Truck News


Acts of kindness (June 01, 2008)

Millions of dollars are spent every year by trucking companies in finding ways to retain good drivers. There is no one simple rule of thumb to follow in order to keep our trucks filled with good drive...

Millions of dollars are spent every year by trucking companies in finding ways to retain good drivers. There is no one simple rule of thumb to follow in order to keep our trucks filled with good drivers, but there are many simple ways of retaining these drivers without spending a lot of money. Carriers begin retaining their drivers by providing their wages and health benefits, providing a good weekly minimum amount of miles and other bonuses.

Many carriers provide a Christmas party which allows them to bring their spouse and gives everyone a night out with all the trims and fixins’ – a gorgeous meal and desserts.

During the warmer months you can have a barbecue and a golf tournament, but it seems many of these small acts of kindness are slowly disappearing. Why? It costs too much money to put them on. But retention doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

Here are only a few ideas that I have tried and found to be very successful:

First, come up with a list. A list of ‘small acts of kindness’ can be endless if enough time is put into thinking of them. You can then separate them into two categories. The first category consists of the smaller ones, the everyday acts, followed by the second category – the ‘Holy cow!’ acts of kindness, used to divert a major crisis. The art of retention is best achieved when small acts of kindness are occurring every single day at every single opportunity. The solution to the problem of retention is not trying to solve all the retention problems all at once but keeping the smaller acts of kindness occurring on a consistent, regular basis.

Carriers and safety departments strive to keep their safety ratings the best they can be and keep their turnover rates as low as possible.

All good carriers and their recruiters exhaust their idea list in finding ways to keep their good drivers. How much does a handshake cost or 10 seconds of conversation in the driver’s room by upper management? It seems like the higher the turnover rate, the more work it takes the carrier to retain their good drivers. This didn’t have to happen if small acts of kindness were demonstrated on a day-to-day basis.

Small acts of kindness show appreciation for a job well-done. Many carriers don’t do this or don’t do this enough. I know myself that when someone tells me I’ve done a good job or says ‘Thank-you,’ I feel fantastic. When I go home at night and see my wife the evening at home starts off on a positive note and it continues that way for the rest of the night. When you work with people, as I do, you can’t help but bring your job home with you. It’s an extension of you and I think that is a good thing. Don’t let it turn into a bad thing.

I am always looking in the trucking magazines and newspapers to see what other carriers are doing to attract and retain drivers.

In my opinion the best thing for retention is honesty. It pays no matter what way you slice it because if you are honest with your employees and your new hires, the return will result in more money for everyone. If you are not honest with your people then you lose money. You lose it with driver turnover, the loss of contracts, the damage of your image and reputation and finally your selfrespect.Think about how you would like to be treated and then follow through. Think about nice things to say and then say them.

Think about feelings you would like to feel and then express them. This is easy to do and – it is free. Let me know if it doesn’t work and I’ll give you a couple of ideas.

– David Brown is the recruiting manager for the Rosedale Group. He is also the president of Carriers Coach Solutions. You can reach him by visiting

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