much better understanding of where you stand, and why. This drill-down will focus on the different dispatch boards in your company. Look at these as though they are individual fleets within your company, because they are.

Different boards cover different regions and various types of services and skills; therefore, they often have different kinds of drivers. These types of drivers are often managed differently by dispatchers. It’s easy to see why some boards are harder to staff than others.

One of the recurring themes in this effort is that we are not looking for bad guys, but low-hanging fruit in different dispatch situations that can provide insights. This more detailed look at turnover may reveal “stars” – boards with lower turnover.

So, you may ask: what is it about some of these boards and dispatchers, that allows them to have lower turnover? We can emulate their success if we understand it. The boards are different, so measure their retention in detail, find out why they are different, and tune your actions accordingly.

For example, our company had six dispatch boards – three flatbed, three van – defined by geography and trailer configuration. For each board, we calculated the same short- and long-term turnover rates that we had already done for the entire driver team. Use the same short- and long-term calculation formulas shown for the whole company and do the same for each of your dispatch boards, divisions, or even terminals.

Our company’s monthly reports were based on these six different dispatch boards which produced two turnover numbers per board. Moreover, I would also receive the overall and short-term numbers for the entire fleet equating to 14 reports each month. We found this very insightful and decided to keep drilling down into the data.

Of the 100 company drivers and 200 owner-operators at our fleet, we decided to measure each group separately, which yielded 28 separate monthly reports. You will soon realize that once you get the formulas in place and up to date, these reports are not difficult to generate. They all use the same data, just broken down into finer sub-categories.

This set of dispatch board calculations is not done merely out of interest, but to track your progress going forward. Be sure to produce these numbers every month to track progress in real-time and react to the effectiveness (or not) of those new things you are doing. Measure, watch, and learn.

We said we were not looking for bad guys, but we are looking for stars. What and who is working well with your dispatch team? What can we learn from these bright spots? What are the traits of these successful dispatch boards? Use this insight to make process or style improvements among dispatchers or to hire more people in the future with these same behavioral traits.

Apart from the insights we can obtain from these more detailed turnover numbers, keep in mind that things are often affected merely by measuring them. The act (and awareness) of measuring tends to shine a light on positive trends and accelerate improvements through this awareness. From now on, you will have monthly turnover numbers by dispatch board to monitor trends, spikes, and leading indicators, in close to real-time.

If you’re ready to start improving your company’s driver turnover numbers, let’s chat.

Regards and safe trucking,


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Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.

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