5 ways to make your drivers never want to leave

July 7, 2021 Christina DeBusk

A truck driver who works for a company that focus on driver retention

It can be frustrating to hire a new driver and invest a bunch of time training them, only to have them leave a short while later. It’s costly too. Gallup reports that it costs up to two times an employee’s annual salary to replace them. If you have a high turnover rate, this can really add up.

Creating a workforce that stays long-term helps reduce these issues. What can you do to make your drivers never want to leave?

1. Pay competitive wages

While money isn’t everything, if you are paying less than others in your area (and in your industry), job candidates may use you to gain the experience necessary to move onto higher-paying companies.

But wages are important to many drivers and may make the difference on which company they pick. According to our State of Trucking 2021 survey, 54% of drivers say competitive pay is the #1 thing they look for when selecting a company. 

Paying lower wages also makes you less appealing to top talent. You can avoid both of these scenarios by setting your wages competitively.

Do some research to determine what others in your industry and geographical area are paying. Many online sites exist to help with this, some of which include Indeed, PayScale and Glassdoor. You can search average rates for drivers in your area on these websites, giving you a better idea of where to set your drivers’ pay.

2. Give good perks

If you are paying competitive rates, yet are still having a hard time retaining good drivers—or if you are maxed out on what you can pay—another option is to give good perks. These add value to the positions and can be more appealing to people who are motivated by factors other than money.

Examples of perks to consider might include access to high-quality medical plans or a decent number of days off annually. Others include flexible scheduling, discounted memberships at local businesses (such as gyms, wholesale food distributors, etc.) and matching contributions to some type of retirement account.

3. Offer incentive programs

One of the things that make video games so addictive is that you’re always trying to level up. This drive to move on to the next level keeps you coming back for more. You can create the same type of energy in your drivers by offering incentive programs.

Incentives give your drivers something to work toward. Maybe you give a gift card after so many miles logged or a company jacket after so many months worked. Bonuses are another type of incentive and can either be paid quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

4. Recognize their work (privately and publicly)

Some people leave their jobs because they don’t feel valued. They bust their butt to do a good job, only to never be recognized for the work they put in. This can be incredibly deflating, reducing their loyalty to the company because what they do doesn’t seem to matter anyway.

It’s often said that a little appreciation goes a long way. So, take the time to recognize your drivers when they do a good job for you. Let them know that you see the effort that they are putting in and that you value their contribution to your business.

When giving recognition, it’s also helpful to remember that not everyone likes to be recognized the same way. Some prefer an encouragement in private whereas others are perfectly okay with a more public appreciation. Gauge your drivers accordingly and seek to recognize their hard work in a way that is most suitable for them.

5.  Provide training programs

Training programs benefit employers, providing a more skilled workforce. But they are also advantageous to employees because the more skills they have, the easier their job becomes.

Consider adding training programs for your drivers, giving them the tools they need to do a great job. If you offer these programs in-house, print up certificates that they can keep to reinforce their accomplishments. Accumulating these certifications can make them even more proud to drive for your business.

Taking these five actions can help you retain your drivers long-term, reducing your hiring headaches while also reducing their replacement costs because they’ll never want to leave.

If you are having trouble recruiting or retaining drivers, Centerline Drivers can help. Get in touch here to see how we can keep your business moving forward.

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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