Five strategies to help you better retain your people

by Angela Splinter

In today’s tight labor market, everyone is working harder to make sure they have the talent they need to run their business. But it takes a lot of time and money to find and hire qualified people, which means replacing people when they leave costs more, too.

This is why retention in trucking and logistics is more important than ever.

It’s simple to say that employees who enjoy their job and the atmosphere in which they work are more likely to stick around. But creating a positive work environment is hard to do, and takes a clearly defined strategy and ongoing commitment. Where do you start?

Here are five steps truck fleets can take to retain their best people:

It starts with recruitment

Setting up screening criteria during the recruiting process not only helps streamline the hiring process, it can help you identify people who are more inclined to stay with you.

Looking at work history is an obvious first step, with consistently short employment spans raising some flags.

Millennials and younger workers may have not yet had the chance to demonstrate these characteristics through their employment history, but they’re still capable of being loyal, long-term employees. Consider participation in organized sports, volunteer positions, or other community involvement, which can demonstrate an ability to commit.

Dig deeper and you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

Commit to professional development

People are more likely to commit to an employer who’s willing to commit to their professional development.

Millennials in particular want the opportunity to grow and develop in their job. Our own research shows that when an employer invests in their professional development and identifies clear pathways to career advancement, employees are more likely to stay.

Look at what you’re offering in terms of training and advancement opportunities. Consider how you articulate what you offer to help young people build their skills and move up in your company.

Then make sure you promote and communicate it.

Revisit your benefit packages

As fleets review their approach to compensation, many are looking to update and modernize their benefits packages. Broader health and wellness choices, and benefits that address specific needs of employees are growing trends. Offering customized benefits tells each employee that their well-being matters. And healthy, productive employees are happier and less likely to leave.

Prepare for turnover

No matter what you do, some people will leave. This includes your star performers, and in today’s competitive market, your star performers are targets.

Here, succession planning is essential. Particularly for specialized positions.

In trucking and logistics, it can take years before someone is truly proficient at certain roles. Identifying these key positions, and preparing a pipeline of talent, is simply good business.

And when you do lose people, try not to take it personally. Someone who isn’t happy or who is always looking across the fence at what they think is a greener pasture may not be your best asset anyway.

Keep your doors open

Building on the point above, keeping the lines of communication open with your employees, and in particular with your star performers, will help you understand where each person is at and show them that their opinions and ideas have value.

Use these conversations to gauge what matters to your employees. What types of training and professional development most interests them? What types of benefits do they value most? And remember that if you are going to ask for input and feedback, you need to act on it.

These conversations also provide the opportunity for you to provide regular feedback on good performance – which makes it easier to provide constructive criticism when necessary.

Building a genuine rapport with your employees takes time and effort, but the cost is probably less that what you’d spend on recruiting and hiring their replacements. And the returns – happier, more productive, long-term employees – are worth it.

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  • Quote :

    “Looking at work history is an obvious first step, with consistently short employment spans raising some flags.”

    BS ! Most in the industry CHEAT ! And we know that employers have asked their drivers to CHEAT ! Isn’t that why the E-log has been pushed and forced upon the industry ? To prevent HOS cheating ?

    So if most demand drivers to CHEAT , and honest responsible drivers do not want to cheat and their job depends upon it QUIT shortly after such conditions then that doesn’t raise a red flag !

    The red flag is in asking for references concerning prior employers ! Especially since those prior employers may be CROOKS ! How can you base yourselves on what these prior employers say ???

    Therefor it starts with recruiting the PROPER mindset ! And that’s assuming that the recruiter has a proper mindset based with ethics to begin with ! Oh what a can of worms we have opened there !

    Then of course there is the wage issue ! Another can of worms !

    Good luck , eventually you just might get it right !