So far we have talked about setting your retention and recruiting efforts up for success. We have also discussed the platform how we are going to conduct ourselves through this effort and the importance of knowing where you are in the marketplace on driver wage. The next step revolves around safety, when discussing retention with my new clients I always ask them what their safety records are early on in the process of investigation. Safety records are one of the most overlooked areas when trucking companies decide to come to grips with their turnover and recruitment issues.
I can count on the client’s response coming in one of two forms, the first and by far the most favorable response is that the company has a very good safety record and above average CSA scores. The usual reaction to my receiving this information is to ask how they are leveraging their efforts and results. I will admit that this is a bit of a trap in that I usually do social media reconnaissance ahead of the call, and if they had been leveraging their safety results, I would have congratulated them for their efforts at the beginning our conversation on the subject.
Let me state very clearly that if you’re a company with a very good safety record and you’re not flaunting this fact in everything you’re putting out in your communications strategy, then you are seriously missing the boat. A good safety record cannot be bought, and you can only slide on good luck for so long the only way to achieve good results is through diligence dedication and making sure you do the right things right, and it is usually a cultural cornerstone of all successful companies. Anyone out there who does not think that truck drivers and owner-operators do not care about the safety record of your company has their head in the sand; it is the second layer of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and is paramount to an effective retention and recruitment strategy.
The second response I get is that the company has had some issues and has started to focus on getting its CSA scores and safety results inline. Although not the most favorable situation also has value by the company deciding to draw a line in the sand on the safety issue and you can also use the situation as a bellwether moment for turning the corner on the driver retention numbers.
Companies with lower turnover have safer fleets ask any insurance provider; they have lower CSA scores, fewer claims, more reliable equipment, etc. By focusing on the safety effort, you’re demonstrating your care and concern for your drivers and the motoring public in general. You can use the safety effort as a springboard for effective efforts on turnover because the two go hand in hand. Professional truck drivers want to driver for professional trucking companies, kind of a no brainer right. Shoddy equipment, being pulled into scales regularly reporting deficiencies that go unfixed seeing crashed trucks against the fence in their yard, all of these scenarios lead up to high turnover, and there is no need for them to exist.
If you are one of the two companies described in this article, please consider the above and act accordingly. In my own experience, the company I managed was in dire straights when we’re at 120% turnover, my phone rang continually in the evening, or on the weekend while I was home and after identifying the caller as my safety manager, before I would say hello I would ask, did we hurt anyone? This was no fun, and it was a situation that could not sustain itself, fast forward a short five years and we had won three TCA National Fleet Safety Awards, and our turnover was at 20%. We were fully staffed making much better margins.
In the next issue to tackling driver turnover, we’re going to talk about communication and all the facets of making it effective. As a precursor to that, part of every successful safety effort is a robust communication strategy. After identifying where are you now, where do you want to be at the pre-established date in the future? Now decide how you’re going to get there, soliciting your driver’s opinions on various elements is an effective method and is essential to the recruitment and retention effort.
As TCA Retention Coach I do not have all the answers, but there is a plan available to you, one that works. If you would like to discuss the opportunity further reach out to me and we can consider what is available. You can also take this short survey that reveals some shortcomings you can address whether you chose to move ahead with the offering or not. That survey is at, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KF2HG7S
Tackling Driver Turnover Part 4 is next and will deal with communication, an integral part of any retention effort.
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. All posts by Ray Haight