Addressing your recruiting and retention challenges
November 1, 2007
Every month, I receive phone calls and e-mails from frustrated drivers who are convinced they have the solution to the driver shortage - you know, that issue that has been discussed endlessly at confe...
Every month, I receive phone calls and e-mails from frustrated drivers who are convinced they have the solution to the driver shortage – you know, that issue that has been discussed endlessly at conferences and in business publications and yet nobody has been able to fix. Almost always, the conversation returns to a few key issues. I thought I’d take a moment to share them in hopes fleet managers and recruiters can gain a better understanding of why our industry is plagued with a shortage of qualified drivers and experiences turnover rates in excess of 20%.
Be honest with them: As Kelly Anderson, a consultant who hosts the annual Canadian Recruiting and Retention Conference in Toronto recently noted, honesty is always the best policy. Don’t lure drivers to your company with grandiose promises of riches that will never be achieved. Lie to them during the recruiting stages and they won’t stay long. Worse, they’ll be bad-mouthing your company to every driver at every truck stop along the way. Be honest with them about their earning potential and quality of life and you will find those drivers who do come to work for you will be more likely to stick around.
Involve them in spec’ing decisions: Today’s trucks are a lot more comfortable and enjoyable to drive than those of years gone by. But are you involving your drivers in the spec’ing process? This is their home away from home. Maybe they really want a 13-speed as opposed to the more costly automated transmission? Maybe they’d prefer you spend that extra money on an anti-idling system that meets all their needs and provides for more comfortable downtime while on the road?
Make dispatch accountable: It’s been said that up to 60% of drivers leave a job because of a lousy relationship with dispatch. Do your dispatchers treat drivers as human beings or as disposable commodities? Do they ask them to accept runs that cannot feasibly be accomplished legally? Do they try to get them home for special occasions? Or does your company operate on a “forced dispatch” basis?
Help educate owner/operators: We have created instant owner/operator programs and encouraged individuals to pursue this path because it’s beneficial to carriers. But what have we done for them besides helping get them into a shiny new truck? What support mechanisms are in place for O/Os to help ensure they succeed? Do you view them as a business partner or a service provider? Do you offer business training?
It’s not all about money. Treating drivers as professionals will go a long way towards solving your recruiting and retention woes. Having said that, as one recent writer told me: “I find the tolerance for the little things goes up with the rate of remuneration.”
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