7 ways to help reduce the driver shortage

August 25, 2021 Christina DeBusk

A truck driver who is helping address the truck driver shortage

Companies everywhere are having trouble finding and retaining qualified drivers, with one Pennsylvania-based news source reporting that the trucking industry as a whole is “on the verge of crisis” due to increasing driver shortages.

Smart Trucking adds that many drivers are leaving their jobs in an attempt to find work that pays more, offers better benefits, and provides more appealing working conditions.

What can your business do to minimize the effects of the driver shortage so you can continue to provide your goods and services? Here are a few options to consider.

1. Increase driver pay

If drivers are looking for other types of work because they can earn a higher income, one potential solution to the driver shortage is to increase the amount your business pays. Not only can this convince more experienced drivers to stay in this line of work, but it also helps you stand out as an employer due to offering a higher rate of pay than your competitors.

2. Offer a sign-on bonus

A second option is to attract new drivers with a sign-on bonus. This type of lump-sum payment can be incredibly appealing, especially if the prospective employee has been off work for any length of time. The Hartford explains that a sign-on bonus is generally somewhere between 5% and 20% of the position’s starting salary. These monies can either be paid upfront or after the new employee has stayed with the company for a specified period of time.

3. Improve your benefits

If increasing pay or offering a sign-on bonus aren’t viable options, your company can still appeal to more driver applicants by improving the benefits you provide. This includes benefits or packages related to health insurance, disability insurance and retirement. Additional benefits that could increase your company’s appeal without being a major expense are offering more days off per year, flexible scheduling and increased vacation time.

4. Provide new driver training

Another way for your company to circumvent the driver shortage is by providing training to people who are interested in this line of work but don’t have the required skills. Depending on the size of your business and the number of drivers you employ, you may decide to provide this type of training in-house or outsource it to an already established driver training agency. Either way, structuring training into your new-hire process helps ensure that your drivers are ready for the road.

5. Create a mentorship program

New drivers can sometimes be apprehensive about going out on their own. One way to help relieve this stress is to create a mentorship program. Pair a new driver with an experienced driver so the new driver has someone they can reach out to whenever they have questions. Giving a new employee a mentor also strengthens the bonds they have with the company, increasing the likelihood that they will want to stick around long-term.

6. Give referral rewards

Businesses pay big money to headhunters as their average fee is often between 20% and 25% of the open position’s first-year salary according to the job search site Indeed. You can pay much less and get just as good employees by having your current employees provide this service for you. This is generally referred to as a referral reward. Giving a reward encourages your staff to help you find high-quality drivers by reaching out to their network. It also shows them that you value their input, making them feel like a more important part of the team.

7. Listen to your current drivers

Facing a driver shortage is bad enough. Contributing to it is even worse. One way to ensure that you have the drivers needed to serve your customer base is to retain those you currently have. This requires listening to what they have to say about working for your business. Is there a common theme that appears to be contributing to your drivers’ unhappiness? If so, addressing it immediately can make them want to stay because they see that you’re trying to improve their on-the-job experience.

Struggling to get enough drivers for your operation? We can help. Contact Centerline today to keep your trucks moving.

About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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