I have a real issue with complacency from carriers when it comes to driver turnover. I will arrive at this from two different angles. When I look at a motor carrier that has excessive turnover I see any number of things that ring of serious issues that may threaten the companies very existence. When operating with high turnover, there is almost always CSA issues; this still comes with deteriorating marketability to the available insurance markets, which equals higher rates. There is a direct correlation between high insurance rates and operating ratios. There is a direct correlation between high turnover and accident rates, which is a rabbit hole in that professional drivers want to work for safe companies. Conclusion, if your company with high-turnover and poor CSA scores and a tightening insurance market, you better hope the current excess capacity the industry is experiencing stays around for a long time because when it does slow down, and it will eventually, you’re going to seriously up against it, as they say.
How do I know this? inGauge has data from over 170 carrier profiles with granular, detailed comparable data points that reveal what I have stated as fact. No more speculation or conjecture, this is now factual predicated on hard data. Being an unsafe carrier is terrible for business, you threaten the public and severely limit the return on investment, profitability.
Good news is that it is never too late to start doing the right thing, investing in a better safety program and tightening the policies, processes and bring a culture revolving around doing the “right things right”. The biggest issue here is the commitment to change, getting everyone’s buy-in and getting things started – change scares people, and change they must if you’re going to win when it comes to this stuff. So if you’ve decided to do this, the place to begin of course is with the senior management team, they have to understand and buy into the reality that living in a company with excessive high turnover is a losing proposition with a limited future. After that, you’ll need to get all the folks inside the walls onside, and that is a bit of a sales job in itself, we call it the ‘WIIFM’ = “what’s in it for me,” and there are many nice WIIFMs that come with this. For instance, back to inGauge data, we know that companies with lower turnover have the fewer accident and their CSA results are in much better shape than those folks with high turnover. Lower CSA scores and accident rates mean lower insurance premiums, which just so happens to be a direct correlation to better than the average operating ratio, profitability.
We also know that bringing in a safety-first culture into a company typically brings in tighter management practices in every area of business. Companies that operate in this fashion have a higher truck to inside worker ratio; they embrace technology at a quicker pace than their competition another direct correlation to above average profitability. We also know this, and this is a big part of the WIIFM, these companies typically pay their inside workers a higher than average wage that most companies.
If none of that works, try this, no one comes to work with the intention of failing at his or her jobs, doesn’t happen. However, here we are in many cases with turnover numbers that would make a longshoreman weep. If you can’t convince your people inside the walls that every departure from your company, whether voluntary or not, needs to be taken personally, you need new people. Every day many folks who worked at your company have to go home and tell their family’s that they don’t have a job, that the next paycheck isn’t coming, that sucks.
We all know that most can pick up another job pretty quickly, that’s not the point it’s disruptive, it is a change, again people don’t like change, people like routine in a comfortable setting. Companies call them job jumpers and refer to the situation as driver churn. Give it all the labels you want to they left because you didn’t give them a good enough reason to stay. You have to make your company sticky, sticky as in setting yourself apart from the competition.
It’s a paradigm shift that your needing and here’s one that fits. Are you a motor carrier that requires drivers to fill the seats and move the freight, or are you a motor carrier that differentiates itself from the competition by the quality of its workforce. Think about it both of these situations would have the same amount of people in them, at which one would you want to work?
I know where I would want to hang my hat, don’t take me wrong here the transition is not an easy one, but whoever told you that running a business would be easy.
A challenge yes, it is, but it is indeed a challenge worth taking in my mind, but only of course if you want to be safer and make more money. If you’re interested in discussing this further, please go to www.tcaingauge.com/retentionscore fill in the questionnaire and let’s see where things stand.
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